By Brandon Fontaine, Aviation Management with Flight ‘14
As a flight student, I am always looking for ways to improve my skills, meet more pilots and of course, fly more often. I was first introduced to the Falcon’s Flight Team when I interviewed at Florida Tech for a scholarship prior to entrance my freshman year. However, I never joined the team until the spring semester of my sophomore year. The way the competition schedule works, the team competes at a regional level in the fall, and if the team qualifies, it moves on to the national competition in the spring. The spring I joined, the team qualified for nationals. Once I was on the team in 2012 and paid the dues, I began to practice and became one of the named pilots for the national team. The three events I eventually was selected were the power on/off landings, aircraft recognition and the navigation planning event. Therefore, with so many events to complete in and being the new guy on the team, the pressure was on to make my team proud. Unfortunately, the weather cancelled my power-landing event, nerves overcame me for the NAV event that led to disqualification and, in the aircraft recognition event, I didn’t place well at all. On the bright side, for the power off landing I placed 7th in the nation! Aside from the competition, I learned more about aviation in a week than I did in a year. Being surrounded by people who love aviation is the best way to learn.
Currently, it’s now spring of my junior year and the team has qualified for nationals once again. The hard work in regionals (held in November) paid off. I competed in the NAV event once again and placed 20th. In the other events, like power on landings, power off landings and the ground trainer event, I placed 12th, 8th and 15th respectively. Now the pressure and excitement are building for next month when nationals are held. This event brings together 80 schools, nearly 1,000 pilots and there can only be one national champion. So, wish us luck!