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LETU to Host Regional NIFA Flight Competition at Abbott Aviation Center Oct. 18-22


LeTourneau University's School of Aviation and Aeronautical Science will host the National Intercollegiate Flying Association Region IV SAFECON flight competition at the Abbott Aviation Center Saturday, Oct. 18, through Wednesday, Oct. 22.
"We are expecting seven teams and about 75 people, in addition to our flight team members who will be competing," said Fred Ritchey, dean of the School of Aviation and Aeronautical Science. "These flight competitions are exciting to watch and experience up close and personal."
The schedule will include ground events as well as flight events.
LETU's "Sting" precision flight team is coached by Brad Wooden.
"Saturday the competitors will have written tests and other ground events, such as simulator events," Wooden said. "Sunday afternoon is potentially our first landing event. Monday is the navigation event, in which a pilot and navigator depart and fly about 90 minutes around a designated route around East Texas. Tuesday will likely be the most active flight day, depending on weather. Wednesday will be our awards ceremony."
LeTourneau University has hosted this event in 2008, however not at the school's Abbott Aviation Center.
Wooden said hosting the regional competition has some advantages and disadvantages for his team.
"One of the advantages is that we are using our simulator and our aircraft for preflight events, however the added distraction of hosting could have an impact on our focus," Wooden said. "We took the top prize, first place, at regionals last year, and we hope to do the same while hosting this event this year."
The public is invited to come sit outside the chain link fences and watch the flight competition Sunday afternoon, weather permitting.
"Our competition does impact the operations of the East Texas Regional airport, but their administration has been great to work with to allow our judges to be positioned along the side of the runway for this competition," Wooden said. "They have been very accommodating."
The event will culminate in an awards luncheon at 11 a.m. Wednesday, when the top teams will be announced. The top three teams qualify to compete at national competition in the spring.

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