The Liberty University School of Aeronautics flight competition team is the winner of the National Intercollegiate Flight Association (NIFA) Region 10 Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference (SAFECON) air meet for the eighth consecutive year.
The competition, hosted by Elizabeth City State University, was held Oct. 10-13 on the ECSU campus and at Elizabeth City Regional Airport.
Liberty Flight Instructor Nathan Edwards (’10) earned the Top Pilot award; Melanie Evans (’11), also a flight instructor, was named the Top Scoring Female Contestant.
Liberty’s team placed first overall, first in the overall flying category, first in the overall ground category, and first in five of the nine events: Edwards for aircraft preflight inspection, Evans in simulated comprehensive aircraft navigation (SCAN), seniors Matt Sylvester and Corbin Brown in navigation, junior Patrick Spencer for computer accuracy, and junior Zach Floto for ground trainer.
“At the competition, it became readily apparent the blessings that we have as an aeronautics program,” said Col. John Marselus, academic advisor for the flight team and associate dean for flight operations at the School of Aeronautics. “We are very thankful to the university and the administration for the support they give to our NIFA team.”
Liberty competed with two Cessna 172 SkyHawk airplanes, one of which was recently purchased by the university and carries the tail number 701LU. Liberty also earned the Red Baron Award for outstanding team sportsmanship as voted by the schools in attendance.
“That is one of the intangibles, that the character of our students shines through,” Marselus said. “To see our character and integrity recognized with the Red Baron award is a supreme honor, and represents our university, as well as our Lord and Savior, very well.”
Liberty will go on to compete at nationals, to be held at the Ohio State University Airport in Columbus, Ohio, May 6-11.