The Central Texas College (CTC) Aviation Science Flight Team took third place at the recent Region IV Intercollegiate Flying Association Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference (SAFECON) championship held at Texas State Technical College in Waco. CTC earned third place in the flight events and fourth in the ground events for the third place overall finish. CTC now qualifies for the national SAFECON flying competition in Terre Haute, IN in May 2018.

Nearly 100 student pilots from five colleges participated in the competition which tests a broad variety of aviation skills, both on the ground and in the air. Other competing schools were first place winner LeTourneau University (Longview, TX), Delta State University (Cleveland, MS) – runner-up, Louisiana Tech (Ruston, LA) – fourth place and Texas State Technical College – fifth place.

CTC student pilot Brandon O’Neil took third place honors in the top pilot category while teammates Trevor Baldwin and Ryan Collins finished ninth and tenth respectively. O’Neil also finished third in the top scoring category with 125 points throughout the competition.

CTC Flight Team members were Aaron Adams, Baldwin, Sherman Burwell, Collins, Dakota Hawkins, Clifton Lawrence, Robert Lewis, O’Neil, Tyler Spidell and Shawn Tschoepe. The team was coached by Michael Hutyra, CTC assistant chief flight professor.

CTC results in the regional SAFECON event were:

Aircraft Recognition (students are given three seconds to identify the manufacturer, common name and model number of aircraft from all over the world, both past and present): Tschoepe – fifth, Baldwin – 12th, Burwell – 14th, Spidell – 15th and Lawrence – 20th.

Aircraft Pre-Flight Inspection (students are given 15 minutes to inspect a common training aircraft which has been “bugged” with multiple problems and identify the problems): O’Neil – fourth and Burwell – eighth.

Computer Accuracy ((written examination based on problem solving using one or more manual flight computers): O’Neil – 11th, Baldwin – 13th, Burwell – 14th, Adams – 18th and Collins 24th.

Ground Trainer (designed to test the competency and skill of students using a flight training device measuring proficiency in altitude, heading and airspeed control): Adams – third and O’Neil – sixth.

Message Drop (a two-person crew attempts to hit a target on the ground with a message container dropped from the aircraft): Spidell (dropmaster)/O’Neil (pilot) – third, Lewis (dropmaster)/Hawkins (pilot) – sixth, Lawrence (dropmaster)/Baldwin (pilot) – seventh, Tschoepe (dropmaster)/Collins (pilot) – 11th and Burwell (dropmaster)/Adams (pilot) – 17th.

Navigation Ranking (contestants are evaluated by comparing actual flight data with estimated planned data submitted by the student for a 70-120 nautical mile cross-country flight): O’Neil (pilot)/Lewis (safety observer) – fourth, Collins (pilot)/Baldwin (safety observer) – tied for 12th with Adams (pilot)/Hawkins (safety observer).

Power-Off Landings (test the pilot’s skill at maneuvering and manipulating the aircraft when attempting to land on a target line with the aircraft engine on idle during the downward leg abeam of the target line): Collins – fourth and O’Neil – eighth.

Short Field Approach and Landing (test the pilot’s skill at maneuvering and manipulating the aircraft when attempting to land on a target line): Baldwin – second, Lewis – ninth and O’Neil – 11th.

Simulated Comprehensive Aircraft Navigation (written exam with problems referencing a simulated cross-country flight over a given route): Adams – 11th, Hawkins – 16th, O’Neil – 18th, Collins – 22nd and Baldwin – 25th.