Academy Purchases New Aircraft Trainers

The Air Force Academy is buying 25 SR20 airplanes from Cirrus Aircraft of Duluth, Minn., for use in training cadets, reported the Colorado Springs Gazette. These two-seat trainers, which the Air Force is designating T-53As, will replace the academy’s leased fleet of Diamond DA-40s, according to the report. The new aircraft have a digital cockpit; they also come equipped with a built-in parachute called the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System that can be deployed in case of an emergency to control the aircraft’s rate of descent to enable a safe landing, according to the company’s website. The aircraft has a top cruising speed of almost 180 miles per hour and a maximum range of nearly 700 miles. Cadets are expected to begin training with the T-53s next January.