October 28, 2009

K-State at Salina Flight Team headed to national competition

SALINA -- Kansas State University at Salina's Flight Team is headed to the National Intercollegiate Flying Association's Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference -- or SAFECON -- competition after placing third overall at the Region VI competition in Norman, Okla., Oct. 18-24.

Along with the third-place finish, the K-State at Salina team also won the Safety Award and one team member was named both the top scoring female contestant and top female pilot.

The K-State at Salina team competed against teams from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, University of Central Missouri, Parks College of St. Louis University, Spartan College of Aeronautics, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma.

SAFECON 2010, the national competition, will be May 17-22, 2010, at Indiana State University.

SAFECON competitions feature five ground events and four flight events to test the teams' abilities in all aspects of flight. The results of each event contribute to the teams' overall scores. The ground events are computer accuracy, simulated comprehensive aircraft navigation, aircraft recognition, preflight inspection and ground trainer. Flight events are message drop, which was not held at the regional competition due to weather; navigation; short-field landing; and power-off landing.

K-State at Salina team members and individual honors and placings, if earned, include:

  • Kate Fraser, senior in professional pilot, McPherson, and team captain, was the top scoring female contestant and was named the top female pilot. She also was fifth in simulated comprehensive aircraft navigation.
  • Austin Fick, junior in professional pilot, Topeka, was fourth in simulated comprehensive aircraft navigation and in short-field landing, seventh in aircraft preflight inspection and 11th for the top pilot award.
  • Danny Sheehy, senior in professional pilot, Topeka, was second in power-off landing, fourth in the top pilot award, fifth in ground trainer, sixth in top scoring male and 10th in short-field landing.
  • Christopher Carr, senior in professional pilot, Wichita, was third in the top pilot award, fourth top scoring male contestant, fourth in power-off landing and sixth in aircraft preflight inspection.
  • Zach Powell, junior in professional pilot, Colorado Springs, Colo., placed sixth in power-off landing.
  • Gabriel Lenz, junior in professional pilot, North Liberty, Iowa, team member.
  • Mitchell Wagner, senior in professional pilot, Keller, Texas, team coach.
  • Ryan Enebo, freshman in professional pilot, Sanger, Texas, team member.

"The team was very consistent this year," said Tom Karcz, assistant professor of aviation at K-State at Salina and the team's adviser. "Several top 10 finishes gave us the points we needed to qualify for nationals. Their hard work, practice and effort paid off."

"This flight team has really buckled down and stepped up to the task; they had great leadership under their faculty adviser Tom Karcz and they made us all proud," said Kurt Barnhart, head of the department of aviation at K-State at Salina.

"The team had lots of support both on and off campus," Barnhart said. "Everyone came together to help: our donors, the flight maintenance team, the aviation maintenance training program, the fiscal affairs office, K-State at Salina Dean Dennis Kuhlman and many more. We couldn't have done it without their support."