Flight team qualifies for national SAFECON

The Purdue University Flight Team qualified for the national Safety Conference (SAFECON) competition after placing third in the Region Eight flight meet last fall. Sponsored by the National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA), SAFECON will take place May 11-16 at Ohio State University in Columbus.

SAFECON events are split into two groups: ground and flying events. The ground events are open to everyone who is willing to learn and prepare for the event; participants need not be pilots. Ground events include:

  • Computer accuracy: students use a round slide rule to make mathematical calculations
  • Aircraft recognition: a picture of an aircraft, with one of its distinguishing features, is shown to the competitors. They must correctly identify the aircraft.
  • Simulator: students must fly a simulator as close to the flight path as they can
  • Simulated Comprehensive Aircraft Navigation (SCAN): students are tested on their understanding of procedures and protocol.

The flying events include:

  • Message drop: In this event, the pilot must be trained and licensed while the dropper needn’t have any flight training. There is a target on the ground and the plane performs a fly-by. The dropper is tasked with dropping a container on or as close to the target as possible.
  • Landing: The pilot is expected to land as close to a line as possible and within a given distance.
  • Navigation: the navigation event is very similar to the simulator event. The biggest difference is that the pilot must fly a real aircraft as close as possible to a designated flight path.

The Purdue Flight Team aims to help students improve their piloting skills and learn about aviation, as well as to provide networking opportunities. The club welcomes students from all majors who have an interest in aviation. There are currently about 60 members, 14 of whom competed in SAFECON. This is the club’s first appearance in Nationals since 2008.

Students in the Department of Aviation Technology created a video about the competition.