NIFA SAFECON Championship Begins Monday

Students from 28 schools will compete to show off their skills and knowledge in aviation.

The 2014 SAFECON competition at the Ohio State University Center for Aviation Studies. [File Photo: James D. DeCamp]

The National Collegiate Flight Championship SAFECON is set to take off next week at Ohio State University Airport. 

Top collegiate pilots will participate in a number of events to test their skills and knowledge in aviation, both on the ground and in flight. 

The Competition

During the week, 28 university teams made up of almost 500 students will compete in 12 events to test their knowledge and skill. Events will include aircraft recognition, navigation, and more. 

The schools competing in this year’s event are:

  • Auburn University
  • Bridgewater State University
  • California Aeronautical University
  • Elizabeth City State University
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Daytona
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Prescott
  • Jacksonville University
  • Kansas State University-Salina
  • Kent State University
  • LeTourneau University
  • Lewis University
  • Liberty University
  • Louisiana Tech University
  • Metropolitan State University of Denver
  • Minnesota State University-Mankato
  • Oklahoma State University
  • Polk State University
  • Purdue University
  • San Jose State University
  • Southern Illinois University
  • Southeastern Oklahoma State University
  • St. Louis University-Parks College
  • Ohio State University
  • United States Air Force Academy
  • University of Nebraska-Omaha
  • University of North Dakota
  • Utah State University
  • Western Michigan University

To become a university team within NIFA, the school must be a college or university with an aviation degree track. 

The event will commence on Monday, May 9, and continue through May 14.

Event Schedule 

Friday, 5/6Teams arrive, practices begin
Monday, 5/9Opening Ceremony (Fawcett Center)
Tuesday, 5/10Navigation Event
Wednesday, 5/11Power-off Landing Event
Thursday, 5/12Short-field Precision Landing Event
Friday, 5/13Message Drop Event
Saturday, 5/14Awards Banquet (Ohio Union)

Scott van Ooyen, a standards check pilot for Southwest Airlines and one of the competition’s judges, says participation in NIFA gives students an upper hand in pursuing career opportunities after graduation. 

“The students involved with NIFA are unequivocally better prepared than their peers due to their dedication to perfecting their pilot knowledge and skills,” he said. “We, in the industry, recognize the time and effort required while competing on flight teams and actively pursue post-collegiate education.”  

Adam Stiffler, director of communications, says NIFA can bring value to students' education. 

“It’s a chance for students to take collegiate-level education to the next level and practice outside the norm, network with industry professionals and other teams. It really comes down to practicing your skills and networking.”

During the event, industry professionals and airline recruiters will host booths, providing a perfect opportunity for networking. 

Participating groups and companies include: 

  • The 99s
  • ALPA
  • American Airlines
  • Aviation Supplies and Academics
  • Cirrus Aircraft
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Endeavor Air
  • Envoy Air, Inc.
  • Flight Safety
  • FLYING Magazine
  • Foreflight
  • Frasca
  • King Schools
  • LabCorp
  • NAFI
  • National Air Transportation Association
  • Net Jets
  • Piper Aircraft
  • Republic Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Sporty’s Pilot Shop
  • Talon Systems
  • Textron Aircraft
  • UPS

This is the 12th year Ohio State has hosted the SAFECON Championship. To become a host, student representatives vote based on a number of factors like facilities, airport conditions, and weather. Until recently, only university airports were permitted to be used for the competition, but now, non-university facilities can host the event. 

Based in Texas, Ashley is the former Marketing Manager at FLYING and focuses deeply on training and education. She graduated from the Baylor Institute for Air Science with a Bachelor's in Aviation Science and holds an MBA specializing in Marketing. She is an also instrument rated private pilot and licensed FAA dispatcher.

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