Flying Team wins Regional Championship
Congratulations to the USAFA Flying Team for winning their 34th consecutive NIFA Region I Championship!
All team members are Air Force Academy Cadets. Therefore, the first step to being on the team is being accepted to the Academy. After completing Basic Cadet Training (BCT), cadets attend an event known as Blue Rush, where the Flying Team offers a sign up sheet to those cadets interested.
An FAA Private Pilot's License (PPL) is required to be a member of the team. Most members have a PPL before arriving at USAFA, but some members complete their PPL training during their freshman year at the Academy. After signing up at Blue Rush, the remainder of fall semester freshman year is spent taking tests that simulate NIFA tests. These test results are used to determine aptitude and improvement in applicants.
At the beginning of springs semester freshman year, the team makes cuts from the applicant pool based on GPA (2.75 minimum), military performance, and physical fitness. The remaining pool of applicants receive invitations to interview with the team. After another round of cuts following interviews, the remaining applicants are invited to spend time with the team and participate in tryout flights in the team's T-41 aircraft. Once tryout flights are completed, the team selects the final nine freshman who will make the team.
Congratulations 2024 cadets selected for the team!
The USAFA Flying Team is a nationally ranked team consisting of 27 flying members with optional member slots for those competing in ground events. For the past 20 years, the team has been coached by Bert Boyce, former B-52 commander, T-37 Instructor Pilot, and Glider Instructor Pilot. The team is supported by the 557th Flying Training Squadron, based at the USAFA airfield. Three or four Air Force Instructor Pilots are assigned to the team to conduct upgrade training and coordinate the team's trips across the country.
Coach Bert Bryce
This year has been different for the flying team with Covid with competitions being virtual. The team still has ground training every afternoon consisting of:
Aircraft IdentificationTest (ACID): Competitors take a 60 question test, consisting of 50 multiple choice and ten write-in questions. After seeing a picture of an aircraft on screen for 3 seconds, competitors have a set amount of time to mark what aircraft they believe was shown.
Computer Accuracy Test (COMPACC): Competitors take an hour-long multiple choice test which determines how accurately and how quickly they can use an E6B flight computer to solve math problems and flight planning problems. Extra points may be earned for finishing the test early, making this event a mentally taxing race against other competitors.
Simulated Comprehensive Aircraft Navigation (SCAN): Competitors take an hour-long multiple choice test on FAA regulations as well as flight planning, weight and balance, and chart reading based on a given flight plan and aircraft information.
They also usually fly at least twice a week weather permitting.
Competition events normally consist of Ground and Flying events. Due to Covid, just the Ground Events were held virtually during the NIFA Region I Championship.
USAFA took first place in each Ground Event. The winners are:
Aircraft Identification Test (ACID)
First Place finish- C1C Ray Metzger
Computer Accuracy Test (COMPACC)
First Place finish- C1C Leo Cheshire
Simulated Comprehensive Aircraft Navigation (SCAN)
First Place finish- C1C Jason Brenholdt
Information, Team Photo, and Head Shot Photos provided by the USAFA Flying Team and their official website which you can click the link below to read more information about the team.
WebGuy was out photographing them during a team precision landing competition consisting of Short Field landings and Power Off landings. It was an all morning event with several rounds of competition. It was also used as a learning opportunity for the Cadets of 2024 to score landings. In typical Colorado weather, it was a beautiful day to start with just a slight breeze. But around noon time a rain storm started to build along the mountain range. Thankfully the flying team was able to complete the competition.
First there is pre-flight inspection and checklist that is completed before taxi and takeoff.
Competition of Short Field Landings and Power Off Landings.
Based on overall score both for Short Field Landings and Power Off Landings, the top three places were:
1st Place 2nd Place
The competition concluded with a cookout of burgers, brauts, and delicious side dishes followed by the award presentation. It was a great day to fly and enjoy the company of one's teammates!
Good luck to the USAFA Flying Team in the upcoming National Competition in Prescott, AZ!
To view photos from the Landing Competition, go to Galleries > ExtraCurricular> Cadet Clubs. Set photo order OLDEST to NEWEST. Then select start page 4-15 or click on the link below.