UND Flying Team in national competition: second by inches

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News Article

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Campus Unit

John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences


The University of North Dakota (UND) Flying Team took second with a score of 355, only four points behind the winner, out of 28 schools at the National Intercollegiate Flying Association's (NIFA's) Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference (SAFECON) recently. This SAFECON was hosted by The Ohio State University in Columbus Ohio. It was the tightest first-to-second place score spread in the competition's history.

"The team was strong and one of the most cohesive in years," said Lewis Liang, assistant professor of aviation and the team's faculty advisor. "They held nothing back and gave a good fight to the end never giving up. I couldn't be any prouder of this team and the accomplishments they had."

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University was the overall winner this year.

Major achievements at this year's SAFECON competition for the UND Flying Team: first place in ground events, third place in the flight events and second place in Judges Trophy (a strong indication of team strength and depth).

UND's Scott Meyer personally placed first in the nation in the Computer Accuracy and IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) Simulated Flight events. UND's Jacob Lange placed first in the nation in the Simulated Comprehensive Aircraft Navigation event. Meyer and Lange together placed first in the Crew rescues management event and also tied for first in the Navigation Flight event.

The UND Flying Team consists of volunteer aviation students. The team participates in two competitions annually: a regional qualifying competition and the national competition to determine the national championship.

The UND Flying Team members who competed this year were, in alphabetical order:

  • Glenn Dodd, Eden Prairie, Minn., senior, airport management
  • Jack Foley, Libertyville, Ill., junior, air traffic control
  • Paul Hering, Grafton, Wis., senior, commercial aviation
  • Jacob Lange, Archbold, Ohio, senior, commercial aviation and aviation management
  • Brian Lee, Bronx, N.Y., senior, commercial aviation
  • Scott Meyer, Lyons, Ohio, senior, commercial aviation
  • Christian Mohan, West Fargo, junior, commercial aviation
  • Lauren Peterson (captain), Duluth, Minn., senior, commercial aviation
  • Jacob Smith, Henning, Minn., senior, commercial aviation
  • Paul Valenstein, Sheboygan Falls, Wis., senior, commercial aviation
  • Tyler VanHeel (captain), Elk River, Minn., graduated Spring 2012 with a major in commercial aviation; currently a UND flight instructor

The UND Flying Team is a member of the National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIAF), the sanctioning body for the regional and national SAFECON competitions. SAFECON places a special emphasis on safety of flight operations. UND's Flying Team has won 16 National titles and placed 2nd 10 of the last 30 national competition years.

About UND Aerospace:

UND Aerospace, which includes the Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences at the University of North Dakota and the UND Aerospace Foundation (UNDAF), is an international leader in collegiate and contract aviation education and training services flying over 115,000 hours per year in over 120 aircraft.

With more than 1,500 students from throughout the world, the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences is the second largest college at the University of North Dakota. Undergraduate and graduate programs leading to a variety of rewarding careers in aerospace are offered through five different academic departments: aviation, atmospheric sciences, computer science, earth system science and policy, and space studies. The UND Aerospace training complex is the most technologically advanced environment for aerospace education, training and research in the world.--- Juan Pedraza, University and Public Affairs writer