Tuesday, May 01, 2018

College aviators flock to Terre Haute, Indiana

Nearly 100 small single-engine aircraft are parked in a staging area at Terre Haute Regional Airport, ready for flight competition during the National Intercollegiate Flying Association 2018 Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference, better known as SAFECON.

“It’s the national competition” of collegiate flight schools, said Taylor Newman, executive director of the National Intercollegiate Flying Association.

Indiana State University’s department of aviation technology is hosting the event, which started Monday and ends Saturday. SAFECON brings in 28 university teams and more than 500 people — including 380 contestants and 70 coaches and advisers, Newman said.

Teams are from across the nation and include San Jose State University and San Diego Christian College, Florida Institute of Technology, Liberty University, Kent State University, Auburn, Purdue, Ohio State, Southern Illinois University, Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus, U.S. Air Force Academy and Oklahoma State University. Indiana State’s flight team is also competing.

On Monday, flight students competed on the ground, using an E6B flight computer.

“It’s like a slide-rule-style flight computer,” to gauge time, speed and distance for flights, Newman said. Then competitors took part in a simulated comprehensive aircraft navigation or SCAN event, a written exam with problems that reference a simulated cross-country flight over a specific route.

A third test was for aircraft identification. In that test, a student sees a slide of an aircraft for about three seconds, then has to identify the make and model of the aircraft.

Today, students will take to the sky for flight and landing competitions. The flights are 70 to 120 miles in length and involve navigating using specific landmarks, with flights recorded for the competition via GPS units in the aircraft.

Indiana State last hosted SAFECON in 2010, when the University of North Dakota won the event.

“We are trying very desperately to repeat that,” said Lewis Liang, flight team coach for University of North Dakota, which this year is celebrating its 50th anniversary of its flight program. The university has about 120 aircraft and has about 1,400 flight students, Liang said.

“We brought 14 team members and two coaches. We have seven or eight of the team members that will fly, with the others doing ground events,” Laing said. The weather has been a big issue for this team, as North Dakota still has snow on the ground and its older planes — 1960s and ‘70s models — do not fly when temperatures are below 5 degrees, Laing said.

The team arrived about one week early, Liang said, just so students could get some flight time in the aircraft.

Liang, who was a flight competitor as a student at the university 25 years ago, said he gave advice to the team on what to expect.

“It is much warmer here, so the temperature and fuel consumption of the aircraft is a big change. Just the environment is a big change, there are trees here, while it is flat farmland at the University of North Dakota,” Liang said.

Stephen McCaskey, Indiana State’s associate dean of technology, told students they are competing as teams. And while not everyone will have a podium finish, students will make friends and learn leadership skills ... “which will benefit you long after this event in your personal and professional endeavors.”

Original article can be found here ➤ http://www.tribstar.com

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