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SAFECON Docuseries Episode Three: The Ground Competition

A behind-the-scenes look at SAFECON 2023: The thrills and challenges of ground competition.

FLYING releases the third episode of its six-part series documenting one of the most intense annual competitions in collegiate aviation. [Screenshot]

The National Intercollegiate Flying Association’s (NIFA) Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference (SAFECON) is the Super Bowl of collegiate aviation. This year, 28 of the best teams, having won their regional competitions, made their way to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, ready to display their skills both in the air and on the ground.

Here at FLYING, we’re excited to share “Episode 3: The Ground Competition,” the next installment of our six-part SAFECON 2023 series. This episode pulls back the curtain on the ground portion of the competition, showing you the intense prep and brain-teasing challenges the teams tackle.

We’ll take you into the heart-pounding rush of the Aircraft Recognition Event, where competitors have a mere 15 seconds to identify an aircraft’s manufacturer, model number, and common name from a 3-second slide.

You’ll get to witness the mental gymnastics in the Computer Accuracy challenge, as contestants race against time, crunching complex flight planning calculations on a manual E6B flight computer.


And, we’ll show you the meticulous detective work involved in the Preflight Inspection Event, where participants comb over an aircraft seeded with 30 unairworthy discrepancies, racing to find as many as they can in 15 minutes.

We’re releasing a new episode of our behind-the-scenes dive into SAFECON 2023 every week until the end of July. Tune in, and get a firsthand look at what it takes to be a NIFA SAFECON champion. See you next episode!

Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on


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