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November 08, 2005
UD Flight Team Scores Second Place in Regional Competition


The University of Dubuque 2005 Competitive Flight Team placed second in the National Intercollegiate Flying Association's Region V Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference (NIFA SAFECON) held recently at the University of Dubuque.

Four teams competed: University of Dubuque, University of North Dakota, St. Cloud State University, and Minnesota State University at Mankato. Overall the University of North Dakota scored first, with UD, St. Cloud State, and Mankato taking second, third, and fourth respectively. Competitive team members for the University of Dubuque include flight team President Nolan Schneider (Fennimore, WI), Vice President Aaron Soenksen (DeWitt, IA), Secretary Suzanne Uhlenkamp (Edgewood, IA), Treasurer Josh Ganshert (Monroe, WI), and members Joe Bendon (Indianola, IA), Laura Gerlach (Vadnais Heights, MN), Brett Holt (Cuba City, WI), Mathieu Labs (Batavia, IL), Patric Leuschke (Rock Falls, IL), Adam McCullough (Palo, IA), Bobby Norlin (Indianola, IA), Sumner Rabin (Aurora, IL), Tad Schoeny (Shannon, IL), Lauren Smalkoski (Racine, WI), Kory Sutter (Hollandale, WI), and Nick Swenson (Waukon, IA). The UD Flight Team is coached by Neil Weston and advised by Mike Glynn and Eric Savage. The top two teams compete at the National SAFECON held at Ohio State University May 8-13, 2006.

"All the practicing, dedication and determination of our team really paid off this year," stated Neil Weston, Flight Team Coach. "We have many things to do to prepare for Nationals in May, but I know everyone will continue their hard work. Our region is very competitive and I'm excited for both the UD Flight Team and the University as a whole to start another streak [in the mid 80s to 90s, UD qualified 9 out of 10 times for the National SAFECON] of qualifying for the National SAFECON."

Top ten finishes by the UD Flight Team included:

Ground Events

Computer Accuracy Event - a written examination comprised of approximately forty-five multiple choice questions based on problem solving using one or more types of manual flight computers.

6th place: Suzanne Uhlenkamp; 7th place: Kory Sutter; 10th place: Nolan Schnieder


Simulated Comprehensive Aircraft Navigation Event (SCAN) - a written exam with problems referencing a simulated cross-country flight over a given route. Included in the flight planning are questions on weight and balance, aircraft performance, FARs, aeronautical chart and weather interpretation, and fuel management.

7th place: Brett Holt; 8th place: Kory Sutter


Aircraft Recognition Event - requires contestants to correctly identify aircraft from all over the world from both past a present. Slides of aircraft are shown for three seconds. Contestants need to identify the manufacturer, common name and model number of the aircraft.

8th place: Brett Holt


Preflight Inspection Event - a practical inspection of a common training aircraft which has been "bugged" with multiple problems which would make the aircraft unsafe for flight. Contestants are given 15 minutes in which to inspect the aircraft and identify the problems.

3rd place: Nolan Schnieder; 7th place: Patric Leuschke


Ground Trainer Event - designed to test the competency and skill of the contestants in using a flight training device. Flying a predetermined pattern, the computer most show a proficiency in altitude, heading and airspeed control.

4th place: Nolan Schnieder; 7th place: Patric Leuschke


Flying Events

Message Drop Event- requires contestants to hit a target on the ground with a message container, dropped from an aircraft. A team effort by both the pilot and the drop-master is necessary to maneuver the airplane so the container will hit the target.

6th place: Adam McCullough (drop-master) & Brett Holt (pilot)


Navigation Event - consists of a cross-country flight over a three to five leg course between 70-120 nautical miles in length. Each contestant submits a flight plan before takeoff. The contestants are then evaluated by comparing the actual flight data with their estimated planned data. The contestant with the lowest penalty points wins.

4th place: Patric Leuschke and Kory Sutter; 5th place: Laura Gerlach and Suzanne Uhlenkamp; 7th place: Nolan Schnieder and Tad Schoeny


Short Field Landing Event - tests the pilots skill at maneuvering and manipulating the aircraft. After taking off and flying a normal traffic pattern, the pilot tries to land as close to, if not on, the target line. The contestants are evaluated on pattern technique and how close they land from the target line.

7th place: Nolan Schnieder; 9th place: Tad Schoeny


Power-off Landing Event
Similar to the Short-Field Landing event, only the aircraft engine must be reduced to, and remain at, idle on the downwind leg abeam of the target line.

3rd place: Nolan Schnieder; 8th place: Tad Schoeny; 9th place: Joe Bendon


Top Pilot Rankings - given to the contestant earning the largest total number of pints in the following events: Power off landings, Short field landings, Navigation event, Ground trainer event, preflight event and the SCAN test. To be eligible for the top pilot award, a contestant must place fifth or higher in one of the first three events listed.

4th place: Nolan Schnieder; 6th place: Patric Leuschke; 10th place: Suzanne Uhlenkamp

"I am very proud of the Team's performance," stated Steve Accinelli, aviation department chair and director of the flight center. "Qualifying in a region against much larger schools is a significant accomplishment and speaks volumes about our aviation students. The work has just started, Nationals is a much higher level of competition. However, our students are up to the challenge."

The National Intercollegiate Flying Association was formed for the purposes of developing and advancing aviation education; to promote, encourage and foster safety in aviation; to promote and foster communications and cooperation between aviation students, educators, educational institutions and the aviation industry; and to provide an arena for collegiate aviation competition. The regional and national SAFECONs are NIFA's most important events held each year.Region V includes Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan's Upper Peninsula.