Title

UND Aerobatic Team soars ahead to win yet another IAC national championship

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-13-2015

Abstract

UND Aerobatic Team soars ahead to win yet another IAC national championship

These pilots pull stomach-churning stunts in little airplanes that look fragile but are anything but.

And they win big.

This is the University of North Dakota Aerobatic Team, recently notified that it earned top spot ? again ? in the International Aerobatic Club (IAC) competition this past fall. It was UND’s seventh national championship designation by the IAC, the world’s largest aerobatic association.

The winning team comprises the following students, in alphabetic order:

  • Wolfgang Brink, Dumont, Minn., a senior in aviation management
  • Rosemary Coe, Friendswood, Texas, a sophomore in history
  • Amelia Gagnon, Mt. Prospect, Ill., a senior in electrical engineering
  • Cameron Jaxheimer, Kingston, Wash., a senior in commercial aviation
  • Patrick Mills, Houston, a sophomore in commercial aviation
  • Alexander Sachs, Oregon, Wis., graduated last year with a bachelor’s in commercial aviation
  • Jennifer Slack, Huntsville, Ala., a junior in flight education
  • William Sullivan, Jackson Hole, Wyo., a senior in commercial aviation
  • Alexander Volberding, Crystal, Minn., a sophomore in commercial aviation.

They were led by head coach Michael Lents, coaches Greg Gilmer and Jonathan Sepulveda, and faculty advisor Joe Vacek.

The 2014 competition season opened with the Midwest Aerobatic Championship in Seward, Neb. In sportsman category, coach Sepulveda ? who also flies UND’s Citation II research jet ? took third place, with students Gagnon, Sullivan, Volberding and Slack taking fifth, sixth, eighth and 10th place, respectively. Coaches Lents and Gilmer placed third and fifth, respectively, in the intermediate category.

Gagnon earned the coveted Highest First-time Sportsman Competitor Award at the contest.

The team next attended the Doug Yost Challenge in Spencer, Iowa. Mills placed first at that event.

Jaxheimer competed in the IAC Open West Championship in California. He took first place and the championship title in the intermediate category, narrowly besting the next closest competitor by less than .01 of a percentage point.

UND's season finished at the IAC U.S. Nationals in Dennison, Texas. Coe took second overall in the primary category; she won Flight Medals for earning third, third and second place during her three flights. Mills followed in third overall and earned a third place Flight Medal for his final sequence.

Brink and Volberding finished fifth and sixth. Sachs, Gagnon, Sullivan and Slack placed 11th, 12th, 13th and 15th, respectively, in the very competitive sportsman field.

Lents, Jaxmeier and Gilmer placed sixth, seventh and 10th, respectively, in the intermediate category. Gilmer also earned a first-place Flight Medal for his extraordinary performance in the "Known Sequence."

“It was a great season!” Lents said.

Juan Miguel Pedraza University & Public Affairs writer

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