K-State Salina Flight Team wins Loening Trophy at nationalsK-State Communications and Marketing
|The Loening Trophy, called
the oldest and most elite of all collegiate aviation awards, was awarded
to the K-State Salina team for the first time in school history. (Photo:
K-State Communications and
Kansas State University Salina Flight Team has been recognized as the most
outstanding all-around aviation program in the country — and has the trophy to
For the first time in school history, the K-State Salina
team was awarded the Loening Trophy at the National Intercollegiate Flying
Association's SAFECON National Championship, May 12-17, in Columbus, Ohio. The
team finished 13th overall at the event.
The trophy, called the
oldest and most elite of all collegiate aviation awards, was created by aviation
pioneer and inventor Grover Loening and is presented annually to the aviation
program that demonstrates its overall excellence. The trophy was first presented
— to Harvard University — in 1929, with aviation greats Amelia Earhart and
Charles Lindbergh among the judges.
"The moment our name was called
was absolutely surreal, and on top of that, we were given a standing ovation,"
said Tom Karcz, assistant professor of aviation and K-State Salina Flight Team
faculty adviser. "The Loening Trophy is a piece of history and we can't wait to
display it on the Salina campus."
The trophy is made of Tiffany's
pure silver and is uninsurable and irreplaceable. It will be hand-delivered to
the campus where it will remain until next year's national competition.
In October 2013, the K-State Salina Flight Team won its National
Intercollegiate Flying Association SAFECON regional for the first time in school
history, competing against programs including the University of Oklahoma,
Oklahoma State University and the University of Nebraska, Omaha. The top three
teams from each regional were then invited to participate at nationals. The
national championship consisted of a variety of tests both on the ground and
while flying, including landing a plane accurately, navigating a flight plan and
attempting to hit a target while dropping an item from the air.
"The team members put their noses to the grindstone and started studying early
on in the semester," said Ian Barnhart, junior in professional pilot, Lancaster,
Pennsylvania, and team captain. "There were even a few nights we were up very
late working in the hotel lobby. Obviously everyone's dedication paid off, and
I'm very proud of what we accomplished."
The team has 18 members,
with 12 members for the competition team after a try-out process.
While the National Intercollegiate Flying Association SAFECON National
Championship is primarily an opportunity for universities to send their best and
brightest aviation students to demonstrate their knowledge and training, it also
gives the competitors a chance to think about the future.
event isn't just about titles and trophies. It gave our students the opportunity
to network with fellow competitors and potential employers," Karcz said.
"Aviation organizations and companies from across the nation attend, too, and
one of our team members even had a job interview while we were there."
Along with Barnhart, members of the K-State Salina Flight Team, all
professional pilot majors, who competed at nationals and their individual
placings, if earned, included:
Martin Harvey, junior, Andover;
Taylor Spangler, junior, Andover, seventh in the power off landing event and
12th in short-field landing event; Tosh Taylor, senior, Riley, 17th in the
ground trainer event; Alex Zinser, junior, Roeland Park; John Snyder, senior,
Salina, first in the certified flight instructor event; Cameron Calvert, senior,
Wichita; and Bert Hutchison, senior, Wichita, sixth in the crew resource
management and line oriented flight training event and seventh in the IFR
Tyler Thull, junior, Fort Collins, Colorado; Trevor Henson, senior, Dunlap,
Illinois, sixth in the crew resource management and line oriented flight event;
Alex Osborn, sophomore, Newton, Iowa; and Shane Richardson, senior, Albuquerque,
Along with competing annually, flight team members also
use their club as way to give back to the community and to connect children with
aviation. Throughout the year the team is a part of several events like the
All-University Open House and Candy Canes and Airplanes. It also conducts two
aviation camps in the summer for kids.
The flight team received
support throughout the year from the K-State Salina aviation department; the
K-State Salina Student Governing Association; Verna Fitzsimmons, CEO and dean of
K-State Salina; individual donors; and a variety of corporations.
For more information on the flight team, the competition or K-State Salina's
professional pilot program, contact Karcz at 785-826-2979 or firstname.lastname@example.org