Wednesday - Day 7 SAFECON 2011 Ohio State University
Today began overcast with a 500 foot ceiling but also with a hopeful forecast. Jenna Sims and John Crotts met at 0730 for once-over practice of their American Airlines Safety interview. They met with Captain David Andre, chief pilot for American's Saint Louis crew base for their presentation which covers all of SDCC's safety policies and practices.
Paul Martin and Clayton Hawley flew the "Ground Trainer" pattern in the simulator later in the morning. The pattern is a complicated series of timed turns, precision climbs, descents and maneuvers to test the instrument skills in an IFR simulator.
Finally at 1pm, the clouds did part or rise, or evaporate enough to launch the first of 35 heats of 4 aircraft. Team Captain Aaron Varela was in Heat 6 for Power-on landings. Power-on landings mean you can partially cut the power on the downwind – abeam the landing point and reduce the power as you approach landing so you are at idle power and full stall landing at touchdown. Throughout the pattern you can keep some power on, but as you reduce power for touchdown, you may not re-add power (if it looks like you'll land short for example) -without significant penalties. A description of all the competition events is available on our website (click here) .
Aaron was followed by Kyle Mayhugh [Heat 13] , Paul Martin [Heat 20] and Dylan Jones [Heat 26]. Jenna Sims was in Round 5, Heat 32 but the 5th round was postponed because they could not finish it before dark. We think most of our landings were "in the box" (See descriptions in link above). We watched hundreds of landings and there were plenty that were worse, and many that were better. We won't know the results until the awards banquet Saturday night.
You can listen to the KOSU Control Tower by clicking on this link and typing KOSU in the "By airport/ARTCC code"
They don't say a whole lot but you can hear them clearing the NIFA Heats for takeoff and landing. It is streaming audio but we're told it works most of the time.
Today we start early with Power-off – SHORT FIELD LANDINGS at 0800. The weather is IFR this morning but is expected to improve throughout the day. After Short Field landings (35 heats) they may go into message drop or finish the Power-Off landings final round. We never know until the judges decide so our team is at the airport ready to pull the airplanes on and off the line. Pilots not in landing events are the ground crews moving planes back and forth or studying for their events.
Still to go are the Navigation Events planned for Friday morning. Navigation sends crews of two on a 100 mile round-robin flight over 5 checkpoints to test their ability to accurately plot the waypoints, accurately calculate headings, distances and fuel between waypoints, and come up with an overall time and fuel burn for the route. Estimates are compared with the actual fuel burn and actual time enroute. This event is won or lost by a tenth of a gallon or a few seconds on the time clock.
As I write this (0418 Pacific time) Clayton and Shon are in the simulator at the airport flying a "LOFT" (line-oriented flight training) scenario with judges testing them on multi-crew resource management in an instrument situation. They give them a "real-life" scenario and they have to make decisions as if they had a boss on board, an aircraft system problem or passenger medical emergency. They are tested on their decision-making and for how well they work together on normal as well as abnormal or emergency procedures.
Tonight our team will meet to get information on developing a professional aviation fraternity, Alpha Eta Rho at SDCC. We are considering that our chapter might be called "Iota Theta Sigma" - signifying the three greek letters on the cross when Christ was crucified: - [ IHS = ἸΘΣ = Ἰησοῦς, Θεος, Σωτήρ = Iēsous, Theos, Sōtēr = Jesus, God, Savior].
Following that meeting we will meet with the students from Liberty University and LeTourneau University for an hour of prayer and fellowship. We have developed this tradition over the years as it gives us a chance to compare our Christian walk in aviation with our colleagues at other Christian Universities.
Overall everyone is relieved to be flying again. Without getting any landing practices in, our pilots are "rusty". But many other schools were unable to practice landings so we're in good company. Unfortunately some schools have been in Columbus practicing for over a week and they are tough to beat! Today we are also beginning to plan our trip back across America starting Sunday morning. We covet your prayers for this 2000 mile trip as weather will continue to be a factor in our planning.
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