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ERAU Prescott Eagles win collegiate safety competition

28 NIFA teams participated in virtual competition

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Prescott, Arizona, Golden Eagles brought home the team’s thirteenth championship in the National Intercollegiate Flying Association Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference (Safecon) during virtual competition among 28 colleges and universities.

The Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Golden Eagles, winners of the 2021 National Intercollegiate Flying Association Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference, pose for a group photo. Photo courtesy of ERAU.

The coronavirus pandemic prevented in-person competition during the annual event that gathers college aviators to demonstrate ground and flight events.

However, 2021 competition was still keen, and students strove for perfection during preflight inspections, navigation, aircraft recognition, computer accuracy, ground training, and other events.

During previous competitions, teams have participated in message drops, power-off spot landings, and short-field approach and landing events—which were not on the agenda in 2021.

The university said that the pandemic posed the biggest challenge to the team by affecting practice schedules.

Head coach Shaun Sheppard said he was proud of the students’ perseverance and “the many obstacles that we had to overcome in the last 10 months.” He said they faced socially distanced meetings and practices, delays in regional competition, and an extended winter break. “There were numerous times where we didn’t know what was going to come” next.

The 2022 Safecon is scheduled to be an in-person event at Ohio State University in Columbus.

David Tulis

David Tulis

Associate Editor Web/ePilot
AOPA Associate Editor Web/ePilot David Tulis joined AOPA in 2015 and is a private pilot with single-engine land and sea ratings and a tailwheel endorsement. He is also a certificated remote pilot and co-host of the award-winning AOPA Hangar Talk podcast. David enjoys vintage aircraft and photography.
Topics: Aviation Education Programs, Awards and Records

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