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November 13, 2008

ULM takes flight with Professional Aviation Program awards

The University of Louisiana at Monroe Warhawk Flight Team, a professional organization sponsored by the ULM Aviation program, won the Safety Award in regional competition for the second year in a row. Safety is a primary goal in professional aviation and one of the key objectives of the competition.

The competition, known as SAFECON or SAFEty and Flight Evaluation CONference, is sponsored by the National Intercollegiate Flying Association, of which the Warhawk Flight Team and the Aviation programs are members. The Region IV area event was held in Longview, Texas, in late October.

Approximately 75 NIFA member schools dot the United States, and 10 of those schools come from the Region IV area of Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, and Arkansas. The ULM team placed overall 5th out of the 10 schools invited, and had eight of the nine team members place in the top 10 in various competitions.

Team Captain, Max Pippin, a junior from Flora, Miss., placed top 10 in four of the events, which included flight simulator, the message drop event, aircraft inspection, and the SCAN written exam.

Other members placing in top 10 were Quincy Dalton, a senior from Monroe, Will Blackard, a junior from Oak Ridge, Heath Johnson, a junior from Bastrop, Scott Guidry, a junior from Metairie, Clay Ricks, a sophomore from Crossett, Ark., Chad Reetz, a freshman from Weatherford, Texas, and Trevor Hall, a freshman from Sanger, Texas.

The flight team's coach and advisor since 2005 has been Jeff Taylor, a member of the aviation faculty.

At the regional SAFECON, each team brings their own aircraft and team members, and competes in nine separate events. Out of those nine events, four are flying events using the aircraft and five are ground-based in which even non-pilots may compete.

Of the flying events, two are precision landing, one is a cross-country navigation route, and the last is a low-altitude message drop run. The ground events include aircraft identification, a flight simulator course, an aircraft maintenance/preflight inspection, and two pilot written examinations.

The Executive Director of NIFA, Gary Hemphill, is a ULM (formerly Northeast Louisiana University) alumni, and an aviation graduate himself. The Airway Sciences building is named after his father, Col. William Hemphill, former aviation department head. NIFA is headquartered in Monroe.

Participation on the ULM flight team is not limited to pilots, and is open to all majors. For information on joining the flight team, E-mail, or call 318-342-1786.

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