A Day in the Life of a Golden Eagle!

Ever since its formation in 1979, The Golden Eagles Flight Team (GEFT, for short) has strived for academic excellence and competitive superiority. As an active member and Public Relations officer, I am truly honored to be a part of a legendary team that has won 9 national championships and 29 consecutive regional championships!

A Brief Background:
GEFT is a competitive intercollegiate flying team that competes with several other collegiate flying teams across America. The competitions are hosted by the National Intercollegiate Flying Association, or NIFA (check out nifa.aero for more info). We practice and compete in several events, both ground events and flying events. Core grounds events include SCAN (Simulated Comprehensive Aircraft Navigation), CA (Computer Accuracy), and ACID (Aircraft Identification). SCAN consists of a timed, 50 minute tests that involves completing a full flight plan (typically at least 3 legs) and answering regulation questions from memory. CA also consists of a timed 50 minute tests that involves the use of an E6-B or a CR-6 manual flight computer used to answer primarily mathematical questions. Finally, ACID consists of identifying 60 random aircraft, with only 3 seconds to look at each aircraft (ACID participants need to be able to identify thousands of aircraft in total!). Other ground events include Crew Resource Management (CRM), Ground Trainer, IFR, and Preflight. Our flying events include precision power-on and power-off landings which are flown in our two 1965 Cessna 150s (Eagle One and Eagle Two), a navigation event flown in ERAU’s Cessna 172’s, and message drop (yes, we drop things out of airplane windows!). Personally, I participate in SCAN, ground trainer, preflight, power-on landings, and navigation.

Each week, we hold practices on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. However, the most important practice we get each week is on Saturdays, when we hold a day-long practice at the flight line in order to practice both flying and ground events. I’ve documented one of our typical Saturday practice so you can get a glimpse into what it takes to be a national champion. Without further ado, here’s a day in the life of a Golden Eagle!

0700: The day begins with a briefing lead by our captain, Victor Griffin. He goes over our schedule for the day, and our Co-Captain Sam Morris also goes over a few things before we get started.









0800: First off on the agenda is the navigation event! My partner and I were the first team to fly the nav for the day.

0800As the planner, I get to plan our route before heading out to the plane.





0800 fuel checkChecking the fuel before we get going!







Nav partner

My nav partner Connor McNicholas is ready to go






above West PrescottOut and about to the West of Prescott






BackAnd we’re back!






Waiting for fuel truckWaiting around for the fuel truck. And then refueling after our nav












1100: Time to practice some power-on landings! I head out to the line to wait for my slot and judge other teammates’ landings.
LandingsRJ Williams judges landings next to 21R. Hit that zero line!






Selfie with team!Selfie next to the line with my teammates!






My turn to landNow it’s my turn to land! While taking off in Eagle Two, I accidentally photobombed Ryan O’Connor’s selfie!







Last landingsThe last couple flyers wrap up landings for the day.






1300: Time for lunch!








1400: Now it’s time to take the SCAN test!

SCAN test







1530: As practice comes to an end, Victor Griffin and Sam Morris debrief us on our performance throughout the day.







But wait, there’s more!

1600: After debrief, I have one more event to practice: ground trainer. A few teammates and I head over to the sim building to get some practice. Flying this week’s sim pattern in the ground trainer










And that’s a wrap! I hope this offered a good glimpse into a typical Saturday practice, and what it takes to be a national champion. For more information on the Golden Eagles Flight Team, check out www.flygoldeneagles.com, and be sure to like our Facebook page for updates on this Spring’s national competition in Ohio. Go GEFT!