May 20, 2010
By Mike Collins
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The National Intercollegiate Flying Association’s 2010 Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference—better known as Safecon—is taking place this week at Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field in Terre Haute, Ind. Think of the event as collegiate aviation’s Final Four, but with airplanes instead of basketballs.
About 450 college students, representing 28 aviation colleges and universities from across the country, are participating in the weeklong national event, said Corey Hill, president of Safecon 2010 and a student at Indiana State University, which is hosting this year’s event. They are flying 86 airplanes in the competition, he said.
Safecon includes a variety of flying and non-flying events. Flying contests include a navigation event, power-off landings, and short-field landings. Other events include an aircraft preflight inspection competition, a teaching competition for CFIs, and IFR flight using a simulator. Students also compete through written tests on aircraft recognition, cross-country flight planning, and flight computer accuracy. Their performance is evaluated by dozens of volunteer judges, many of them former competitors who now fly for airlines, work as flight instructors, or hold other jobs in the aviation industry.
Flying events are scheduled to conclude May 21, with a message-drop competition. Safecon concludes May 22 with a closing banquet.
Safecon 2010 is the National Intercollegiate Flying Association’s ninetieth anniversary meeting. The University of North Dakota won last year’s event, which was hosted by Parks College of St. Louis University.
Mike Collins has worked for AOPA’s media network since 1994. He holds a private pilot certificate with an instrument rating.
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