May 06, 2004

Flying Salukis place fourth in national competition

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A strong team effort propelled the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Flying Salukis to a fourth-place finish in the National Intercollegiate Flying Association's annual competition.

The top 10 scorers in each of 11 total events earned points toward the team score.Thirty-one teams from around the country participated in the Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference April 27-May 1 in Smyrna, Tenn. Middle Tennessee State University hosted the competition. The University of North Dakota won the event with defending champion Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott, Ariz., finishing second. Western Michigan University was third.

The Flying Salukis were third overall in the seven ground events, behind Embry-Riddle and the University of North Dakota.

"I'm very pleased in our third-place finish in ground events," said Kim Carter, an assistant chief flight instructor in the Department of Aviation Management and Flight and the Flying Salukis' coach. "The larger schools, University of North Dakota, Western Michigan and Embry-Riddle have pretty much dominated the ground events, and for us to finish third is a real accomplishment."

Ground events were computer accuracy, simulated comprehensive area navigation (SCAN), preflight, simulator, cockpit resource management, aircraft recognition and IFR. Flight events were power-off landing, power-on landing, navigation and message drop.

Senior Michael H. Coffman captured the national title in simulated comprehensive area navigation, or SCAN competition, a ground event. Coffman, the son of Gail and Jim Coffman of Maquon, also won the $500 Craig Morrison Award for the competitor with the highest combined scores in computer accuracy and SCAN. Coffman was seventh in navigation and ninth overall in computer accuracy.

"It's an amazing experience to win an award like this, and it's a privilege to work with my friends," said Coffman, who graduates in August and plans to work as a flight instructor and charter pilot at home. "They are my best friends and we push each other to do our best."

Coffman, as the pilot, and Timothy D. Staab, serving as safety observer, were seventh in navigation. The event consists of flying about 100 nautical miles in a three- to five-leg cross-country event. The competitors must determine times between each leg and fuel consumption. Staab, a senior, is the son of Patricia and David Staab of Metamora.

Senior Adam G. Herbert finished ninth nationally in the flying competition. A co-captain last year, Herbert "has been a very valuable member of the team," said Carter. Herbert is the son of Nancy and Kent Herbert of Makanda.

The team of Herbert, as pilot, and Travis L. Custer, as safety observer, was third in navigation and sixth in computer accuracy.

Custer, a senior, was fifth in the ground trainer event. He is the son of Kathy and Randy Custer of Convoy, Ohio. Custer competed in eight events and was chosen by the Flying Salukis as the outstanding team member.

Other Flying Salukis placing in the competition were:

William M. Gersch, a junior, who was second in computer accuracy. He is the son of Sandy and Bill Gersch of Algonquin.

Douglas A. Gibbs, a senior, who was fifth in aircraft recognition. He is the son of Margaret and David Gibbs of Princeville.

Todd C. Yakel drop master, and pilot Matthew T. Clevenger were fifth in the message drop event. Yakel is a senior and the son of Pamela and John Yakel of Wheaton. Clevenger, a junior, is the son of Merri Cox and Mike Clevenger of Rock Falls.

Other team members who competed in the four-day event were junior Timothy A. Cipolla, the son of Christine and Donald Cipolla ofHurricane, W.Va.; senior Adam W. Goffinet, the son of Sandy and Michael Goffinet of New Lenox; junior Jonathan D. Greene, the son of Karen and Mark Smetana of New Lenox; sophomore Garrett E. Hackett, the son of Pam and Chris Hackett ofAlgonquin; senior Patrick T. Skonie, the son of Wendy Skonie of Aurora and Thomas Skonie of Naperville, and sophomoreWilliam J. Strauthers, the son of Maureen and Mike Lilleeng of Fox Lake, and Jack Strauthers of Hamilton, Ohio.

Carter noted the Flying Salukis finished third overall in the Judge's Trophy, which includes scores of every team member.

Carter credited the work of his six assistant coaches, instructors Michael S. Frette, Jyl A. Steele, Nathan J. Steele, Nathan J. Lincoln, Miranda F. Hill and Bryan T. Harrison.

"Without their long hours, the team could not have done as well," said Carter.

Department chair Dave NewMyer said the program is "very excited for the team and the coaches."

"They did a great job getting the team members ready for the nationals and I think it shows in the fourth-place finish," said NewMyer, noting that SIUC finished ahead of both Ohio State and the University of Illinois, and also the U.S. Naval Academy and U.S. Air Force Academy.

"We beat some good aviation schools," he said.

Shaping high-quality undergraduate programs is among the goals of Southern@150, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.