Embry-Riddle Flight Teams Repeat success in National Competition

Daytona Beach, Fla., May 19, 2008 – Once again, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University dominated the National Intercollegiate Flying Association’s (NIFA) Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference (SAFECON) held May 4-10 at Middle Tennessee State University in Smyrna, Tenn. The Golden Eagles flight team from Embry-Riddle’s Prescott, Ariz. campus captured first place and the Eagles flight team from the Daytona Beach, Fla. campus placed third in the national competition. It was the first back-to-back national championship for the Golden Eagles, which took the top spot last year at NIFA SAFECON, as well as in 1993, 1997, 1999, 2003, and 2005. The Eagles of Daytona Beach took first in 1992. In this year’s competition, which involved more than 400 pilots from 31 aviation programs around the nation, the Golden Eagles earned a total of 465 points. Following them in the rankings were the University of North Dakota, with 349 points, and Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach team, with 332 points.

The Golden Eagles also captured the Judges Trophy, as well as first place in flying events and ground events. The Eagles flight team won the Wally Funk Competition Safety Award and came in second, third, and fourth place respectively in the flying events, Judges Trophy, and ground events.

Several individuals on both teams placed particularly well. From the Daytona Beach campus, Derek Herchko and Alex Kim took first in navigation, a crew event, and Dan Demmery was first in the ground trainer event. On the Prescott team, Peter Grey was first in the simulated comprehensive aircraft navigation event.

“Our performance was a result of endless hours of work and practice by every team member. It truly is a team effort that wins national championships,” said Jared Testa, head coach of the Golden Eagles. He added: “Thirteen of our 18 national contestants will return next year to work toward a ‘three-peat.’ ”

“Three years after Daytona Beach placed a renewed emphasis on its flight team, our second year in the top three confirms we have re-arrived as a contender,” said Les Westbrooks, who coached the Eagles with David Zwegers. “The results of this competition confirm that Embry-Riddle is the premier flight-training venue in the world.”

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, offers more than 30 degree programs in its colleges of Arts and Sciences, Aviation, Business, and Engineering. The university educates more than 34,000 students annually in undergraduate and graduate programs at residential campuses in Prescott, Ariz., and Daytona Beach, Fla., through its Worldwide Campus at more than 130 centers in the United States and Europe, and through online learning.


Source: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
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