Multimedia: Flight competition lands at Tech

October 17, 2013



Staff Reporter


Most people can look back on their childhood and remember the dreams they had for their future. Whether it was a firefighter or an astronaut, most people grow up and change their mind about their life’s path.


Chris Orr wanted to be a pilot, and he didn’t change his mind.


Bobby Dunn, left, and Connor Broussard, right, were among the people who took part in Friday’s competition. - Photo by Devin Dronett

Bobby Dunn, left, and Connor Broussard, right, were among the people who took part in Friday’s competition. – Photo by Devin Dronett

No longer a child, Orr got a chance to compete last Friday in SAFECON, the National Intercollegiate Flying Association Regulation IV tournament.


“I’ve loved flying since I was a kid. I had the airplane sheets and the models, so I was a little obsessed,” said Orr, a sophomore professional aviation manager.


Orr competed in the message drop event, where the passenger of the plane had to drop an object as close to a marker as he or she can.


“I’m ecstatic,” Orr said before the event. “I’ll do two runs of the event, one where I’m flying and one where I’m doing the drop. I can’t wait.”


Orr said the hard part of the event wasn’t piloting the plane.


“The flight part is a piece of cake,” said Orr. “The hard part is aiming for that marker.”


Orr has people who are confident in him, however.


“Our team tends to place pretty well, and I’ve seen a lot of enthusiasm in them. I’m optimistic about everyone who is competing,” said Bobby Dunn, a professional aviation senior and team captain of the flight team.


Dunn said the event is normally for people who are extremely interested in aviation.


“We don’t normally get a ton of people who come and watch,” he said. “The ones who do are all pilots or aviation majors.”


However, Dunn said the aviation enthusiasts are excited to be a part of it.


“Everyone who competes or watches really enjoys it,” he said.  “Everyone’s favorites tend to be the navigation and message drop events.”


The competition was explained in detail by Zach Staten, the director of flight education. .


“The events are all graded tightly by the judges,” he said. “I mean, the judges are out there with a tape measure when we do the message drop event, so we’re taking this very seriously.”


Staten said that the winning teams will get a chance to show their skills on a higher level.


“The top two teams will be sent to the national competition to compete,” he said. “We haven’t been to nationals since I was there, and that’s our goal.”


Staten said the competition is open to all aviation students with a private pilot license.


“It’s a way for pilots to compete and be recognized,” he said. “Only about one-tenth of the aviation program’s students are on the team, so it’s pretty exclusive.”


Chris Orr said he is excited that he finally meets the club’s requirements.


“I missed last year’s competition by about a week,” he said. “So this is my first year, and I’m already ready to do it again.”


Email comments to jts040@latech.edu.


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