United States Air Force Academy

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Aviation inspiration

Early Path to Wings

Cadet with plane wing

Cadet candidates interested in aviation careers can take advantage of voluntary airmanship opportunities at the Prep School through the Early Path to Wings (EPW) program. From virtual reality simulator training and orientation flights to powered flight training, we have an array of airmanship experiences to inspire all flying enthusiasts.


Aero Club Flight Training Scholarship

This Early Path to Wings program affords cadet candidates the opportunity to obtain powered flight training in Cessna aircraft through the Academy’s Aero Club.

Orientation Flight

The Early Path to Wings program provides an orientation flight in a powered-flight aircraft (T-53 Cirrus or UV-18 Twin Otter) or a glider at USAFA’s Davis Airfield. This is typically the cadet candidate’s first interaction with a military instructor pilot and a military flying training squadron.

Virtual Reality Simulators

The USAFA Prep School has a Virtual Reality (VR) Simulator Lab with six simulators to offer cadet candidates the opportunity receive flying training in the T-53 Cirrus SR-20 trainer.

Lunch & Learn Aviation Forum

On a reoccurring basis, a rated officer interacts informally with cadet candidates who have expressed interest in a rated career field. The rated officer provides a capabilities brief on their airframe and lessons learned from their experiences as an aviator. This is also an opportunity for cadet candidates to ask questions they may have about the Air Force in general and the path to become a rated officer.

Contact Us

Lt. Col. Benjamin Payne
Director, Early Path to Wings
U.S. Air Force Academy Preparatory School
(719) 333-2656