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October 14, 2009
UD Flight Team Hosts Region V Flight Competition

The University of Dubuque Aviation Department will host the National Intercollegiate Flying Association's Region V Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference (NIFA SAFECON) from Thursday, October 15 through Saturday, October 17 at the Dubuque Regional Airport, with some of the ground events being held on campus.

Four teams of student aviators - St. Cloud State University, University of Minnesota-Mankato, University of North Dakota, and the University of Dubuque - will compete in four flying events and five ground events in an effort to qualify for the National SAFECON held next Spring. The top two schools from the region are historically invited to the National Competition.

"I look forward to this event every year," stated Mike Glyn, Flight Team Advisor. "Its healthy and spirited competition - with an underlying factor of safety - gives our students an opportunity to meet and compete with some of their future colleagues and crewmembers in the aviation industry or the cockpit. Certainly we go into the competition with the intent to secure a spot at the National SAFECON; but the experience of the competition itself is worthwhile, as it instills the desire to study and practice harder to improve each participant's skills".

The events to be held in this years' Regional competition include:

Ground Events
Computer Accuracy Event - a written examination comprised of approximately forty-five multiple choice questions based on problem solving using one or more types of manual flight computers.

Simulated Comprehensive Aircraft Navigation Event (SCAN) - a written exam with problems referencing a simulated cross-country flight over a given route. Included in the flight planning are questions on weight and balance, aircraft performance, FARs, aeronautical chart and weather interpretation, and fuel management.

Aircraft Recognition Event - requires contestants to correctly identify aircraft from all over the world from both past a present. Slides of aircraft are shown for three seconds. Contestants need to identify the manufacturer, common name and model number of the aircraft.

Preflight Inspection Event - a practical inspection of a common training aircraft which has been "bugged" with multiple problems which would make the aircraft unsafe for flight. Contestants are given 15 minutes in which to inspect the aircraft and identify the problems.

Ground Trainer Event - designed to test the competency and skill of the contestants in using a flight training device. Flying a predetermined pattern, the computer most show a proficiency in altitude, heading and airspeed control.

Flying Events
Message Drop Event - requires contestants to hit a target on the ground with a message container, dropped from an aircraft. A team effort by both the pilot and the drop-master is necessary to maneuver the airplane so the container will hit the target.

Navigation Event - consists of a cross-country flight over a three to five leg course between 70-120 nautical miles in length. Each contestant submits a flight plan before takeoff. The contestants are then evaluated by comparing the actual flight data with their estimated planned data. The contestant with the lowest penalty points wins.

Short Field Landing Event - tests the pilot's skill at maneuvering and manipulating the aircraft. After taking off and flying a normal traffic pattern, the pilot tries to land as close to, if not on, the target line. The contestants are evaluated on pattern technique and how close they land from the target line.

Power-off Landing Event
Similar to the Short-Field Landing event, only the aircraft engine must be reduced to, and remain at, idle on the downwind leg abeam of the target line.


The National Intercollegiate Flying Association was formed for the purposes of developing and advancing aviation education; to promote, encourage and foster safety in aviation; to promote and foster communications and cooperation between aviation students, educators, educational institutions and the aviation industry; and to provide an arena for collegiate aviation competition. The regional and national SAFECONs are NIFA's most important events held each year. Region V includes Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan's Upper Peninsula.