SAFECON Championship: The Ground Simulators

Navigating the virtual skies: an inside look at SAFECON 2023’s ground simulator events

FLYING releases the fourth episode of its six-part series documenting one of the most intense annual competitions in collegiate aviation. [Screenshot]

Welcome back to FLYING's in-depth coverage of SAFECON 2023. Fasten your seatbelts for "Episode 4: The Ground Simulator," where the battle of brains, nerves, and teamwork unfolds right before your eyes.

First, we take you inside the cockpit of a Frasca RTD (reconfigurable training device) with Garmin G1000 panel for the ground trainer event. This isn't just any simulator—it's a tool that turns abstract concepts into real-world applications. As students maneuver through the training pattern, they do so under strict guidelines: Electronic devices are only allowed as silent timers, and the pattern provided by the judge is their only guide. This isn't just about testing their knowledge—it's about ensuring accuracy under pressure, all while maintaining the integrity of the competition.

Then, we dive into the high-stakes realm of the IFR Sim Event, again featuring Frasca's latest simulator, the RTD configured as a Cessna 172 with the G1000 flight deck. Contestants take to simulated skies, navigating adverse weather conditions. However, this isn't a full-avionics-suite experience—the G1000 is simplified, so advanced features such as GPS, autopilot, auto tune, and zoom are off-limits. This restriction places the focus on the competitors' core piloting skills and their ability to adapt and react under intense pressure.

Finally, we give you a front-row seat to the teamwork extravaganza that is the CRM/LOFT Event. This year, the emphasis rests on giving competitors more hands-on time with the simulator, while still maintaining the intensity of the event. Each team navigates its short flight from Wittman Regional Airport (KOSH) in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, familiarizing itself with the crew expectations and the simulator's navigational equipment. Autopilot isn't an option here. It’s all about manual control and effective team communication.

So, get ready for this adrenaline-packed journey into the world of collegiate aviation in "Episode 4: The Ground Simulator." The riveting world of SAFECON 2023 continues to unfold, and we're thrilled to have you along for the ride. See you for Episode 5!

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