SDCC Flight Team SAFECON 2011 Regional Championships RESULTS
SAFECON 2011 is in the history books. The Awards Banquet at the end of the 4-day collegiate flying competition recognizes the efforts of 88 pilots, coaches and advisors. We are grateful to the Mt San Antonio College Dept. of Aviation for hosting this year's competition. Having hosted last year, we can fully appreciate the enormity of hosting and it is always a credit to the organizers who work so hard behind the scenes to make it look easy - when we know it is anything but...
First Place: Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (1650 Total enrollment - all Aeronautical Students)
Second Place: Mt. San Antonio College (41,000 total enrollment - 700 Aeronautical Students)
Third Place: San Diego Christian College (500 total enrollment - 35 Aeronautical Students)
Fourth Place: San Jose State University (32,000 total enrollment - 400 (est) Aeronautical Students)
Fifth Place: Cypress College (16,000 total enrollment - no information on Aeronautical numbers)
Guests: U.S. Air Force Academy
Only the top two schools receive invitations to the NIFA National Championships so we will not be going to nationals this year. Since the number of invitations dropped from 3 to 2 this year, the stakes were high - and so was the quality of competition. Nearly all landings from all the schools were "in the box" this year which means there were some very very good landing scores. Top landing pilot for SDCC was Kyle Mayhugh - who has always been one of our most consistent precision landing performers. We understand there are several "tricks" some schools use to increase their score but we don't and sometimes we pay the price in our lower score. Fortunately there are judges and administrators in NIFA who agree these techniques are unsafe and unfair and will seek to have them banned from future competition.
In most of the events, each team is allowed 5 contestants. Some only allow 1 or 2, but the major events allow 5 from each school. Awards are only given to the top 10 in each event, and medals are awarded to the top 5. Certain events and standings are awarded trophies which is kept by the winning team for the year. SDCC won TWO trophies!
In the Navigation event SDCC captured 3 of the top 10 spots. Clayton Hawley and Aaron Varela placed 2nd, Jenna Sims and John Crotts placed 5th, and Kyle Mayhugh and Dylan Jones placed 6th.
Paul Martin placed 3rd overall in the IFR Precision Flight event.
Our best performances were in Message Drop. Although we don't get a chance to practice message drop very much, we spent some time walking through the pattern on the ground and discussing wind theory and dropping techniques. As a result, we won the event and took 4 of the top ten awards. Shon Northcutt and Jackson Judge won first place! John Crotts and Sean Conlan took 3rd place. Frank Razo and Aaron Penney placed 6th. Kyle Mayhugh and Chad Coyle placed 10th.
In the Ground Trainer event - which is done in a stationary aircraft simulator where pilots fly a pattern given to them by the judges just before the competition, Clayton Hawley placed 3rd overall.
In the Simulated Comprehensive Air Navigation (SCAN) event - which is arguably the most difficult test of all, Kyle Mayhugh placed 8th.
In Aircraft Recognition - another event that you have to have a knack for - Kyle Mayhugh placed 8th. I attended the AC-ID event and could only name a handful of the airplanes shown...
In the Aircraft Preflight Inspection event, Aaron Varela took 10th place.
In Computer Accuracy, aka "E6B" event, - one that Embry Riddle typically sweeps - Paul Martin placed 7th. The winner from ERAU made a perfect score which is extremely rare. We understand that some of these schools with hundreds of aviation students to choose from, recruit engineering students - who are not even necessarily even pilots - to enter these events. We think that defies the spirit of aviation competition and some national judges agree. They may be requiring future contestants to be pilots to level the playing field - we'll see.
In Crew Resource Management, Clayton Hawley and Shon Northcutt took 3rd place.
San Diego Christian College received several other awards for which we are very proud:
Jenna Sims won the trophy for "Top Woman Pilot Safety" - she almost couldn't lift the trophy! We're extremely proud of Jenna and her excellent performance this week.
John Crotts and Sean Conlan won the "Team Safety" award for their presentation of SDCC's Safety/Training Program to the judges. The last time SDCC won the Team Safety award, the college was still "Christian Heritage College" - back in 2001! Congratulations to John and Sean for an excellent job!
Sean Conlan was voted by his teammates as the "Outstanding Team Member" to recognize his service above and beyond the call of duty. Sean is always a reflection of Christ's Servant Attitude on our team. He helps his classmates with homework and practice, and is always willing to do whatever he can to help the team -with no expectation of reward or recognition. So we salute Sean Conlan and we're happy to recognize him here.
For the "Top Pilot" award Clayton Hawley was 7th and Jenna Sims was12th out of 68 competitors. Only the top 12 receive points.
Clayton was 8th among all male contestants, followed by Kyle Mayhugh (13), Paul Martin (17), Jackson Judge (20), Sean Conlan (26), Aaron Penney (32), Aaron Varela and Shon Northcutt tied at (33), and Chad Coyle (44). Beyond 44, no points were given.
Jenna was 2nd among all female contestants. Randi Cavalier was 5th but no points were given beyond the top 4.
For all 68 contestants (male and female) the standings were: Clayton Hawley (8), Kyle Mayhugh (14), Jenna Sims (18) and Paul Martin (18) [tied], Sean Conlan (28), Aaron Penney (34), Shon Northcutt (36), and Chad Coyle 48. No points were given for standings below 48th place by a formula NIFA uses for team scoring.
Not so obvious is that some events are weighted greater than others - thus one pilot may win more awards than another, but score lower... For example, the landings and air events produce the more points than ground events. Scoring is pretty much a mystery outside the judges office. We actually have no idea how all those event numbers are mixed in the NIFA programming to produce the scores but we give our volunteer judges enormous credit for their dedication and commitment to making these competitions possible.
So SAFECON comes to a close with a mixture or joy for all we did well, and sadness that we did not measure up to the standard we set for ourselves to win an invitation to the national championships. When you compare the size of our program and the assets (and budgets) some of our competitors have available to them for teaching, training and practicing, it is easier perhaps, to understand that we will always be the underdog.
I want to recognize the excellent leadership and direction of Team Captain Aaron Varela. He has done an outstanding job of organizing, directing, and motivating his team this year. The Leadership team of Paul Martin, John Crotts, Aaron Penney, and Jenna Sims have been a delight to work with and we wish them well. Please congratulate and thank them when you see them on campus for having represented SDCC with a strong Christian testimony, exemplary behavior and competitive excellence.
SDCC Director of Aviation and Flight Team Advisor
SAFECON Awards Banquet at Mt San Antonio College.
Flight Team 2011 SAFECON - Note Jenna holding her Women Safety Pilot trophy and John holding the Team Safety Trophy.
Dylan Jones & Kyle Mayhugh 6th NAV.
Kyle Mayhugh - 9th Power Off Landings.
Clayton Hawley & Aaron Varela 2nd NAV.
John Crott & Jenna Sims 5th NAV.
Jenna Sims Top Women Pilot Safety Award.
Jackson Judge & Shon Northcutt 1st Message Drop.
John Crotts & Sean Conlan First Place Safety Award.
Aaron Penney and Frank Razo 6th Message Drop.
Kyle Mayhugh & Chad Coyle 10th Message Drop.
Clayton Hawley 8th Overall.
Kyle Mayhugh worked hard to earn his 5 awards!
Team Captain Aaron Varela 8th Aircraft Recognition - 2nd in Navigation.
Shon Northcutt & Clayton Hawley 3rd Crew Resource Management.
Paul Martin 3rd IFR Precision Flight and 7th in Computer Accuracy.