Flight Team soars into nationals with third place finish

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Lewis University Flight Team soars into nationals with third place finish at regional competition

Published: October 23, 2013.

The Lewis University Flight Team advanced to national level competition for the fifth consecutive year by taking third place in Region VIII at the 2013 NIFA Regional SAFECON competition in Indiana. Lewis University took third overall and in flight and ground events.

Lewis also won the Regional VIII Safety Award. Team coach Megan Zahos of Downers Grove won the Regional VIII Coach of the Year award. The regional event was held Oct. 15-18 at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., with Lewis University as one of five universities competing. Including Purdue University, Middle Tennessee State University, University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University

This year’s competition concluded with Lewis University finishing in third place overall. Southern Illinois University finished first, followed by University of Illinois in second. The top three universities advance to the National SAFECON Competition in May, 2014. The Lewis Flyers have competed in the National competition for the past five years and in seven of the past eight years. Following last May’s event, Lewis University received the Loening Trophy, given annually to the nation’s best collegiate aviation department.

“The Flight Team and Department of Aviation and Transportation Studies are to be commended for their continued pursuit of excellence in academics and in aviation and aeronautical skills. I am pleased that they will be returning to national competition again this year to represent a program that was one of the founding programs at Lewis more than eighty years ago,” said Brother James Gaffney, FSC, President.

In addition to Lewis University’s team honors, several Flight Team members earned individual awards. Lewis University students Erik Rasmussen of Bloomington received first place in Navigation (Pilot) and Jack Mullen of Naperville placed first in Navigation (Observer). Lewis University graduate student Jacob Luedtke of Hampshire received first place in SCAN. Kayan Todiwalla of Romeoville was the Scott Perry Award recipient.

The Lewis University flight team members include Nathan Bennett-Swanson, Kyle Budewitz, Michael Colloway, George Chiampas, Kevin DeBoissiere, Alex Kwiatkowski, Cody Marks, Jack Mullen, Matthew Pall, Nirav Patel, Erik Rasmussen, Kayan Todiwalla and James Vandeventer.

The coaches of the flight team include Megan Zahos, Tom Muntzenberger, Andrew Baniecki, Jacob Luedtke, Hyun “Howard” Pae and Advisor, Al Szoldatits.

Lewis University is a Catholic university in the Lasallian tradition offering distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 6,500 traditional and adult students. Lewis offers multiple campus locations, online degree programs, and a variety of formats that provide accessibility and convenience to a growing student population. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis prepares intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally connected, and socially responsible graduates. The seventh largest private not-for-profit university in Illinois, Lewis has been nationally recognized by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report. Visit http://www.lewisu.edu for further information.

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