Saturday – Awards Day. The final day of NIFA SAFECON is for finishing any incomplete events and for the Awards Ceremony. With all the rain delays, the judges decided to try to get two more rounds of Message Drop in before the cut off at noon. It’s a good thing they did...
The weather was perfect. Titus and David flew first, and Paul Martin and Aaron Varela flew second. Then we took the afternoon off to get ready for the banquet. Everyone looked great. Clayton Hawley even wore a tuxedo, and Mathew Belden sported a very unique “dinner jacket”. But underneath we knew he was wearing his Superman cape...
Last year SDCC competed but scored no major points. Our goal for this year was “incremental improvement over last year.” As the winners were announced we watched as they proudly marched up to receive trophies, plaques and medals recognizing their status as the best in collegiate aviation. Out of over 400 competitors, only the top 20 positions are recognized and only the top 5 receive an award. So the countdown from number 20 to number one is both exiting and nerve-wracking. When results of the message drop were announced we counted down until number 5 when Titus Dinkins and David Garcia were called to receive their award! This is a first for SDCC. We received 15 points for MD and later when Paul Martin was named
number 15 in the IFR event, we received 5 more points. It may be the first time an SDCC pilot has ever scored points in national competition.
The standings will be published in a few weeks and it will be interesting to see how SDCC moved up in national rankings because of the team’s performance this year!
So congratulations to David, Titus and Paul – and to the rest of the team members who worked so hard and came so close but were not officially recognized.
On Sunday the team will fly down to Metropolis on the Wabash river near Paducah KY to get some rest and plan the long trip home.