USAFA Region 1 SAFECON Flight Competition

Air Force Academy hosted the Region 1 SAFECON flight competition October 8-12 at Davis Airfield.  

Webguy was able to catch some of the action at the Regional Flight competition last week.  The weather at the beginning of the week was amazing, allowing the cadets to complete a majority of the flying events during the first two days.  Cadets were evaluated in multiple areas testing their accuracy, skill, and navigational knowledge.  The following events were tested and graded by a panel of judges during the course of the week:


Navigation Event:

The Navigation Event consists of a cross-country flight over a three-to-five leg course between seventy and one hundred twenty nautical miles.  Each contestant submits a flight plan before takeoff, which includes estimated time en route for each leg, total elapsed time and fuel comsumption.  The contestant with the lowest penalty points wins.

 Short-field Landing Event:

This event tests the pilot's skill at maneuvering and manipulating the aircraft.  After take off and flying a normal traffic pattern, the objective is to land as close to , or on, the target line.  Once the pilot reduces power, he or she cannot increase it again.  The distance in feet from where the aircraft's wheels initially touch the runway to the target line is the pilot's score.  The lowest cumulative score from the two landings, plus technique penalty points, if any, wins.

Power Off Landing Event:

Similar to the Short-field Event, except that the power must be reduced and remain at idle on the downwind leg abeam the target line.  The approach is made essentially by gliding for the remainder of the traffic pattern to touchdown, preferably on the target line.

Message Drop Event:

The objective of the Message Drop Event is to hit a target on the ground with a message container dropped from an aircraft at 200 feet above the ground.  A team effort by both the pilot and drop master is necessary to maneuver the airplane so the two containers will hit their respective targets.  The contestant whose container lands with the lowest total distance from the two targets is the winner.

Simulated Comprehensive Aircraft Navigation Event (SCAN):

The SCAN event is a written exam with problems that reference a simulated cross-country flight over a given route.  Included in the flight planning are questions on weight and balance, aircraft performance, FARs, aeronautical charts, weather interpretations, and fuel comsumption.

Ground Trainer Event:

This event is designed to test the competency and skill of the contestant's ability to fly under instrument flight rules (IFR) in a flight-training device.  Flying a predetermined pattern, the competitor must show proficiency in maintaining altitude, heading and airspeed.

Aircraft Recognition Event:

Slides of the aircraft are shown on a screen for three seconds.  Competitors then have fifteen seconds to identify the aircraft's manufacturer, model number, and common name, if any.

Computer Accuracy:

Contestants work against the clock to solve mathematical flight planning computations using a manually operated flight computer.  The exam includes problems on time, speed, distance, wind corrections, fuel requirements and conversion factors.

Preflight Inspection Event:

An aircraft is "bugged" with atleast 30 unairworthy discrepencies.  Contestants are given fifteen minutes to preflight the aircraft and find as many of the discrepancies as possible.

IFR Simulator Event:

Competitors are required to demonstrate instrument flight rules (IFR) proficiency and precision by flying a given route as a simulator.  All aspects of cross-country IFR flight are included such as receiving clearances, holding patterns, instrument approach procedures and deviation to an alternate.  

Information from the NIFA website.  

It was impressive to watch cadets endure long hours, study, plan, fly, test, and work together to complete this competition.

To view photos of this event, click HERE: