Fall flight competition

Bowling Green State University hosts safety and flight evaluation conference

By Bob Cunningham

You might have noticed that campus was abuzz last week even though it was Fall Break.

That’s because the Falcon Flight Team was one of five schools participating in the National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference (SAFECON) Region III competition at the BG Flight Center and Wood County Airport.

Each fall, collegiate flight programs take part in SAFECON’s weeklong competition to see who will make it to the nationals in the spring. Bowling Green State University competed against flight teams from Ohio University, Ohio State University, Western Michigan University and Kent State University.

Each team had about 20 members and brought three planes. The Wood County Airport, which donated the use of its hangar for the event, served as home base for the teams to network with airline representatives and collaborate with other team members.

“Bowling Green State University has the distinct honor of being able to host the NIFA Region III competition this year,” said Catherine Smith, BGSU aviation chief flight instructor and adviser for the Falcon Flight Team. “BGSU hasn’t hosted the competition since 1997, so we’re really excited to have it back in Falcon territory. We’re also really thrilled to have our competitors join us at the Wood County Airport for the weeklong event.”

The Falcon Flight Team mostly is comprised of students from Aviation Studies, but any student from BGSU is eligible to participate on the team. 

Each of the schools’ flight teams competed in the following events:

  • Message Drop: Dropping a message canister out of the aircraft window so that it lands as close as possible to a specified ground target, considering air speed and weather conditions
  • Power On and Power Off Landings: Attempting to land exactly on a line chalked across the runway, once with full power and once with no power.
  • Navigation: Planning and executing an 80- to 120- nautical-mile, cross-country flight and then measuring the accuracy of the pre-planning and flight
  • Simulator event: Flying a timed flight pattern in a simulator through a series of turns, climbs, descents and airspeed changes
  • Computer Accuracy: Using a manual flight computer (similar to a slide rule) to answer questions about aircraft performance
  • Aircraft Preflight Inspection: Timed aircraft ground inspection to discover aircraft issues.
  • Aircraft Recognition: Determining aircraft manufacturer, model and nickname from a picture displayed for three seconds)
  • Simulated Comprehensive Aircraft Navigation (SCAN): A flight planning test
  • Safety Interview: A weeklong safety review

“The University has been amazingly supportive of this premier event,” Smith said. “The Falcon Flight Team has been a success thanks to the support and donations of the BG Flight Center.”

For more information about the event, go to BGSU’s SAFECON website.