K-State Salina Flight Team takes aim at national competition

Published: May. 4, 2022 at 10:39 AM CDT
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SALINA, Kan. (WIBW) - Eleven members of the K-State Salina Flight Team will represent the university in person at the upcoming national competition for the first time in two years.

Kansas State University says students members of its Salina Aerospace and Technology Campus Flight Team will prepare to compete in a national collegiate aviation competition.

After the team finished among the top three schools at the Region VI competition in October 2021, K-State said the team qualified for the National Intercollegiate Flying Association Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference. The 2022 competition will be held between May 9 and 14 in Columbus, Ohio, and hosted by Ohio State University.

The University said 27 schools from nine different regions will compete.

“This experience is multifaceted for our pilot students,” said Sebastien Joubert, K-State Salina interim chief flight instructor and the flight team’s advisor. “They get to compete in their chosen profession and hone in on the skills that will make them successful in their careers. The other cool aspect of this competition is the comradery between the competing schools, where they get to interact and network with fellow pilot students, faculty and alumni from across the country. It’s nice for K-State Salina students to explore beyond the bubble of their home campus.”

K-State said NIFA SAFECON 2022 will include flight and ground events that allow competitors to showcase various strengths in navigating aircraft. It said the flight events will include competitions for accuracy in landings and navigation, while ground events entail flight planning, aircraft recognition, flight computer skills and more.

The University said its Salina campus has been successful at regional and national flying competitions. It said the flight team has qualified for nationals seven times in the last decade and won the event’s Safety Award at the 2021 Region VI competition. In 2014, the university was awarded the prestigious Lening Trophy for its outstanding all-around collegiate program.

K-State said this will be the first in-person national competition since 2019 and team members are eager to put their skills to the test - as well as provide younger pilots on the team with experience in flight competition.

“We are able to go perform at and experience a national competition because of the hard work of everyone on this team,” said Miles Denning, junior in professional pilot and team captain, Salina. “We really wanted to perform well in the regional competition last fall, so we decided as a team to commit two nights a week in preparation for the event. The effort of the team paid off with us winning the event’s Safety Award and earning a spot in the national competition.”

K-State said 11 team members - all majoring as professional pilots - will compete for K-State Salina at nationals:

  • Daniel Kerns, senior - Olathe
  • Adam Wrecke, sophomore - Olathe
  • Josh Murdock, sophomore - Overland Park
  • Miles Denning, junior - Salina
  • Johnnes Seberger, senior - Shawnee
  • Derek McGuire, junior - Bentonville, Ark.
  • Braeden Post, senior - Newport Beach, Cali.
  • Josh Gabriel, senior, Kansas City, Mo.
  • Zach Wood, freshman - Lee’s Summit, Mo.
  • Aidan Rickelman, sophomore - Southlake, Texas
  • Toshiki Nango, sophomore - Kyoto, Japan

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