Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Government shutdown not over for AFA airmanship program contract workers

By Erin Prater Published: October 25, 2013 0

An unknown number of contract-workers who run airmanship programs at the Air Force Academy have yet to return to work since the government shutdown began on Oct. 1.

The academy's glider, parachute and powered flight programs were temporarily suspended with the partial shutdown and have not resumed, academy spokesman Meade Warthen said Friday.

"The contract dealing with maintenance, fuels and weather was disrupted," Warthen said. "Only after the contract is reinstated will the flying schedule be created."

As of 4 p.m. Friday, Warthen could provide no information on how many and what companies were involved with the contract or contracts.

Colorado Springs-based Doss Aviation provides flight training and other services to the academy as well as to other military programs, according to its website. Officials did not return calls seeking information on possible impacts to the company.

An official at the Air Force Press Desk referred inquires to the academy, and calls to the Air Force and Department of Defense's contracting authorities were not returned.

"The contract process is underway for weather and maintenance contracts in support of flying operations," Maj. Brus Vidal, director of public affairs for the academy, said in a statement sent at 5 p.m. Friday.

The programs should be up and running again "soon, but we cannot provide an exact date yet," he said. "Once we have a known student restart date we will pass that along."

The programs are extracurricular and will not affect any cadet's ability to graduate on time or be accepted into pilot training school, Warthen said.

The primary purpose of the programs is to familiarize cadets "with the operational Air Force," Warthen said.

"This will have no impact on careers," he said.

According to the academy website, cadet airmanship programs "are a vital part of each cadet's course of study, providing a series of flying and parachuting experiences which integrate key aspects of Air Force aviation heritage and present day-to-day Air Force flying operations with other elements of the cadet's total education."

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Gazette reporter Lisa Walton contributed to this report.

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