Support: September 14, 2002


The US Air Force Academy has replaced its dangerous T-3A Firefly pilot trainer aircraft (grounded in 1997 due to the high accident rate) with new Diamond Katana DA-20-C1s. These are owned and operated by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, a private company with a contract to train 300 Air Force Academy cadets each year. Each gets 50 flight hours and a private pilot's certificate. The program is not just a joyride for cadets; the Air Force uses it to screen out those simply not suited for duty as pilots.--Stephen V Cole


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