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Embry-Riddle’s Prescott Golden Eagles Flight Team Wins Ninth National Championship at NIFA SAFECON

Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach Eagles Flight Team Secures Fourth Place

May 16, 2013

NIFA SAFECON National Championship

Prescott Golden Eagles Flight Team

For the ninth time and the second year in a row, the Golden Eagles flight team from Embry-Riddle’s Prescott, Ariz., campus has won the Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference (SAFECON) national competition sponsored by the National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA).

Held May 6-11 at The Ohio State University Airport, the event brought together more than 300 students on 30 collegiate aviation teams from around the United States to compete in flight and ground events.

In addition to the triumph of the Golden Eagles flight team from the Prescott Campus, the Eagles flight team from Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach, Fla., campus also had a strong finish, coming in fourth overall.

The Prescott team previously won the NIFA SAFECON national championship in 1993, 1997, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2012. The Daytona Beach team won the national championship in 1992 and placed second in 2009 and 2010.

"This young Golden Eagles team showed impressive competitive spirit and poise as they won their second consecutive national championship,” said Dr. Frank Ayers, chancellor of the university’s Prescott Campus. “Then to have both Embry-Riddle campuses earn top-four placings was icing on the cake. The young women and men who make up these teams remind us of the excellence of Embry-Riddle’s flight education programs.”

Joel Reese, an aeronautical science professor who helped coach the Daytona Beach Eagles, said, “The Eagles flight team congratulates the Golden Eagles on another impressive national win. Our Eagles fought hard, moving up in the ranks and will continue to advance. The members of both teams truly represent what is great about these programs and this university.”

The Prescott team was composed of team captain Andrew Nelson and competitors Julie Bales, Carl Black, Mitchell Boehle, Victor Griffin, Jace Henwood, Alex Johnson, Ian McLellan, Klyte Mills, Samuel Morris, Allison Read, Zachary Sargent, Caleb Seek, Kyle Thannisch, Cheng-Yu Tien and Cameron Wall. The team’s advisor was Dr. Jack Panosian and its coaches were Chris Dolly, Farrell Harris and Alex Tamsing.

Besides the national championship, the Prescott team also won the Judges Trophy. In other highlights, Carl Black won the National Top Pilot Award and was third in the categories of top-scoring contestant and top-scoring male contestant. Andrew Nelson won the Regional Top Pilot Award and finished in fourth place for the National Top Pilot Award. Julie Bales was fifth in the category of top-scoring female contestant.

A ceremony including the Mayor of Prescott was held this week at the Prescott Campus flight line to honor the team.  

The Daytona Beach team was composed of team captain James Blackham and competitors Travis Bellows, Luke Buckett, Yongwoo Choipark, Abhishek David, Benjamin Eve, Vivek Jadav, Ryan Leeward, Nicole Leong, Jamsheed Lovelace, Kevin Porter, Oleg Sendzyuk, Adrienne Smith, Peter Weber and Daniel Weiland. The team’s coaches were Joel Reese, Benjamin Ingraham and Phil Rademacher.

In noteworthy results for the Daytona Beach team, Benjamin Eve won the Regional Top Pilot Award, Jamsheed Lovelace took second place for the Men’s Achievement Award, and Adrienne Smith was third for the Women’s Achievement Award and fourth in the category of top-scoring female contestant.

The top-performing Embry-Riddle competitors are listed below. The complete list of the NIFA SAFECON national competition results can be found at


National Champion: First

Judges Trophy: First

Flight Events: Second

Ground Events: Second

National Top Pilot Award: Carl Black (1), Andrew Nelson (4)

Regional Top Pilot Award: Andrew Nelson (1)

Top-Scoring Contestant: Carl Black (3)

Top-Scoring Male Contestant: Carl Black (3)

Top-Scoring Female Contestant: Julie Bales (5)

Outstanding Team Member Award: Victor Griffin

Power Off Landing: Zachary Sargent (1), Carl Black (2)

Navigation: Andrew Nelson/Zachary Sargent (1)

Aircraft Recognition: Klyte Mills (3)

Computer Accuracy: Jace Henwood (3)

Simulated Comprehensive Aircraft Navigation: Julie Bales (4)

Daytona Beach

National Champion: Fourth

Judges Trophy: Fifth

Flight Events: Eighth

Ground Events: Third

Regional Top Pilot Award: Benjamin Eve (1)

Men’s Achievement Award: Jamsheed Lovelace (2)

Women’s Achievement Award: Adrienne Smith (3)

Top-Scoring Female Contestant: Adrienne Smith (4)

Outstanding Team Member Award: James Blackham

Aircraft Recognition: James Blackham (1), Kevin Porter (5)

Message Drop: Kevin Porter/Ryan Leeward (1)

IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) Simulated Flight: Adrienne Smith (2)

Navigation: Benjamin Eve/Luke Buckett (3)

Computer Accuracy: Luke Buckett (4)

Simulated Comprehensive Aircraft Navigation: Luke Buckett (5)

About the National Intercollegiate Flying Association

NIFA develops and advances aviation education; promotes safety in aviation; promotes communications and cooperation between aviation students, educators, educational institutions and the aviation industry; and provides an arena for collegiate aviation competition. For more information, visit

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