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> SDCC Flight Team: SDC Flight Team Region II Championships - Prescott, AZ

SDC Flight Team Region II Championships - Prescott, AZ

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  San Diego Christian Flight Team Places 4th 


The San Diego Christian Flight Team returned Saturday after competing in the Region 2 collegiate flying championships. They placed 4th in the annual competition at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  Five teams from college aviation programs in California and Arizona fought for the title in Region 2 at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, AZ February 4-8th.   San Jose State, Mount San Antonio College, Cypress College, Embry-Riddle and SDC competed in both ground and flight events in the Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference (SAFECON). 


Twelve teams competed in Region 1 and Region 2 to receive bids to the national championships. Those in Region 1 were from Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico. Those in Region 2 were schools from California, Arizona and Nevada. Only the top 3 teams from each region advanced to the nationals.  


The winner from Region 2 was Embry-Riddle, the current reigning national champion in the National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA), and the winner from Region 1 was the US Air Force Academy. 


The Hawks took a large, but inexperienced team to the championships this year, half of which were first year students. Senior Sean Conlan was the highest-ranking pilot placing 3rd overall followed by the Team Captain Michael Elm at 16th, Matthew Carter 29, and Mike Visnovsky, 30.  


Top female pilot was Blandy Castro who finished 3rd, followed by Becky Uecker 4th, and Kayla Harder, who tied Bryanna Raue for 6th place. 


SDC came out strongest in the Power-Off Spot Landing. Michael Elm and Sean Conlan finished 4th and 5th consecutively. Sean and Matthew Carter placed 2nd in the Navigation event, and Sean and Bryanna Raue placed 2nd in Message Drop. 


Team Captain Michael Elm and Sean Conlan won the Safety Award recognizing SDC’s excellence in flight operations safety.  Sean and Michael’s safety presentation to a panel of judges was deemed the winner and we believe it is the first time SDC has won this event in recent years. 


SDC Flight Team believes their Christian example is one of the most powerful testimonies they can provide to their fellow competitors. It did not go unnoticed and the Hawks won the Red Baron Team Sportsmanship Award for the second year in a row. 


The competition in Prescott, AZ was marked by cold winds and biting temperatures for most of the week. The airport’s 5000-foot elevation meant lower performance for our Cessna 150, affectionately known as “Juliet.” Juliet was also plagued with some mechanical problems. Replacing a broken mixture cable caused the Hawks spot landing team to miss critical practice landings at the high altitude airport.  Practicing landings in the gusty, tricky wind conditions in the Prescott Valley is essential to the all–important spot landings.  Team Captain Michael Elm, who placed 4th in the Power-Off spot landing, said “Juliet broke Sunday morning before we could get more than a couple runs in so we couldn’t get a feel for the gusty winds. That made it tough for everybody because we needed to gain familiarity with the runway we will be landing on and we didn’t get a chance this time.” Captain Elm said it is very important to get used to the flying conditions before competition, but he was very proud of the effort his team made. 


“Winning the Sportsmanship award was really important because it validated all the work the younger kids on the team put in to make the flying events successful,” said Bryanna Raue. “If it weren’t for Rob Spicer and Mike Visnovsky and the non-flying ‘Penguins’ helping to move the aircraft we could not compete.”  


Robert Spicer was voted “Outstanding Team Member” by his teammates. The team returned Saturday night but had to leave Juliet in Arizona due to a rough running magneto.   


Congratulations to the 2013-2014 SDC Hawks Flight Team! Although we will not be going to the national championships at Ohio State University this year, the team will continue to prepare for regionals next fall. SDC will be hosting the 2014-2015 Regional championships on November 12-16th at Gillespie Field in El Cajon, CA.   





San Diego Christian (SDC) Flight Team is in Prescott, Arizona this week competing in the Region II college flying championships hosted by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. This year’s team, led by senior Flight Team Captain Michael Elm includes: Hunter Blackwell, Kendra Brabec, Matthew Carter, Blandy Castro, Sean Conlan, Megan Dombrowski, Aaron Giannetto, Kayla Harder, Thomas Powers, Bryanna Raue, Robert Spicer, Kenny Travis, Rebecca Uecker, and Michael Visnovsky. Karinne Russo was unable to make the trip due to the flu. 



prescott az slideshow 


Part of the team drove to Prescott on Saturday in a RV graciously loaned to the team by Kevin and Debbi Eggleston. The others flew over in the competition airplanes.  


The weather has been cold and windy, with wind chills during the morning in the low teens. This morning dawned with snow just above the airport level with threatening clouds surrounding Prescott Valley. Despite these conditions, all competitions were completed.  


Your SDC Flight Team will be returning next week – after thawing out from the below freezing temperatures this week. Hopefully the team will do well and earn an invitation to the national college flying championships at the Ohio State University in Columbus Ohio next May. Only the top 3 teams will earn a slot at nationals. This was a unique combined event with 11 total teams from Region I (CA, AZ & NV) and Region II (CO, UT, WY, NM).  


Keep the team in prayer this weekend for their return both on the highway and in the air as inclement weather makes flying difficult between Arizona and California. 


SDC Flight Team works hard to excel in the field of Aviation. They have been planning and practicing for SAFECON (Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference) since August and will be hosting the 5 colleges in our region next November at Gillespie Field.  


If you are interested in finding ways to support the SDC Flight Team, you may contact Captain Denny Breslin.  





marked the beginning of the competition with ground events, SCAN, E6B, and Aircraft Identification. Ground events are all about flight planning questions using complicated formulae to solve multi-level problems involving airplanes, federal regulations and technique. Each team has five competitors in the ground events.  



is when flying events begin with the Navigation event. Each college has 3 “Nav” teams that fly a pre-determined route of about 100 miles comparing actual time and fuel used to the estimates made in pre-flight planning.  



is the big day featuring two kinds of spot landings – Power-Off and Short-Field. As the name implies, pilots cut power a mile from the runway on the downwind leg, and glide to land on a line painted in the middle of a 300 foot landing box on the runway. Judges along the runway mark how far planes land from the line and the pilots with the lowest cumulative distance in two flights is the winner. For the Short-Field spot landings, pilots can use power, but must land power-off on the line. 



is the Message Drop event where pilots fly over the runway at 200 feet and 100 mph dropping a small box with a streamer attached to land on a target on the runway. Similar to “bombing,” message drop tests pilot’s ability to judge wind drift from the plane and hitting the target is harder than it looks. 


Friday ends with the results from the competition tabulated overnight.  



will begin at noon with an awards luncheon where the winners will be announced.  

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