The San Diego Christian College Hawks Competition Flight Team is en route to SAFECON 2018, the National College Flying Championships which begins April 30 at Indiana State University. The Flight Team is part of the Aviation Department here at San Diego Christian College and consists of 16 aviation major students. Four aircraft departed for the 1,700-mile flight to Terre Haute on April 24 with eight pilots ferrying the planes for competition. SDC is one of the few colleges in California offering an aviation degree and is the only one with a competition flight team in San Diego County.
SDC’s Flight Team earned one of the coveted invitations to the National Championships by placing second in the Region II championships, held last November in Prescott AZ. San Diego Christian College is part of the National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) which sponsors the Championships.
College flight teams compete in both flying and ground events, including precision spot landings, multiple-waypoint navigation routes, message drops, instrument flights, comprehensive ground and computer testing, and crew resource management flights in a simulator.
Captain Denny Breslin, head coach, and advisor for the team said, “Flying across the mountains from the west coast and dealing with the spring weather up the Ohio Valley is very challenging. We train our pilots to fly safely, manage risk, and make wise decisions.”
Getting to the competition is only half the battle. Upon arrival, SDC competitors dive right into the week-long competition which culminates in the awards banquet and awarding of the national champion on May 5.
Team Captain Andy Grindeland and Trevor Gross flying N31CN, Coach Mat Belden and Isaac Struiksma flying N5291E, and Chris Javner and Josh Hooker flying N3096J. Their progress can be tracked at https://www.flightradar24.com/ – type in the aircraft number in the search window and follow each airplane or see where they went.