The National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) was formed for the purposes of developing and advancing aviation education and to provide an arena for collegiate aviation competition.
The SAFECON (Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference) is our chance to demonstrate Quincy University’s excellent aeronautical science program and represent the Franciscan values and Quincy University to aviation professionals across the nation by competing with other aviation schools.
So What Happens at SAFECON?
Short-field Landing- The objective of the Short-field Event is to test the pilot’s skill at maneuvering and manipulating the aircraft. After taking off and flying a normal traffic pattern, the objective is to land as close to, if not on, the target line. Once the pilot reduces the power, it cannot be increased again. The distance in feet from where the aircraft’s wheels initially touch the runway to the target line is the pilot’s score. The lowest cumulative score from two landings, plus technique penalty points, if any, wins.
Power-off Landing- Similar to the Short-field Event, except that the power MUST be reduced and remain at idle on the downwind leg abeam the target line. The approach is made essentially by gliding for the remainder of the traffic pattern to touchdown, preferably on the target line.
Navigation- The Navigation Event consists of a cross-country flight over a three-to-five leg course between 70 and 120 NM. Contestants have an hour to plan the cross-country and a flight plan is submitted before takeoff, which includes estimated time en route for each leg, total elapsed time and fuel consumption. Points are given for each second the contestant is off of their planned times. The contestant with the lowest penalty points wins.
Message Drop- The objective of the Message Drop Event is to hit a target on the ground with a message container dropped from an aircraft at 200 feet above the ground. A team effort by both the pilot and the drop master is necessary to maneuver the airplane to hit the target. Two containers are dropped on one pass down the runway with targets at either end of the runway. The distance in feet from where the message container lands to the target is the contestants score. The contestant who has the lowest total distance when both containers are added is the winner.
IFR Simulated Flight- Competitors are required to demonstrate instrument flight rules (IFR) proficiency and precision by flying a given route in a simulator. All aspects of cross-country IFR flight are included such as receiving clearances, holding patterns, instrument approach procedures and deviation to an alternate.
CRM / LOFT [Crew Resource Management / Line Oriented Flight Training]- Two person crews-a pilot flying and a pilot not flying- are assigned a cross-country flight in a simulator. Contestants are judged on their ability to work together in a cockpit environment, as well as their ability to handle in-flight situations.
Manual Flight Computer Accuracy – A written test of aviation math problems to be solved with a manual flight computer, usually the E6-B. Time, speed, distance, basic trig, climb and descent gradients, weight and balance, and wind problems are just some of the types of problems contestants encounter. Speed and accuracy is the key.
Simulated Comprehensive Aircraft Navigation [SCAN]-The game of Trivial Pursuit involving everything aviation. Each contestant is given a packet which includes a list of approximately 40 questions all of which are concerning one particular hypothetical flight from a given point of departure to one or more points of destination, and return to point of departure. These questions are multiple choice, true-false or fill-in and are divided into two parts: pre-flight planning and en route navigation. Navigation charts are supplied which cover the route of flight and contestants must answer questions ranging from are you currently legal to take this flight to how many pounds of fuel did you purchase at the last fuel stop.
Aircraft Preflight Inspection-a light, single engine general aviation airplane shall be “bugged” with at least 30 discrepancies. These discrepancies must be of such a nature that it is reasonable to expect them to be detected by a competent private pilot during the course of a normal preflight inspection. Contestants are given 15 minutes to perform the inspection and points are awarded for locating discrepancies and overall technique.
Aircraft Recognition-Commonly referred to as the Aircraft ID, or ACID Test; contestants view pictures of aircraft for approximately 3 seconds. 15 seconds will be allowed to select the manufacturer, number designation, and official name on the aircraft. Half of the test is multiple choice, the second half is fill in the blank. The pictures include old, new, foreign and very small portions of all types of aircraft; helicopters included.
Ground Trainer-contestants fly a complex pattern of climbs, descents, and turns on a flight simulator. A computerized scoring system is used and contestants accumulate points for inaccurate flying. One point for 10 feet of altitude deviation. One point for each knot in excess of 3 from the prescribed airspeed. One point for errors in excess of 3 degrees of heading.