SDCC Flight Team Tuesday and Wednesday SAFECON 2011 Regional Championships
We flew 4 planes up to Brackett Field (KPOC) Monday afternoon so our pilots could get plenty of landing practice at the host airport near Pomona CA. Tuesday morning was cloudy and cool but all of our landing pilots got several hours of spot landing practice on the runways which will be used for competition. Like Gillespie Field, there are noise sensitive areas that must be accommodated which also require pilots to adjust their pattern and landing techniques.
Wednesday morning was calm, clear and sunny. Your SDCC Flight Team continued to practice landings, fly Navigation routes and practice ground events. Most of the competing teams arrived early to practice. This year there is added pressure to score high because there are only 2 invitations available to the national championships instead of the normal 3. All the teams know that and the competitive tension has ratcheted up from previous years.
Competition began today with Paul Martin flying the "IFR" event. The IFR (instrument flight rules) pilots plan a route and fly in the air traffic system under instrument rules, flying approaches, holding, etc. with the judge sitting next to them taking notes. Paul thinks he did well but we won't know until the Awards Banquet Sunday night.
Clayton Hawley and Philip Dolton competed in the "Simulator" event. The competitor flies a stationary aircraft simulator along a predetermined timed pattern with climbs, turns, and descents. Accuracy and precision is paramount. Competitors are graded on how close they come to the actual pattern.
John Crotts, Aaron Varela and Clayton Hawley competed in the "Preflight" event where judges "bugged" a Cessna 172 with maintenance faults the pilots were expected to "find" during a normal preflight inspection. If the pilot found 30 out of 30 "bugs," then the pilot who found the most discrepancies in the shortest time - wins.
John Crotts and Sean Conlan competed in the "Safety Interviews" event. Contestants brief judges on the SDCC Safety program and how the Flight Team applies rules, regulations and policies to make our program safe. John said he thought they did very well in the interview which lasted about 45 minutes.
Tonight, Kyle Mayhugh, Philip Dolton, Clayton Hawley, Aaron Varela and Paul Martin competed in the "Aircraft Identification" event where contestants are shown a picture of an aircraft for 3 seconds and are then given 5 seconds to name the plane, manufacturer and airplane number. I can tell you after 40 some odd years in aviation - I could not name half of the planes they showed. Sometimes they would show only the tail of a plane sticking up out of the dust, or a crashed airplane, or an obscure foreign-made fighter or any number of quirky variations of airplanes that make it easy to guess the wrong answer.
We ended the day with a social "BBQ" with guest speaker Steve Hinton, the 23 year old son of famous aviator Steve Hinton (Sr). Young Steve has won the Reno Air Race Unlimited Gold trophy for the past two years despite his young age. His talk was very plain and spoke directly to the competitor's drive to succeed. Granted, his famous father opened a few aviation doors for him, but young Steve was clearly prepared to step into his role in the warbird world and professional air race pilot.
Tomorrow our "Navigation" pilots begin competition, and Saturday is the landing events. If you are going to come observe any of the competition, the landings and message-drop (held Sunday) are by far the best. The weather is beautiful and the Lord has blessed us to come here and compete for our school. The days are long and the pressure is building. Please pray for us! From KPOC in Pomona good night!
Plane captains return from launch.
SDCC Team practices landings.
Clayton Hawley studies NAV.
Downtime includes reading.
SDCC studies for SCAN test.