By Chris Spears

DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado’s weather can be extreme during any season and that means flexibility is often needed, especially when it comes to safety. Extreme heat and severe thunderstorms during the month of July forced the U.S. Air Force Academy near Colorado Springs to close its airfield on several occasions. The cancelled flying hours resulted in a significant loss of required training during the nine-week summer flying program, which began June 4.

In order to recover the lost training requirements, the Cadet soaring and powered flight programs will begin operations at 6 a.m., July 29 through August 2. This is one hour earlier than their normal start time.

The Mobile Weather Lab tracking severe weather with lightning. (credit: CBS)

Adding one hour during optimum weather conditions of the early morning hours will help get training requirements back on track. According to Col. Joel DeBoer, commander of the 306th Flying Training Group, July’s weather conditions made this one of the most challenging summers in recent years for flying operations at the Academy.

“In all of our flight operations, the safety of our aviators and the community is our top priority,” said DeBoer.

The airmanship programs, including the summer flying program at USAFA, are a vital component to building the foundation of flight for Air Force pilots. This year alone more than half of the nearly 1,000 class of 2019 Academy graduates are on their way to careers in aviation in the Air Force.

“As we work to train our future Air Force leaders here at the Academy, I’d like to express our sincere thanks to every member of our community here in Colorado Springs for continued support of our flying programs,” added DeBoer.

Chris Spears

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