USAF Academy Buys Cirrus SR-20s, Designates T-53A
The Cirrus SR20, designated T-53A by the Air Force, is the Academy’s new cadet flight-training platform.
July 6, 2011 –The U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is buying 25 Cirrus SR20 airplanes to use in its Powered Flight Program that introduces cadets to flying. The SR20 on Air Force duty will be called the T-53A. The Air Force is already taking delivery of the T-53As and expects to have the full fleet at its Academy Airfield base by 2012. The deal is worth approximately $6.1 million.
Lt. Colonel Brand Oliver with the 557th Flight Training Squadron said the Air Force had been studying available replacement trainer aircraft since 2010. He said the T53A “meets all of our performance and operational criteria and is very well suited to our mission. And, while we hope never to have need of it, our cadets and instructors will now have the option of ‘pulling the chute’ if it’s needed,” referring to the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS), standard equipment on all Cirrus aircraft.The T53As will all be equipped with flat glass Perspective avionics based on the Garmin G1000. Each will also have airbag seat belts. The airplane is powered by a Continental IO-360 engine. And, of course, each T53A will be painted with the Air Force “stars and bars” that will distinguish the customized airplanes from any other Cirrus SR20.