|By Carmelo Turdo|
Following yesterday's visit to the St. Louis University main campus, the SAFECON Region VI competition returned to St. Louis Downtown Airport. The Aero Experience coverage began early in order to take advantage of the mild autumn weather and the image of the sunrise behind the numerous aircraft on the Ideal Aviation apron. It was the start of another wonderful day in Midwest Aviation:
|Rachel Munger and Creedance Chambers|
As with their military pilot brethren, sometimes the teams' flying activities are accompanied by a lot of "hurry up and wait" time between flights. Some crews visited with the Trans States Airlines representatives or tossed bean bags to pass the time.
Later in the day, team pilots participated in the Ground Trainer Event that tests the ability to fly in Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) conditions in the Frasca simulators. Accuracy in maintaining altitude, airspeed and heading without ground references were evaluated. Yesterday, competitors were given a series of flight maneuvers they were required to demonstrate in the simulator and they were given a limited amount of time to practice their maneuvers. Earlier in the day, we saw two pilots from Oklahoma State University, Paul Downing and Rachel Earnhardt, practicing the maneuvers by walking them on the apron outside of the Parks College hangar in the same way that airshow pilots walk their airshow prior to a performance. Later we met Kolton Slater, a 200-hour instrument rated pilot from the University of Central Missouri, who explained the many variables involved with performing the required 10-minute "flight" before he was called to the simulator. Achieving the required speed, rate of climb and course change requirements of the assignment were very challenging, Slater told The Aero Experience. We will find out more about how challenging it was on Friday.
Wednesday's events, the Short Field Landing and Power Off Landing, will include a full day of flying. A visit by a Trans States jet and crew is planned for tomorrow, and following the flying events, the teams and other visitors will gather at the Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum. Check back with The Aero Experience for more coverage of the SAFECON Region VI competition the rest of this week.