The mission of the USNA Intercollegiate Flight Team is to provide a professional aviation venue for midshipmen that includes hands-on exposure, training, and competition in National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) events; to enhance the performance and safety of its members upon reaching Naval Air Training Command; to support the Naval Academy Vision 2020 and develop graduates who possess superior airmanship, tenacity and experience that will allow them to contribute to Naval, Marine Corps, and civilian aviation in keeping with the highest traditions of the naval service. Additionally, the Flight Team assists the Naval Academy mission by participating in inspirational and educational community outreach to young people inspiring others to pursue careers in aviation.
Established in September 2012, the IFT is an extra-curricular activity within the Naval Academy Flying Squadron (VT-NA). The team’s operations are governed by the VT-NA Standard Operating Procedures approved by the Commandant. The IFT Commanding Officer reports to the VT-NA Commanding Officer and to the IFT Officer Representative.
The team has established an annual goal of placing first in the SAFECON Regional competition in the fall semester, thereby qualifying for the National competition. 2014 marked the inaugural service academy head-to-head competition (USNA/USMA/USCGA) under NIFA rules and judging. While overall victory is the goal, “Beat Army” is the battle cry!
Additionally, the team endeavors to broaden their aviation knowledge and skillsets and infectiously spread their love of aviation with other members of the Brigade of Midshipmen. The Team welcomes members who have achieved their private pilot license as well as those who have yet to experience the joys of aviation.
For the four flying events (Power-on/Power-off Precision Landing, Message Drop, and Navigation) workups require up to 100 hours of flight training for the entire team. Currently, 100% of the Team’s flying activity is funded by private donation through the Naval Academy Foundation or via self-funding.
This flight training encompasses flight techniques, airmanship, planning and energy management. Additionally, the team spends time practicing their aviation preflight planning and knowledge skills in preparation for the ground testing.
A future goal is to have an FAA approved flight simulator on the Yard to further hone our skills in preparation for events.
The Team has contributed to aviation indoctrination within the Brigade through familiarization flights for underclassmen. It has also reached out to the local civilian community by hosting a visit to Lee Airport by a Boy Scout troop.
The Team has developed strong relationships with local retired military aviators and civilian pilots who volunteer endless time to impart their experience and techniques to hone the skills of the team in preparation for competition.
Thanks go out to the coaches and volunteers!