Normally SAFECON flying events are spread evenly over the 4 days, but the forecast for the Prescott Valley looked ominous Wednesday evening so the judges rescheduled all flying events for Thursday and Friday. The day started with the landing briefings at 0800. First up were the Power-off spot landings. With temperatures in the 50’s and light winds, pilots manned their planes. There are four planes per heat, SDCC pilots were scheduled in heats 2,3,4,6 & 7. In order, Kyle Mayhugh, Paul Martin, Dylan Jones, Jenna Sims and Shon Northcutt flew their heats intermixed with pilots from Embry Riddle, US Air Force Academy, San Jose State University, Mt. San Antonio College and Orange Coast College. It is impossible to know how well your people do in comparison because the landing box is so far from the viewing area. Our pilots reported mostly good results with some landings on the mark, and a few landings out of the box. Judges scored the best 2 out of 3 landings this year.
Short-field spot landings followed immediately after. Same pilots, same order – same results. Unlike the Power-off event, Short-field landings allow pilots to use power on the approach with the restriction that once reduced, power cannot be re-applied. We are anxious to see the how we did, but results are not posted until the Sunday night awards banquet.
Landings were completed just after noon so the judges switched immediately without a break to the Message Drop event. Kyle Mayhugh and Dylan
Jones were in the first heat. Kyle and Dylan are famous for their “bones masks” – if you look carefully at the picture right titled “Mayhugh & Jones Bones” you’ll see why!
- Paul Martin was pilot and Sean Conlan dropmaster, in heat 3;
- Dylan Jones was pilot and Rio Jasso dropmaster, in heat 5;
- Shon Northcutt was pilot and Will Lowery dropmaster, in heat 4;
- Jenna Simms was pilot and Laura-Beth Gathman dropmaster in the final heat 7.
We had some very good drops. The wind was blowing in a cross-wind at a 90 degree angle to the runway. The boxes drifted between 20 and 100 feet depending on gusts at the time of the drop. Some team’s drops were measured over 200 feet. All of SDCC’s drops were within 125 feet.
We finished landings and message drop just before dark. It got progressively colder and windier throughout the day. Pilots and Penguins alike were happy to get out of the cold. It helped that Coach Belden’s RV had a heater and Karin Murphy’s hot dogs hit the spot for hungry competitors between heats. Friday night the host team sponsored the traditional BBQ dinner for all the teams. Everyone was encouraged to get their rest for all the ground event exams were scheduled Saturday.
Overall our effort has been terrific. The team’s spirits are up and as evidence of how serious the take their roles, we have students studying and quizzing and practicing whenever they are not competing. We have not typically had such an aggressive work ethic. It is a tribute to the attitude and enthusiasm our team has exhibited this year.
The final picture in today’s images is of a most spectacular sunset graciously granted to our eyes at the close of the day as we were leaving the airport. It was a gift from Our Lord that pleased our eyes and reminded us of His Sovereignty and Grace.
Scroll over photo for caption.
Click photo to enlarge.