Provo Airport was buzzing with activity as Utah Valley University's aviation science department hosts the week-long National Intercollegiate Flying Association's regional competition for the first time. Pilots from seven schools in region 1 traveled to Provo to enter competitions that test aviation skills in everything from precise landings to identifying mechanical problems on planes.
Both facilitators and students believed the competition was a worthwhile event for students aspiring to become professional pilots.
"From an educational aspect, they're here to better themselves as a pilot," chief judge Jared Testa said. "It's undoubtedly a positive influence on their flying."
Russell Hopkinson, director of safety with UVU aviation sciences, agreed.
"Competition motivates people to excel and strive to be the best," Hopkinson said. "It gives them a chance to showcase their school in a positive light."
The stormy weather presented difficulties for the event as pilots waited for the weather to clear before taking to the air. Students kept busy by studying for upcoming events or flying toy planes in the hangar.
"It's a real-life scenario," said Donovan Sorenson, captain of the UVU flight team. "You can't always fly when you want to fly."
The event runs through Saturday, and the top three winners will travel to Columbus, Ohio, to compete in the national competition.