KSU Precision Flight Team Places 3rd at NIFA SAFECON

The Kent State Precision Flight Team won third place overall at the National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) regional Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference (SAFECON)

October 18 - 22 at Kent State University

Seventeen members of Kent State University’s (KSU) Precision Flight Team competed in the National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) regional Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference (SAFECON). The KSU Precision Flight Team competes in Region III of NIFA, which hosts a regional SAFECON in the fall. 

Seventy-nine teams from 10 regions compete in nine flying and ground events. The winners from the top three schools in each Regional SAFECON receive an invitation to the National SAFECON where over three hundred and fifty students qualify for the National SAFECON Competition.

"I am incredibly proud of how our team performed at this year’s regionals. Considering that we haven’t had an in-person competition in over two years, most of our members had never even competed in a NIFA event before” said John Arata, Kent State University Precision Flight Team Captain. “At times, it seemed like we had a lot working against us going into this competition, but the fact that we were able to place second in flying events and third overall, not to mention first in the power-off landings and ground trainer events, is truly a testament to the hard work, dedication, and talent of our team."

The creation of NIFA is attributed to the development and advancement in aviation education and to promote and foster safety in aviation. In 2017, Kent State placed second overall in the Safety category, third in 2019, and now third in 2021.

We would like to thank ALSIM for their support in ensuring the flight simulators were ready for the Ground Trainer events. Their support was instrumental. 

The 2022 National SAFECON competition is scheduled for May 9 - 14, 2022 in Columbus, Ohio (KOSU). 



  • Computer Accuracy (E6B/CR3)

    • Ground based test using functions and formulas of the E6B Manual Flight Computer.

  • Simulated Comprehensive Aeronautical Navigation (SCAN)

    • Ground based test encompassing a given flight situation. Questions relate to aeronautical knowledge and performance calculations for the given flight.

  • Aircraft Recognition

    • Ground based test where the competitor is given three seconds to view a picture of an aircraft and must identify the manufacturer, model, and nickname if applicable.

  • Aircraft Preflight Inspection

    • Competitor is given 15 minutes to thoroughly inspect an aircraft that has been “bugged” with anywhere from 30 to 60 discrepancies. The winner is the competitor with most accurate calls.

  • Ground Trainer/Simulator

    • Using a flight simulator or FTD, competitors fly a predetermined pattern as accurately as possible. Points are given every second for every foot, knot, and degree off of pattern requirements.


  • Power-Off and Power-On Precision Landings

    • The pilot is judged on safe pattern criteria as well as precision spot landing. For power offs, power is reduced to idle abeam the touchdown point. For short fields, power is reduced beam the touchdown point and can only be further reduced to landing. Along with pattern penalty points, the distance from the specified touchdown line determines the winner of the event.

  • Navigation

    • A two-person crew is given a route to fly. The pilot will plan the route as accurately as possible to the exact second and tenth of a gallon of fuel burn. The crew will then fly the route as close as possible to the planning of the pilot. Along the flight, there may also be visual checkpoints that the crew must identify.

  • Message Drop

    • A pilot and bombardier fly at 200’ above the ground at cruise power over two specified targets. The bombardier launches message containers as closely as possible to the target.

2021 Kent State University Precision Flight Team Members: 

  • John Arata (Captain) 
  • Michael Blaser
  • Joey Conrad (Captain) 
  • Kane Claflin
  • Holly Csaszar
  • Mario Gioiello
  • Grant Hagler
  • Cole Hebbard 
  • Chloe Howdershelt
  • Nick Krentz
  • Robert Larsen
  • Sam Legarth 
  • Victoria Lorenzon
  • George Ludwiczak
  • Joe Mascolo       
  • Andrew McKinley
  • Brandon White

Team Awards:

  • SAFECON Championship (Overall Team Champions) – Third Place
  • Flight Events Championship - Second Place 
  • Ground Events Championship – Third Place
  • Judges Trophy - Third Place 

Individual Awards:

  • Joseph Conrad – Ground Trainer– First Place
  • Victoria Lorenzon – Ground Trainer– Third Place
  • Mario Gioiello – Power-Off Landing – First Place
  • Holly Csaszar - Power-Off Landing - Third Place 
  • Joseph Conrad - Short Field Landing - Third Place 
  • John Arata -- Simulated Comprehensive Aircraft Navigation - Third Place 
  • Joseph Conrad - Top Pilot - Third Place 

Please visit www.NIFA.aero for the full list of winners.


POSTED: Saturday, October 30, 2021 - 12:00am
UPDATED: Monday, January 17, 2022 - 12:33pm