Embry-Riddle Golden Eagles Flight Team Wins 11th National Championship at NIFA SAFECON

University’s Arizona Campus’ Golden Eagles Sweep Annual Collegiate Aviation Competition With Multiple 1st Place Finishes As Daytona Beach Campus Team Secures 6th 

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Prescott, Ariz., Campus’ Golden Eagles Flight Team captured its 11th national championship title and the Daytona Beach, Fla., Campus’ Eagles Flight Team placed sixth against 27 of the nation’s top colleges with aviation programs this past week at the 2017 National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference (SAFECON) competition in Ohio.

The annual competition, held May 9-14 this year at Ohio State University, brings together collegiate aviation teams from around the United States to compete in flight and ground events such as navigation, computer accuracy, preflight inspection and more. Four out of the Top 10 Scorers in the individual category were students from Embry-Riddle’s teams representing its two residential campuses – more than any other students from competing universities which included the United States Air Force Academy, the University of North Dakota, Purdue University, Florida Institute of Technology, Ohio State University, Western Michigan University and others.

Prescott’s Golden Eagles finished with 500 points, the highest in the team’s history. They also won all team-based honors including the coveted Judges Championship Trophy, Flight Events Championship Trophy and the Ground Events Championship Trophy.

Team captain Nick Moore dominated individual events as No. 1 in Top Scoring Contestants and Short-Field Landing categories and earned the Top Pilot Award, placing in the top 10 in seven categories. Overall, the Golden Eagles Flight Team and individual team members finished in the top 10 in 17 of the competition’s 20 categories, including the Regional Top Pilot Award for Rachel Hutzell. Other first-place winners in the individual categories include Matthew Hallock in Aircraft Recognition, Jacob Cobian in Computer Accuracy and Chin-An Lin in Power-Off Landing.

“I am very happy to have received Top Scoring Contestant and Top Pilot awards. However, I would have not been able to do so without the team members and mentors that pushed me throughout the last three years,” said Moore. “It takes a team to put up 500 points and win a championship, and this group really pulled through.”

In addition to its sixth place overall, the Eagles Flight Team of the university’s Daytona Beach Campus earned top 10 rankings in 13 team and individual categories, including the top spot in Instrument Flight Rules for Michael Benson. The team placed fifth in the Judges Championship and the Ground Events Championship, and seventh in the Flight Events Championship. Team member Tsz Him Yeung earned the Men’s Achievement Award.

Liam Dermady of Daytona Beach and Ryan O’Connor of Prescott each earned the Outstanding Team Member Award.

“Embry-Riddle congratulates its outstanding flight teams in Arizona and Florida on their continuing impressive achievements,” said P. Barry Butler, president of the University. “The success of the Golden Eagles and Eagles Flight Team reflects our institution’s commitment to excellence in aviation. These competitors have inspired us to pursue even greater heights.”

With the 2017 top title, Prescott’s Golden Eagles have now won the NIFA SAFECON national championship 11 times since 1993. The team also has an unbroken 33-year record as regional champion.

Under Coach Sam Morris and team mechanic and coach Farrell Harris, the Prescott Golden Eagles team consists of Stephen Anderson, Bat-Amgalan “Bella” Batbileg, Kamia Bradley, Shannon Burns, Jacob Cobian, Kevin Fickenscher, Daniel Fierro, Jason Fung, Matthew Hallock, Colin Ho-Tseung, Rachel Hutzell (co-captain), Colin Kennedy, Benjamin Klinkman-Sinatra, Daniel Lee, Chin-An Lin, Weichih Lin, Matthew Masangcay, Madeline Mearsch, Nick Moore (captain), Ryan O’Connor, Arinola Ojehomon, Anthony Platt, Anthony Rebel and Spencer Thomas.

“I am extremely proud of this year’s team,” said Golden Eagles Coach Sam Morris. “The 11th win for the Golden Eagles Flight Team was due, in no small part, to the highest level of dedication and perseverance from its members. The team lived up to its creed demonstrating competitive superiority and leaving a legacy of pride. This team is something extraordinary, and the combined effort of its members and student leadership is what resulted in one of the biggest margins the team has ever won by.”

For more information on the Embry-Riddle Prescott Golden Eagles, go to its official website at flygoldeneagles.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/TheGoldenEaglesFlightTeam

The Daytona Beach team, which finished sixth in last year’s competition, won the national championship in 1992 and placed second in 2009 and 2010.

The Daytona Beach Eagles team consists of coach Scott Reese, assistant coaches Winsun Lu Yang and Tomohiro Urakami, and competitors Liam Dermady (captain), Pooja Amonkar, Gabriela Arevalo Valdes, Michael Benson, Daniel Byrnes, Robert Drouin, Manuel Escobar, Hiro Funatsu, Kevin Henderson, Saiful Jihad, Christopher Krempa, Hae Bom Lee, Soonho Lee, Patrick MacKinlay, Michal Macutkiewicz, Tyler Rafferty, Raymond Rangel, Joshua Suarez, Joshua Swain, Steven Remingten Ten, Kalifa Trawally, Ho Ching “Kendrew” Wan and Tsz Him “Issac” Yeung.

“I am very proud of our Eagles Flight Team for another great performance,” said Reese. “Captain Liam Dermady led the way, taking second place in Power Off Landings, third in Aircraft Recognition, and being the third highest scoring contestant, which earned a United Airlines internship!  Michael Benson took first place in the IFR Simulator event. Winsun Lu Yang also placed third in Computer Accuracy, and Tsz Him ‘Issac’ Yeung placed third in the Men’s Achievement Award.  I am grateful to the Eagles Flight Team for a very rewarding experience!”

See more photos of the Prescott Campus team.

See more photos of the Daytona Beach Campus team.

For more information on the Embry-Riddle Daytona Beach Eagles, go to the official website at eaglesflightteam.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/eaglesflightteam

For the complete list of the NIFA SAFECON national competition results, go to https://nifa.aero/safecon-2017-results/

Embry-Riddle Team Results (Categories in which Embry-Riddle teams did not place are not listed)

National SAFECON Championship Trophy
#1 Prescott
#6 Daytona Beach 

Judges Championship Trophy
(28 university teams competing)
#1 Prescott
#5 Daytona Beach 

Flight Events Championship Trophy
(28 university teams competing)
#1 Prescott
#7 Daytona Beach

Ground Events Championship Trophy
(28 university teams competing)
#1 Prescott
#5 Daytona Beach

Embry-Riddle Individual Results (Categories in which Embry-Riddle team members did not place are not listed)

Aircraft Preflight Inspection
(53 contestants)
#13 Nick Moore (Prescott)
#16 Stephen Anderson (Prescott)
#21 Tyler Rafferty (Daytona Beach)
#47 Daniel Byrnes (Daytona Beach)

Aircraft Recognition
(129 contestants)
#1 Matthew Hallock (Prescott)
#2 Nick Moore (Prescott)
#3 Liam Dermady (Daytona Beach)
#8 Stephen Anderson (Prescott)
#10 Ben Klinkman-Sinatra (Prescott)
#11 Spencer Thomas (Prescott)
#21 Tyler Rafferty (Daytona Beach)
#26 Patrick MacKinlay (Daytona Beach)
#45 Manuel Escobar (Daytona Beach)
#49 Daniel Byrnes (Daytona Beach)

Computer Accuracy

(130 contestants)
#1 Jacob Cobian (Prescott)
#2 Kevin Fickenscher (Prescott)
#3 Winsun Lu Yang (Daytona Beach)
#4 Bat-Amgalan Batbileg (Prescott)
#8 Tsz Him Yeung (Daytona Beach)
#12 Colin Kennedy (Prescott)
#20 Ho Ching “Kendrew” Wan (Daytona Beach)
#30 Michael Benson (Daytona Beach)
#33 Joshua Suarez (Daytona Beach)
#46 Matthew Masangcay (Prescott)

(24 teams)
#6 Nick Moore/Stephen Anderson (Prescott)
#19 Liam Dermady/Winsun Lu Yang (Daytona Beach)

Ground Trainer
(54 contestants)
#2 Madeline Mearsch (Prescott)
#4 Nick Moore (Prescott)
#19 Stephen Remington Ten (Daytona Beach)
#34 Joshua Suarez (Daytona Beach)

Instrument Flight Rules
(27 contestants)
#1 Michael Benson (Daytona Beach)
#8 Rachel Hutzell (Prescott)

Men’s Achievement Award
(Top 3 ranked only)
#3 Tsz Him Yeung (Daytona Beach)

Message Drop
(127 teams competing)
#2 Matthew Hallock/Ryan O’Connor (Prescott)
#12 Tsz Him Yeung/Winsun Lu (Daytona Beach)
#13 Liam Dermady/Joshua Swain (Daytona Beach)
#19 Colin Kennedy/Matthew Hallock (Prescott)
#20 Kevin Fickenscher/Nick Moore (Prescott)
#22 Tyler Rafferty/Liam Dermady (Daytona Beach)
#37 Joshua Suarez/Michael Benson (Daytona Beach)
#39 Spencer Thomas/Jacob Cobian (Prescott)
#59 Daniel Byrnes/Tyler Rafferty (Daytona Beach)
#85 Ben Klinkman-Sinatra/Stephen Anderson (Prescott)

(77 teams competing)
#7 Ryan O’Connor/Jacob Cobian (Prescott)
#13 Bat-Amgalan Batbileg/Nick Moore (Prescott)
#24 Michael Benson/Liam Dermady (Daytona Beach)
#27 Tsz Him Yeung/Winsun Lu (Daytona Beach)
#29 Tyler Rafferty/Joshua Swain (Daytona Beach)
#35 Madeline Mearsch/Stephen Anderson (Prescott)

Outstanding Team Member Award
Liam Dermady (Daytona Beach)
Ryan O’Connor (Prescott)

Power-Off Landing
(127 contestants)
#1 Chin-An Lin (Prescott)
#2 Liam Dermady (Daytona Beach)
#7 Nick Moore (Prescott)
#8 Jacob Cobian (Prescott)
#16 Ryan O’Connor (Prescott)
#23 Matthew Hallock (Prescott)
#28 Tyler Rafferty (Daytona Beach)
#34 Joshua Suarez (Daytona Beach)
#43 Michael Benson (Daytona Beach)
#65 Winsun Lu Yang (Daytona Beach)

Regional Top Pilot Award
(10 contestants)
Rachel Hutzell (Prescott)

Short-Field Landings
(126 contestants)
#1 Nick Moore (Prescott)
#9 Chin-An Lin (Prescott)
#10 Liam Dermady (Daytona Beach)
#11 Jacob Cobian (Prescott)
#27 Matthew Hallock (Prescott)
#41 Joshua Suarez (Daytona Beach)
#45 Michael Benson (Daytona Beach)
#51 Winsun Lu (Daytona Beach)

Simulated Comprehensive Aircraft Navigation
(130 contestants)
#6 Rachel Hutzell (Prescott)
#9 Joshua Suarez (Daytona Beach)
#10 Winsun Lu Yang (Daytona Beach)
#12 Bat-Amgalan Batbileg (Prescott)
#15 Chin-An Lin (Prescott)
#19 Madeline Mearsch (Prescott)
#22 Ho Ching “Kendrew” Wan (Daytona Beach)
#30 Michael Benson (Daytona Beach)
#41 Tsz Him Yeung (Daytona Beach)
#68 Ryan O’Connor (Prescott)

Top Pilot Award
(14 contestants)
#1 Nick Moore (Prescott)
#3 Chin-An Lin (Prescott)
#5 Liam Dermady (Daytona Beach)

Top Scoring Contestants
(264 contestants)
#1 Nick Moore (Prescott)
#3 Liam Dermady (Daytona Beach)
#8 Chin-An Lin (Prescott)
#9 Jacob Cobian (Prescott)
#19 Bat-Amgalan Batbileg (Prescott)
#22 Matthew Hallock (Prescott)
#26 Ryan O’Connor (Prescott)
#35 Winsun Lu Yang (Daytona Beach)
#39 Rachel Hutzell (Prescott)
#40 Stephen Anderson (Prescott)
#44 Tsz Him Yeung (Daytona Beach)
#46 Madeline Mearsch (Prescott)
#47 Kevin Fickenscher (Prescott)
#50 Michael Benson (Daytona Beach)
#74 Joshua Suarez (Daytona Beach)
#78 Colin Kennedy (Prescott)
#78 Ben Klinkman-Sinatra (Prescott)
#80 Spencer Thomas (Prescott)
#123 Steven Remingten Ten (Daytona Beach)
#129 Ho Ching “Kendrew” Wan (Daytona Beach)
#133 Joshua Swain (Daytona Beach)
#133 Tyler Rafferty (Daytona Beach)
#133 Manuel Escobar (Daytona Beach)
#133 Patrick MacKinlay (Daytona Beach)
#133 Daniel Byrnes (Daytona Beach)
#215 Matthew Masangcay (Prescott)

Media Contacts:

  • Melanie Hanns, Director of Media Relations, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University; Office: (386) 226-7538; melanie.hanns@erau.edu
  • Jason Kadah, Director of Communications and Marketing, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott, Ariz., Campus; Office: (928) 777-6731; jason.kadah@erau.edu
  • James Roddey, Director of Communications, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Fla., Campus; Office: (386) 226-6198; james.roddey@erau.edu.

The National Intercollegiate Flying Association SAFECON is a national championship flying competition for collegiate teams from across the country. NIFA was formed to develop and advance aviation education; to promote safety in aviation; to foster communications and cooperation between aviation students, educators, educational institutions and the aviation industry; and to provide an arena for collegiate aviation competition. For more information, go to nifa.aero.