OT: Our Son's Very Different College Sport.

SantaFeScarlet

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Our son Troy is starting his sophomore year at Saint Louis University (SLU) and is a Flight Science (Professional Pilot) major. Yesterday he earned a position on SLU’s Competitive Flight Team, The Flying Billikens. There are 8 student pilots on the team, including Troy, and they will compete over the next month for starting positions representing SLU in regional competition (they are in region 6) at Kansas State University in mid-October. Practices are at 6am at the St. Louis Downtown Airport, SLU's home airport.

There are approximately 100 universities nationally that have competitive flight teams and are members of NIFA, The National Intercollegiate Flight Association, which is like the NCAA to competitive flying.

There are 9 NIFA Regions nationally. SLU competes in Region 6 against Iowa State, Kansas State, Nebraska, North Dakota and Wisconsin to name a few. Universities in other regions include the Service Academies, Air Force, Army, Coast Guard and Navy, plus Auburn, Cincinnati, Embry-Riddle, Florida Tech, Indiana State, Ohio, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Purdue, San Jose State and Western Michigan.

Some of the competitive events are Power Off Landing, Short-field Landing, Message Drop, Simulated Comprehensive Aircraft Navigation and Traditional Navigation.

The winners of the 9 regional competitions then go to Super Regionals and those winners then go to the National Finals every year, just like college baseball/ softball, soccer, hoops, etc.

So, Troy’s college sport is Competitive Flying, which works hand in hand with his academic major of Flight Science and his career goal of being a Professional Pilot. As he told me, "this will make me a better pilot, and I'm competing in the fastest of all college sports at the highest level."

Had any of you heard about Competitive Flying in College before, as I hadn't before Troy attended SLU.
 

MADHAT1

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Congratulations and sounds like your son is doing what he loves as a sport
 

RUPete

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Thanks for sharing. One of the networks should do a feature on this - I never knew about it. You learn a new thing every day on this board!
 

BROTHERSKINNY

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Oct 21, 2010
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Our son Troy is starting his sophomore year at Saint Louis University (SLU) and is a Flight Science (Professional Pilot) major. Yesterday he earned a position on SLU’s Competitive Flight Team, The Flying Billikens. There are 8 student pilots on the team, including Troy, and they will compete over the next month for starting positions representing SLU in regional competition (they are in region 6) at Kansas State University in mid-October. Practices are at 6am at the St. Louis Downtown Airport, SLU's home airport.

There are approximately 100 universities nationally that have competitive flight teams and are members of NIFA, The National Intercollegiate Flight Association, which is like the NCAA to competitive flying.

There are 9 NIFA Regions nationally. SLU competes in Region 6 against Iowa State, Kansas State, Nebraska, North Dakota and Wisconsin to name a few. Universities in other regions include the Service Academies, Air Force, Army, Coast Guard and Navy, plus Auburn, Cincinnati, Embry-Riddle, Florida Tech, Indiana State, Ohio, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Purdue, San Jose State and Western Michigan.

Some of the competitive events are Power Off Landing, Short-field Landing, Message Drop, Simulated Comprehensive Aircraft Navigation and Traditional Navigation.

The winners of the 9 regional competitions then go to Super Regionals and those winners then go to the National Finals every year, just like college baseball/ softball, soccer, hoops, etc.

So, Troy’s college sport is Competitive Flying, which works hand in hand with his academic major of Flight Science and his career goal of being a Professional Pilot. As he told me, "this will make me a better pilot, and I'm competing in the fastest of all college sports at the highest level."

Had any of you heard about Competitive Flying in College before, as I hadn't before Troy attended SLU.
No but have been a private pilot since 1990 and this is cool AF!
 
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RU4Real

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Never heard of it. Sounds awesome - and a little scary for a parent.

Back in the day we used to have pilot competitions at Princeton Airport. The two main events were "flour sack bombing" and "precision landing".

For the flour sack bombing, we would draw a bulls-eye on the runway and participants would overfly at pattern altitude, dropping a sack of flour out the window. Closest to the bulls-eye wins.

Precision landing consisted of spotting each contestant's initial touchdown point on landing, in relation to a line drawn across the runway.

In reality, pilots have myriad ways in which they compare themselves to their peers. Organized competitions are a natural thing.
 

SantaFeScarlet

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Back in the day we used to have pilot competitions at Princeton Airport. The two main events were "flour sack bombing" and "precision landing".

For the flour sack bombing, we would draw a bulls-eye on the runway and participants would overfly at pattern altitude, dropping a sack of flour out the window. Closest to the bulls-eye wins.

Precision landing consisted of spotting each contestant's initial touchdown point on landing, in relation to a line drawn across the runway.

In reality, pilots have myriad ways in which they compare themselves to their peers. Organized competitions are a natural thing.
What were you all flying back in the day
 

RU4Real

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What were you all flying back in the day

The world was ruled by Cessnas. 172s and 182s. And not a single piece of digital anything on the panel. Hell, we had PAPER MAPS!

Funny story - my wife and I were coming back from somewhere one night and about halfway home the 172 I was flying suffered an electrical malfunction that was limited in scope to all interior lighting. Whole panel went dark, reading lights didn't work, etc. And my flashlight was dead. I was flying the plane while reading the sectional chart by the dim, flickering glow of a Bic lighter. It was hysterical.
 
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SantaFeScarlet

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The world was ruled by Cessnas. 172s and 182s. And not a single piece of digital anything on the panel. Hell, we had PAPER MAPS!

Funny story - my wife and I were coming back from somewhere one night and about halfway home the 172 I was flying suffered an electrical malfunction that was limited in scope to all interior lighting. Whole panel went dark, reading lights didn't work, etc. And my flashlight was dead. I was flying the plane while reading the sectional chart by the dim, flickering glow of a Bic lighter. It was hysterical.
Absolutely classic story and the 172s are still flying as training aircraft at the majority of universities around the country. Of course they've been upgraded with modern avionics. They remind me of the B-52s of the college fleet...old and reliable.
 

zappaa

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Jul 27, 2001
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Montclair NJ
Our son Troy is starting his sophomore year at Saint Louis University (SLU) and is a Flight Science (Professional Pilot) major. Yesterday he earned a position on SLU’s Competitive Flight Team, The Flying Billikens. There are 8 student pilots on the team, including Troy, and they will compete over the next month for starting positions representing SLU in regional competition (they are in region 6) at Kansas State University in mid-October. Practices are at 6am at the St. Louis Downtown Airport, SLU's home airport.

There are approximately 100 universities nationally that have competitive flight teams and are members of NIFA, The National Intercollegiate Flight Association, which is like the NCAA to competitive flying.

There are 9 NIFA Regions nationally. SLU competes in Region 6 against Iowa State, Kansas State, Nebraska, North Dakota and Wisconsin to name a few. Universities in other regions include the Service Academies, Air Force, Army, Coast Guard and Navy, plus Auburn, Cincinnati, Embry-Riddle, Florida Tech, Indiana State, Ohio, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Purdue, San Jose State and Western Michigan.

Some of the competitive events are Power Off Landing, Short-field Landing, Message Drop, Simulated Comprehensive Aircraft Navigation and Traditional Navigation.

The winners of the 9 regional competitions then go to Super Regionals and those winners then go to the National Finals every year, just like college baseball/ softball, soccer, hoops, etc.

So, Troy’s college sport is Competitive Flying, which works hand in hand with his academic major of Flight Science and his career goal of being a Professional Pilot. As he told me, "this will make me a better pilot, and I'm competing in the fastest of all college sports at the highest level."

Had any of you heard about Competitive Flying in College before, as I hadn't before Troy attended SLU.
In a few years after your son has established himself as a commercial or private pilot… he should supplement his old baseball skills by playing high level mens slow pitch softball.
He will have a blast
 

RUfinally2008

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I have a 16 year old nephew who just completed his 1st solo flight takeoff and landings. I find it amazing they allow you behind the wheel of a plane legally before the wheel of a car solo.Crazy.
 
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