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SDCC Places 3rd in Flying Competition – wins bid to national championships!

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SAFECON is officially over – except for the gettin’ home part…

SAFECON is officially over – except for the gettin’ home part…
Tonight’s award ceremony was scary. You never know how you are doing relative to the other teams – even as the winners are announced – because different events are worth different points. As the names were announced for the ground events we did not hear our name very often. However when it came to the flying events, we took more than our share. So as the time came closer for the announcement of the team standings, we held our collective SDCC breaths as the results were revealed.

The point totals were very close, the competition was tough and you could tell there was increased focus and intensity this year. While we worked harder than ever and scored higher than in previous years – so did our competitors! The good news is that our pilots did very well despite our size and funding. We are very proud of our team! 

There were nearly 100 pilot-students competing in this year’s Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference. Next year, the competition will be in Salinas CA, hosted by San Jose State University November 8-13, 2012.   Please pray for our safe return!

11-14 Photo1 

 The results:

  1. 368 points - Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  2. 115 points – Mt. San Antonio College
  3. 96 points - San Diego Christian College Navigation Teams 
  4. 86 points - San Jose State University 
  5. 28 points - Orange Coast College

Top three teams will be going to national collegiate flying championships at Kansas State University in Salina KS next May. SDCC will be going to nationals for 4th year in a row! 

 Flight Events Ranking – SDCC 2nd place  

Crotts and Martin

Ground Events Ranking – SDCC tied for 4th place with Orange Coast College
Navigation – all three of our Nav teams scored  

  • Mayhugh/Jones – 4th place
  • Coyle/Jackson – 5th place
  • Sims/Crotts – 6th place

Maverick and Jackson  Power off landings – (top ten places score points)  

  • Northcutt – 8th place
  • Mayhugh – 9th place

Short Field landings – (top ten places score points)  

  • Jones – 7th place
  • Mayhugh – 8th placeJohn Crotts Preflight 
  • Martin – 9th place 

Message Drop – (top ten places score points)  

  • Jones (dropmaster) Mayhugh (pilot) – 4th place 
  • Lowery (dropmaster) Northcutt (pilot) – 10th place
  • Conlan (dropmaster) Martin (pilot) – 12th place (no points)
  • Jasso (dropmaster) Jones (pilot) – 14th place (no points)Paul Martin 
  • Gathman (dropmaster) Sims (pilot) – 15th place (no points)

Computer Accuracy (E6B) (top ten places score points) 

  • Paul Martin – 7th place 


Outstanding Team Member – Bryanna Raue


Jenna Sims  Bryanna Raue 



Saturday at SAFECON Prescott

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With all the flight events complete, Saturday meant no less pressure as the ground events pack enough of their own. Description of ground events will help you understand what is involved with each.
Although Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) is one of the most prestigious aviation universities in the nation (often winning the national championships) the logistical support for this SAFECON has been underwhelming. Of the three SAFECON’s I’ve attended –all had far better organization. Not to beat up on our friends at ERAU, but frankly, we were looking forward to a first-class event. It has not exactly been so for reasons we can only imagine. For example, there is no central communications point to resolve scheduling issues, minimal signage to where and when events are located, no food or drinks available at the airport etc. Capt Saterwhite and Capt Geary CRM
Problems with event organization directly affected the ground events yesterday as our preflight team was co-scheduled at the same time as another team. With events at the airport and campus, timing was critical. As a result, the events overlapped and were delayed all day. 


Jenna Sims, John Crotts and Kyle Mayhugh showed up at the airport for the Preflight event at 0900 only to discover the Mt SAC team was scheduled at the same time. So they were rescheduled for 1pm only to find ERAU was there. With both of us having Preflight competitors in the SCAN event back on ERAU campus 8 miles away, they had to hold the SCAN event until our guys finished Preflight an hour later. The Preflight airplane was an R-182, similar to my own except mine is turbocharged with an Oxygen system. Even so we think we found most of the discrepancies in the 15 minute time period allowed per contestant.  

SCAN – Simulated Comprehensive Air Navigation

ERAUImmediately after Kyle and John were finished I whipped them up to the ERAU Academics building for SCAN while Jenna did her preflight. Unfortunately the 40-question, timed event had already begun so they put Kyle and John in a separate room to do the exam on their own. Reports from the SCAN team of Kyle Mayhugh, John Crotts, Dylan Jones, Shon Northcutt and Jackson Judge are that they did well but the test was difficult. Tests are scored based on most correct answers in the least time. Immediately after SCAN, I whipped Kyle Mayhugh and Dylan Jones back to the Prescott airport to compete in the CRM event.

Kylle and John SCANE6B Computer Accuracy

The E6B event is one we’ve been working hard on all semester. There are a number of questions competitors must solve using formulas they have memorized using the circular slide rule. There is a calculations side, which includes conversions, and there is a wind-component side for computing airspeeds, ground speeds, cross-winds etc. Our E6B team included senior Paul Martin, Jenna Sims, Sean Conlan, Bryanna Raue and Kayla Harder. 

CRM – Crew Resource Management

Kyle and Dylan CRMKyle and Dylan spent one hour reviewing the fight scenario given by the CRM judges who incidentally were our own CRM Coach Captain Jeff Satterwhite and Captain Jill Geary. CRM is an event where pilots work together on a flight to get their passengers to their destination – knowing full well that “something” would go wrong, requiring them to divert to an alternate airport. 

Their flight started in Tucson with a landing planned for Phoenix. It was a complicated departure procedure requiring pilots to be very sharp to read all the notes pertaining to 

Kyle, Dylan and Judge Jill

altitudes, routing, and navigation. Pilots are not held responsible for knowing the systems of the unfamiliar airplane since it was a Piper Seminole – a twin engine aircraft – and few of the pilots are multi-engine rated. But the simulator was substandard by our measure, with a left turning tendency pilots had to fight the whole flight (not a realistic scenario in real life). There were some other quirks that made it difficult to operate the simulator - from the judges standpoint - that were frustrating for both judges and competitors. We will suggest in the future that the school providing the simulator have someone on staff to help run it so the judges can concentrate on the event. 


Last year SDCC won two safety awards based on demonstrated safe behavior on the field as well as a safety presentation given to judges. This year Sean Conlan and Bryanna Raue put together a very nice presentation – which was an enhanced and upgraded version of our presentation at the national championships last May. At the last minute was asked Paul Martin to sit in and contribute because of his broad experience with the flights and experiences that have resulted in the changes to our SOP over the years. SAFETY Event judge, Captain Frank Maine, said the team had an excellent presentation.

 Cramming for E6b exam  Relaxing after a tough SCAN 


Another long day – but everyone is relieved the competition is over. It is stressful, but at the same time it is stimulating and unique. The CRM simulator didn’t finish until after 7pm last night so the team went out to dinner earlier and I took Kyle and Dylan out on the way back from the airport.
Sunday the team will attend church at the Willow Hills Baptist Church at 11am. Willow Hills was generous enough to allow our pilots to sleep in their gym from Monday to Friday, and loaned us a church van to transport our pilots to and from the airport, hotel and ERAU campus. We want to share our appreciation by meeting the church family who helped our Flight Team in Prescott.

Friday at Regional SAFECON 2011

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Dylan Jones takes off.Normally SAFECON flying events are spread evenly over the 4 days, but the forecast for the Prescott Valley looked ominous Wednesday evening so the judges rescheduled all flying events for Thursday and Friday. The day started with the landing briefings at 0800. First up were the Power-off spot landings. With temperatures in the 50’s and light winds, pilots manned their planes. There are four planes per heat, SDCC pilots were scheduled in heats 2,3,4,6 & 7. Jenna Sims short field landings.In order, Kyle Mayhugh, Paul Martin, Dylan Jones, Jenna Sims and Shon Northcutt flew their heats intermixed with pilots from Embry Riddle, US Air Force Academy, San Jose State University, Mt. San Antonio College and Orange Coast College. It is impossible to know how well your people do in comparison because the landing box is so far from the viewing area. Our pilots reported mostly good results with some landings on the mark, and a few landings out of the box. Judges scored the best 2 out of 3 landings this year. 

Shon Northcutt and Will Lowery

Short-field spot landings followed immediately after. Same pilots, same order – same results. Unlike the Power-off event, Short-field landings allow pilots to use power on the approach with the restriction that once reduced, power cannot be re-applied. We are anxious to see the how we did, but results are not posted until the Sunday night awards banquet.
Mayhugh & Jones Bones 

Landings were completed just after noon so the judges switched immediately without a break to the Message Drop event. Kyle Mayhugh and Dylan 

Jones were in the first heat. Kyle and Dylan are famous for their “bones masks” – if you look carefully at the picture right titled “Mayhugh & Jones Bones” you’ll see why!

  • Paul Martin was pilot and Sean Conlan dropmaster, in heat 3;  
  • Dylan Jones was pilot and Rio Jasso dropmaster, in heat 5; 
  • Shon Northcutt was pilot and Will Lowery dropmaster, in heat 4; 
  • Jenna Simms was pilot and Laura-Beth Gathman dropmaster in the final heat 7.

  Paul Martin and Sean Conlan.jpg Doug Jones message drop  John Crotts Marshelling. 
 Jenna Sims and Laura-Beth Gatham Jenna and Laura-Beth 

We had some very good drops. The wind was blowing in a cross-wind at a 90 degree angle to the runway. The boxes drifted between 20 and 100 feet depending on gusts at the time of the drop. Some team’s drops were measured over 200 feet. All of SDCC’s drops were within 125 feet.

ERAU C172.We finished landings and message drop just before dark. It got progressively colder and windier throughout the day. Pilots and Penguins alike were happy to get out of the cold. It helped that Coach Belden’s RV had a heater and Karin Murphy’s hot dogs hit the spot for hungry competitors between heats. Friday night the host team sponsored the traditional BBQ dinner for all the teams. Everyone was encouraged to get their rest for all the ground event exams were scheduled Saturday.Mt SAC.
Overall our effort has been terrific. The team’s spirits are up and as evidence of how serious the take their roles, we have students studying and quizzing and practicing whenever they are not competing. We have not typically had such an aggressive work ethic. It is a tribute to the attitude and enthusiasm our team has exhibited this year.

Chad Coyle refuels Kayla Harder Bryanna Laura-Beth 

Putting 91E to bed after a good-day.jpgThe final picture in today’s images is of a most spectacular sunset graciously granted to our eyes at the close of the day as we were leaving the airport. It was a gift from Our Lord that pleased our eyes and reminded us of His Sovereignty and Grace.  


 Sunset over Prescott Valley 



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SAFECON begins at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

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One of the most exciting aspects of our aviation program is our competition Flight Team. It is our flagship to the community and the most visible “wing” of our program to the secular world. Our pilots who serve Christ through their ministry bring credit to our college with their testimony on the competitive field. We compete regionally and nationally and to the extent our pilots receive exposure to men and women contemplating attending SDCC for the education, we consider it a valuable recruiting tool as well.

Captain Kyle  

Flight Team traveled to Prescott AZ Monday November 7 to compete in the Region II collegiate flying championships. 16 Team members, led by Captain Kyle Mayhugh are competing in 5 flying events and 7 ground events [see description of events on our website] to determine which teams will earn a bid to the national championships. The National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) SAFECON championships will be at Kansas State University in Salina KS next May. Team coaches are former Flight Team members Titus Dinkins and Mathew Belden. Team Advisor and Head Coach is Captain Denny Breslin – Director of Aviation at SDCC.

Captain's Satterwhite and Breslin flying to KPRC.jpg   

SDCC’s Flight Team competes in Region II, which includes California, Nevada and Arizona. We will be competing against the host school, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Cypress College, Orange Coast College, Mt. San Antonio College, San Jose State University and the US Air Force Academy. The top 3 teams receive a bid to the national championships.

SDCC is the smallest college competing nationally. We have competed in the past 3 national championships in St. Louis MO, Terre Haute IN and most recently Ohio State University in Columbus OH. We are the only college flying their own aircraft to the competition from as far away as the west coast. No other college flies nearly so far as we, nor do they get to enjoy the incredible adventure of navigating and flying over the Rockies and across the plains. We have 40 students in our aviation program and 23 of them are on the Flight Team.

Chad and Jackson 

Monday Chad Coyle and Jackson Judge flew 2 competition planes to Prescott, to join the rest of the team for landing and navigation event practice in the rarified air of the beautiful Prescott Valley.

Competition started Thursday and will continue through Sunday culminating with the awards ceremony Sunday night. The weather is blustery with temperatures in the midforties during the day and dropping to below freezing at night. Wind chill could send temperatures into the freezing range when a cold front forecast to move through the region passes through on Friday.

The Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference (SAFECON)

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is the host for the Region II championships this year. Our team assembled for dinner last night. Some flew, some drove, but all made it safely to the beautiful Prescott Valley. Two days of hard practice resulted in a tired but enthusiastic group of young aviators. With weather threatening to cancel some flying events later in the week, the judges moved the flying events to Thursday and rescheduled the brief for 0700 this morning – which is 0600 for our Pacific time zone students. So a long day and short night meant early to bed fore everyone.

We brought 16 competitors led by Captain Kyle Mayhugh. All the guys stayed in a gymnasium generously supplied, along with two passenger vans, by the Willow Creek Baptist Church. Thanks to them for taking care of our pilots.

Flight Team enjoying the morning.

The lady-pilots, including Penguins, Bryanna Raue, Laura-Beth Gathman, and Kayla Harder stayed in a hotel along with veteran competitor Jenna Sims.


Jenna traces the Nav route.Following the morning briefing, Navigation teams of Kyle Mayhugh and Dylan Jones, Jenna Sims and John Crotts, and Chad Coyle and Jackson Judge flew their navigation routes in clear but windy weather. Paul Martin flew as our sole pilot in the IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) event. Pauls parents Brian and Naomi, drove out from Orange County to watch Paul compete in his final year. Later this afternoon Kyle Mayhugh, Alex Closs, Mike Visnofsky, Shon Northcutt and Dylan Jones competed in the ACID (Aircraft Identification) event at the ERAU campus.

We have the help of Captain Jeff Satterwhite (CRM coach) and Jill and Steve Geary (administrative volunteers) to help out and to share judging duties. Karin Murphy, Shon's Mom and her husband Mike also joined us in Prescott to watch her son compete. Tonight the team was treated to dinner by the Martin's. Food at the airport is non-existent and breakfast was not an option with an 0700 brief so they picked up fix in's for breakfast and lunch which were served later in the RV provided by Coach Mathew Belden.

It was warm in the sun but very chilly in the breeze when the sun went behind clouds. Temperature on the line today was 55 degrees with a 7 knot wind. Forecast is improving for the weekend but we still expect rain from a strong storm rolling into southern California today.Waiting to recover Nav planes. 

Tomorrow will be a critical day with landing brief at 0800 followed by all the flying events. They are going to try to fit short-field and power-off landings as well as message drop in tomorrow. It will be a long, busy day on the ramp. With conditions constantly changing, we pray that our practice time will prove valuable in this high-desert, high-density altitude airport. Today the winds changed direction 3 times. Hopefully tomorrow they will be steady and light.Kayla studies for E6B compitition.

More from Prescott tomorrow. Please keep our young aviators (and their Advisor) in your prayers for safety, for health in the cold, for success in competition and for endurance in the face of accumulating fatigue over the long days on the ramp. 

Tomorrow we brief. 

    /uploadedImages/SDCCedu/Academics/Aviation/Flight_Team/Flight_Team/blog1-5Jackson.jpg   /uploadedImages/SDCCedu/Academics/Aviation/Flight_Team/Flight_Team/blog1-7Kayla.jpg 


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SDCC Flight Team competes in NIFA Region II College Flying Championships

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Fall 2011 Flight Team

NIFA  Region II College Flying Championships

SDCC Precision Flight Team travels to Prescott AZ Monday to compete in the Region II collegiate flying championships. 16 Team members, led by Captain Kyle Mayhugh will compete in 5 flying events and 7 ground events to determine who will represent our region at the National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) SAFECON championships at Kansas State University in Salina KS next May. 
SDCC will be competing against the host school, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Cypress College, Mt. San Antonio College, San Jose State University and the US Air Force Academy. SDCC will send two planes out Monday, weather permitting with the balance of the team driving Wednesday. Tuesday and Wednesday will be practice days with competition starting Thursday and continuing through Sunday.
The weather is going to be blustery with temperatures in the mid forties during the day and dropping to below freezing at night. Wind chill could send temperatures into the freezing range when a cold front forecast to move through the region passes through on Friday.
You can follow the SDCC Flight Team on the special SAFECON blog which will be posted here on our website starting Wednesday Nov 9 and updated daily with pictures, descriptions and accounts of the competition. Please pray for our aviators this week, both for safety and for success in competition.
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