Nearly 200 students, faculty, and staff attended the presentation of the Loening Trophy to the Department of Aviation and Transportation Studies at Lewis University on Sept. 26, 2013. The presentation was held in the Harold E. White Building maintenance hangar on the main campus. William Brogan, Department Chair and Associate Professor of Aviation and Transportation, welcomed those in attendance along with Megan Zahos, Assistant Chief Pilot and Head Coach of the Lewis Flight Team, and Brother James Gaffney, FSC, Lewis University President.
Dignitaries in attendance included the Loening Trophy award judges: Peter Bro, Chief Judge of the Loening Trophy Event, who has served as Director of Operations at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago and in 2001, joined the management team at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Wash., where he currently works as Facility Director for the Future of Flight Aviation Center and Boeing Tour; Bob Clement, Captain at FedEx, President of the NIFA Foundation that has stewardship of the Trophy, President of Alpha Eta Rho, and Loening Trophy judge; Dolores Pavletic – Captain at FedEx, Lewis alumnae and member of the Lewis University Board of Trustees and Loening Trophy judge; Trine Clement, a representative and First Officer at Delta Airlines, the Loening Trophy corporate event sponsor; and Anthony Johnson, Alpha Eta Rho’s National Executive Director.
Students from the Lewis Flight Team who made a presentation explaining the national competition event included: Erik Rasmussen, Andrew Baniecki, and Kayan Todiwalla. The Lewis University Flight Team is currently ranked 8th in the nation based on the SAFECON competition held in the spring in Ohio, earning numerous individual awards and the Loening Trophy, which is annually awarded to the outstanding all-around collegiate aviation program in the nation.
“We are proud of our dedicated Flight Team students, faculty and staff for meriting the historic Loening Trophy as well as for excelling in knowledge and flight skills at SAFECON. The award represents superb achievement in aeronautical skills and signifies that Lewis University sets the standard for an overall outstanding collegiate aviation program,” Brother James Gaffney, FSC, commented. “Our commitment to the future of aviation and our emphasis on academics, community involvement, aviation skills, a comprehensive safety program and professionalism were key reasons for this award.”
The Loening Trophy was first awarded in 1929 by Dr. Grover Loening, the first aeronautical engineer for the Wright Brothers. It is considered the most prestigious and oldest of all collegiate aviation awards. SAFECON brings together teams from 29 colleges and universities from across the country, with more than 300 students participating. The conference fosters competition and promotes teamwork between aviation students, educators and the aviation industry.
The Lewis University Flight Team is coached by Head Coach Megan Zahos, Tom Muntzenberger and Jacob Luedtke and advised by Al Szoldatits.
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