Trying out for the The Ohio State University Flight Team was a whirlwind, but it was such a blast! It was fun to be back in a college environment and on a beautiful campus. Students in the OSU aviation program really get the best of both worlds – they get to have that large Division I college experience while still being a part of a small program with a tight knit community of fellow aviation-lovers hanging out at the airport. The flight team exemplifies this the most. One look at their crazy practice schedule as the team gears up for competing at the national SAFECON competition this May proves that. The team practices on campus one day a week and out at the airport twice a week. Many of the team members also show up at the airport at sunrise to get some precision landings practice in, on their own, before class. As part of the flight team, you definitely take your piloting skills to a whole new level and caliber.
Learning about nine of the events was an eye opener! I was a bit embarrassed about my lack of knowledge with the manual E6B computer. Sure, I learned it in ground school twelve years ago, but what I learned then didn’t even hit the surface of what the competitors in the Computer Accuracy event know and get tested on. I did have fun learning about the Ground Trainer event and flying the sim patterns (even though I would still need extra practice to even think about entering the ground training competition). Participating in this event must develop some really great instrument students, because you are challenged to scan your instruments skillfully to fly as precise as possible, keeping an exact altitude, heading, airspeed, and time. Each foot, degree, knot, or second you’re off from the assigned pattern gets a point added to your score and in this event, you want the lowest score possible. I was able to pick up some good tips during the short field landing and power off landing events. Coach John gave some good pointers on where to look when landing and remembering to use your peripheral view to get that perfect soft touchdown.
Sure, Leonardo DiCaprio made the pilot life look so glamorous in Catch Me if You Can, but my awesome few days with the OSU Flight Team proves that it takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and practice… but that yes, there’s no denying… it is a lot of fun! And come on, there’s no better pick up line in college than, “I’m a pilot”. ;)
Fly OSU! Go Bucks!