November 06, 2006

Flying Salukis finish strong at regional competition

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A youthful Southern Illinois University Carbondale Flying Salukis team finished fourth recently at the National Intercollegiate Flying Association Region VIII competition.

With seven first-year members on the roster, the Flying Salukis finished one point behind third-place Purdue University. Five teams competed for the regional title at Purdue Airport in West Lafayette, Ind., Oct. 11-14. Lewis University won the overall title, followed by the University of Illinois, Purdue, SIUC and Indiana State.

The Flying Salukis finished second behind Purdue in the five ground events, and third behind Lewis University and the University of Illinois in the four flight events. SIUC finished second behind the University of Illinois for the Judges Trophy.

The top three teams receive automatic berths to NIFA's national competition at The Ohio State University in May. The Flying Salukis will know in the spring whether they receive one of the available at-large open invitations to make a 38th consecutive appearance in the nationals, said Kim Carter, a visiting lecturer and academic advisor in the Department of Aviation Management and Flight.

The department is in SIUC's College of Applied Sciences and Arts.

Ground events were computer accuracy; aircraft preflight inspection, simulator, aircraft recognition and simulated comprehensive area navigation (SCAN). Flight events were short-field landings, power-off precision landings, navigation and message drop.

Flying Salukis Andrew A. Ross and Trenton C. Kessler finished second and fifth, respectively, among the top scoring male competitors. Jennifer L. Byrne was the top scoring female competitor.

Ross, a sophomore, teamed with Brandon E. Crowd to finish third in both navigation and message drop; Crowd was the pilot in both events, while Ross was navigator and drop master. Ross also finished fifth in aircraft preflight inspection; seventh in aircraft recognition, eighth in power-off precision landings, and ninth in short-field landings. He is the son of Richard and Christina Ross of Bartlett (1187 Independence Drive).

Crowd, a junior, finished third in aircraft recognition and eighth in short-field landings. Crowd is the son of Deidra Tig-Crowd and Sylvester Crowd of Long Beach, Calif., (6841 East Lees Way).

Kessler, a junior, finished first in computer accuracy, fifth in the simulator, seventh in power-off precision landings, eighth in aircraft preflight inspection, and ninth in SCAN. He was the pilot and teamed with Maxwell S. Hougham (navigator) to place eighth in navigation. Kessler is the son of Marla Alstadt of Somonauk (465 E. Market) and Chuck Kessler of Sandwich (14598 Chicago Road)

Byrne, a junior, was third in power-off precision landings. She teamed as navigator with pilot Alex J. Kemps to finish fifth in navigation. She is the daughter of Scott and Darcy Byrne of Algonquin (625 Gaslight Drive). Kemps, a senior, also finished eighth in aircraft recognition. He is the son of John and Jenny Kemps of Emmaus, Pa. (3282 Miriam Drive).

Hougham, a junior, finished 10th in both computer accuracy and SCAN. He is the son of Randy and Nancy Hougham of Sandwich (2609 N. 46th Road).

Skylar J. Venema, a sophomore, finished second in SCAN. He teamed as drop master with pilot Dustin D. Dellutri to place eighth in message drop. Venema is the son of James and Lauri Venema of Westmont (417 Jamestown Ave.) Dellutri, a sophomore, is the son of Dennis and Jill Dellutri of Bartlett (957 Fremont St.)

Sabrina J. Weber, a senior, finished ninth in the simulator. She also received the Scot Perry Memorial Award. A member of SIUC's team in the late 1970's, Perry was killed in an aircraft accident in the fall of 1980 at Lewis Airport in Romeoville, Carter said. The annual $100 award goes to a student in the regional competition whom, through the eyes of their, peers contribute the most in helping their team's performance improve. Weber is the daughter of Richard and Debra Weber-Stokes of McHenry (106 Glenbrook Trail).

Eric T. Miller, a senior, finished fourth in computer accuracy. He is the son of Scott and Elyece Miller of St. Charles (425 S. 6th St.)

Other Flying Saluki team members are:

Melissa E. Burk, a junior, the daughter of Michael and Gloria Burk of Champaign (1019 W. Hill St.); Brian G. Clavenna, a sophomore, the son of Mark and Kay Clavenna of Spring, Texas (6506 Rippling Hollow); Jeff A. Mandrell, a junior, the son of Steven and Pam Mandrell of Waltonville (7176 E. Stagecoach Road); Michael A. LeFevre, a freshman, the son of Mark and Stacy LeFevre of Ashton (2257 Herman Road); Michael D. Pettinger, a sophomore, the son of Dan Pettinger and Judy Stezowski of Naperville (23W463 Green Trails Drive); Samuel H. Robinson, a freshman, the son of Mark and Cynthia Robinson of Oak Park, (119 S. Cuyler), and Erik T. Skjerseth, a junior, the son of Nathan and Laurie Skjerseth of Bettendorf, Iowa (5165 Charter Oaks Drive).

Nathan J. Lincoln, a visiting assistant instructor in the Department of Aviation Management and Flight, is the coach. Assistant coaches are Bryan T. Harrison and Matthew J. Gierstorf, both visiting assistant instructors in aviation management and flight.

Carter noted this year's squad has three seniors.

"The other teams just has real strong teams this year. We had a good team but it wasn't good enough. We had a rebuilding year going on," he said.

Provided the Flying Salukis receive an at-large bid for another trip to the nationals, Carter anticipates a similar showing to the May 2006 competition, where SIUC finished fifth in the nation.

"By the time it comes to go to nationals we will have the rest of this year and next spring to be prepared," he said.

Carter is hopeful the Flying Salukis will receive a bid based on last weekend's finish and SIUC's nationally recognized program.

Shaping high-quality undergraduate programs is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.