United States Air Force Academy

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Airmanship Programs

Cadet and sailplane on the runway

A core part of the U.S. Air Force Academy experience involves flying. From instruction in concepts of flight, navigation and operations to real-life application of these principles via soaring and parachuting courses, there is no shortage of opportunities to experience a challenge at a different altitude. The 306th Flying Training Group provides oversight and management of these programs, involving 2,500 cadets each year.



Immersive Training

Our Airmanship program provides cadets an opportunity to experience aviation through immersive virtual reality simulators and live flight experiences. This four-year continuum of learning starts with fourth-class (freshman) cadets in Aviation 100, a 10-lesson class designed to teach the fundamentals of aviation and powered flight. We’ve also partnered with the Air Education Training Command to allow cadets to participate in Aviation 300 and Airmanship 302, a combined 30-lesson flying training course that gives cadets the opportunity to solo the T-53.  Cadets who are interested in attending pilot training may take Aviation 400, a 20-lesson class conducted in a virtual T-6 Texan II designed to advance skills such as formation flying and low-level navigation.


Most fourth-class (freshman) cadets are first exposed to airmanship during their Introduction to Soaring course, which includes four glider flights culminating in the opportunity for basic aerobatics. Third-class (sophomore) cadets can enroll in Basic Soaring for the opportunity to solo pilot a glider. Graduates of this course are then eligible to apply to become Cadet Soaring Instructor Pilots. Those selected complete a year-long upgrade program during third-class year where they earn G-Wings and eventually conduct 95 percent of all glider flight instruction.

Powered Flight

Cadets may have the opportunity to participate in powered flight during their second-class year or during the summer before their first-class year. Cadets interested in precision flight with a FAA Private Pilot Certificate may apply to become part of the Academy’s Flying Team. Typically, cadets try out for the team and are selected during their fourth-class year, but may be added to the team in a later year as circumstances require. Selected cadets receive training in precision landings, cross-country navigation, instrument flying and more. Learn more about the Cadet Precision Flying Team.


The 98th FTS conducts parachute training for 700 Academy cadets annually. This training focuses on safety and emergency procedures, which enhance student confidence and maximize performance under extremely stressful conditions. In addition to basic jump training (Airmanship 490), the 98th FTS also oversees Airmanship 491 “Wings of Green” and Airmanship 492 “Wings of Blue” competitive and demonstration parachute programs. The Wings of Blue has been a long standing tradition at the U.S. Air Force Academy. This group of professional jumpers perform all across the United States in amazing aerial acts to large crowds of enthusiastic audiences.

Early Path to Wings

Cadet candidates interested in aviation careers can take advantage of voluntary airmanship opportunities at the Prep School through the Early Path to Wings program. From simulator training and orientation flights to private pilot certification and aviation forums, we have an array of airmanship experiences to inspire all flying enthusiasts.