SDCC Flight Team Saturday SAFECON 2011 Regional Championship
This Saturday morning dawned bright and blue - perfect Southern California weather for "Landings" day at PCIFA SAFECON 2011.
After the judge's briefing, SDCC Flight Team Captain Aaron Varela lined up for takeoff in the Power Off spot landing event. There was a slight quartering tailwind and Aaron's landings were good in the Cessna 152. He was followed in order by Dylan Jones, Shon Northcutt, Kyle Mayhugh and Paul Martin. All SDCC landings were "in the box" - meaning everyone landed in the 300' box chalked out on the runway. Points are deducted for each foot short of the landing line - or beyond the landing line. Although our landings were consistently better than ever, due to the light winds - so too were landings of our competitors. There were more consistently better landings today than we've seen in any regional competition.
Following the Power off landings, there was a short break as pilots were able to mix and meet with recruiters for several airlines. Representatives from Ameriflight were present to talk about upcoming opportunities with their company. At 1pm Aaron Varela taxied out for heat one of Short Field landings, which are similar to Power off spot landings except pilots are allowed to keep power on the airplane longer. Once power is reduced however, it may not be added back. Landings must be full-flap, power off, full stall spot landings on the landing line.
When landings were finished, Jenna Sims and John Crotts flew their Navigation flight. Reports were their times were right on their estimated planned times.
As soon as he landed from his second of two Short Field landings, I whisked Shon Northcutt and Clayton Hawley over to Mt. San Antonio College for the Crew Resource Management event. CRM tests pilot's skills working together as a crew. We teach our pilots how to fly as private, instrument and commercial pilots. We have instituted a class this spring at SDCC that teaches pilots how to work together as a crew. It's more difficult than you think! The scenario had them taking off from KPOC (Brackett Field) in a simulator and flying over to KOXR Oxnard. They were graded on checklist usage, navigation, interfacing with flight attendants and passengers, flying an approach to a "missed approach" or go-around, and diverting to Burbank (KBUR) airport. They did extremely well. You would be proud of them. The extensive de-brief provided by American Airlines pilots Captains Jeff Sheets and Captain Jeff Satterwhite showed that while no one can fly the perfect flight - there was a lot that they did right. However - the same was true for the other 5 schools who flew the same scenario so the results will be interesting.
Tonight at 6pm Paul Martin, Frank Razo, Phillip Dolton, Dylan Jones and Aaron Penney competed in the final ground event at the airport. Using their circular slide-rules also known as the E6B aviation computer, they worked on navigation problems for an hour. First one done with the most right answers wins.
So we have only one event remaining which is probably the most fun of any of the events - the Message Drop. Pilots will be up early Sunday morning for the brief and the first plane will roll at 0900. Message drop consists of one pass over the runway at 200 feet and 100 mph dropping a 3 ounce streamer-box on a target at each end of the runway. The idea is for pilot and dropmaster to calculate wind drift and drop their message box upwind of the target hoping it will drift back down to the target. Judges will measure the distance from the boxes of each school and add the total between the two drops for the score. Believe me, it's harder than it looks!
The nature of the competition means no one knows how they are doing until the results are announced at the Awards Ceremony on Sunday night. Competition is particularly competitive this year because everyone knows only two schools will be invited to the national championships. There is considerable anticipation as we approach the end of this competition. Stay tuned for the results tomorrow!