NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS – Twelve TG-10B (L-23 Super Blanik) gliders from the U.S. Air Force Academy now belong to Civil Air Patrol.
The recent Air Force transfer of the aircraft to CAP is a boost to the organization’s glider program. It will allow the Air Force auxiliary to replace some of its older gliders and help modernize its existing fleet of 42 gliders.
Ten of the Air Force Academy gliders will be used to upgrade the CAP soaring fleet, and the other two, not considered airworthy, will be stored to supply parts for those in use. Eight of the gliders also come equipped with trailers to be used for storage and transportation.
“This comes at a great time,” said Col. Mike Murrell, CAP’s national deputy chief of staff for operations. “The transfer gives us the opportunity to both upgrade the glider fleet and enhance the overall program, which – thanks to the efforts of a lot of dedicated glider and cadet program volunteers – just celebrated its most successful year in recent memory.”
In fiscal year 2012, CAP recorded 10,249 glider flights, mostly for cadet orientation and training – more than any year since 2005, when CAP began tracking glider flights online.
“Having these Air Force Academy gliders in CAP’s air fleet will help us provide youth with even more flights in the coming year,” Murrell said. “This is an exciting development, sure to enhance our cadet recruiting and retention efforts.”
A conventional two-place tandem, basic training sailplane, the TG-10B is one of the world’s most common soaring trainers. It has been used by the Air Force Academy for a number of years to introduce its cadets to flight.
Like the Air Force Academy, CAP uses its gliders to introduce youth to flight through its cadet orientation program. The opportunity to fly is a major attraction for cadets; almost 32,000 orientation flights were provided in CAP’s gliders and powered aircraft over the past year.
In addition to its cadet orientation flights, CAP offers three national glider academies and a number of region and wing glider encampments each summer throughout the U.S. The glider academies and encampments are specifically designed for cadets who want to learn to fly. Participants receive formal ground instruction and cockpit time with a certified flight instructor, and some participants get the opportunity to solo.
Manufactured in the Czech Republic by the LETECKÉ ZÁVODY Aircraft Corp., the L-23 Super Blanik is an all metal, two-seat, self-supporting, T-tail, high-winged glider with a retractable main wheel and a fixed tail wheel. Its one-piece canopy design allows for excellent visibility. It has a tandem cockpit with dual flight controls. Radios and flight instruments are available in both cockpits.