November 03, 2008

Flying Salukis capture regional championship

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Strong team and individual performances propelled the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Flying Salukis to a second consecutive regional title Saturday, Nov. 1, at the Southern Illinois Airport.

The Flying Salukis finished first in five of nine events and relied on high scoring through the competition to easily win the National Intercollegiate Flying Association Region VIII championships, Oct. 29 through Nov. 1.

SIUC finished first in both ground and flight events. The Flying Salukis finished with 265 points, easily ahead of second-place University of Illinois with 154 points. Middle Tennessee State University finished third with 83 points, followed by Lewis University, 69, Purdue University, 57, and Indiana State University, 32.

“We really went out there and had a good showing,” said head coach Nathan J. Lincoln, a senior lecturer in the Department of Aviation Management and Flight. “We placed almost all of our competitors in every event.”

Lincoln credits the squad’s experience, hard work and team chemistry. For example, SIUC’s five competitors finished in the top six in computer accuracy, and among the top eight in simulated comprehensive area navigation (SCAN).

“This team has worked well together not just in getting the coach’s input, but the team members help each other and communicate with each other,” he said.

Andrew A. Ross, a senior in aviation management from Bartlett and a Flying Saluki co-captain, received top male and overall pilot honors. Ross placed in the top five in five individual events; he and co-captain Brian G. Clavenna combined to win navigation and finish sixth in message drop. Ross piloted the navigation effort, and was drop master in message drop.

Ross scored 82 of the team’s points, Lincoln said.

“It was an amazing showing on his behalf,” he said.

The win marks the 39th time in 40 years the Flying Salukis qualify for NIFA’s national competition. The Flying Salukis have six NIFA national titles -- the last in 1984. The team finished eighth in the nation in May, fourth in 2005 and fifth in 2006.

The top three teams receive automatic berths to NIFA’s national competition, May 17-23. That event is hosted by St. Louis University’s Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology at St. Louis Downtown Airport in Cahokia.

Lincoln expects to lose just one team member ahead of the national competition in May. He expects the squad to remain strong for the nationals, with all of those who scored points returning.

Lewis University won the safety award and the Scot Perry Memorial Award. The award is in memory of Scot Perry, a member of SIUC's team in the late 1970's who died in an aircraft accident in the fall of 1980 at Lewis Airport in Romeoville.

Nine events comprise the competition. Ground events are computer accuracy, aircraft preflight inspection, simulator ground trainer, aircraft recognition and SCAN. Flight events are short field landings, power-off precision landings, navigation and message drop.

Ross, the son of Christina and Richard Ross, finished first in aircraft preflight inspection, second in aircraft recognition, second in power-off precision landings, fourth in short field landings, and fifth in SCAN.

Clavenna, the other co-captain, finished first in power-off precision landings, second in short field landings, fifth in simulator ground trainer, and 10th in aircraft recognition. Clavenna, a senior in aviation management, is the son of Kay and Mark Clavenna of Spring, Texas.

Dustin D. Dellutri, a senior in aviation management, finished first in SCAN, and 10th in short-field landing. He teamed with Marc L. Chyba (drop master) to finish seventh in message drop. He is the son of Dennis and Jill Dellutri of Bartlett

Chyba, a senior in aviation flight, also was sixth in aircraft recognition, and third in power-off precision landing. He is the son of Lawrence and Mary Lynn Chyba of Chicago.

Daniel S. Harrington, a freshman in aviation flight, finished first in computer accuracy. He is the son of Daniel Harrington of Kankakee and Nancy Curry of Monee.

Michael A. Carroll (navigator) and Justin P. McCollum (pilot) teamed to finish eighth in navigation. Carroll, a sophomore in aviation flight, also was fourth in simulator ground trainer and eighth in SCAN. He is the son of Matt and Karen Carroll of Normal.

McCollum finished fourth in computer accuracy. A junior in aviation flight, McCollum is the son of Gary and Kelly McCollum of Morton.

Jordan J. Miller (pilot) and Skylar J. Venema (drop master) placed third in message drop. Miller, a junior in aviation flight, is the son of Dennis and Jill Miller of Sandwich. Venema, a senior in aviation technologies from Westmont, was fourth in aircraft preflight inspection and sixth in SCAN.

Shannon W. Roth (pilot) and Ryan E. Buttney (drop master) finished fourth in message drop. Buttney was also third in computer accuracy. Roth, a junior in aviation flight, is the daughter of J. Kevin Roth of Springfield. Buttney, a sophomore in aviation flight, is the son of John and Catherine Buttney of Lemont.

Michael A. LeFevre, a sophomore in aviation flight, also placed in two events. He finished fifth in short-field landing and sixth in computer accuracy. He is the son of Mark and Stacy LeFevre of Ashton.

Michael C. Laurishke, a sophomore in aviation flight, was fifth in computer accuracy. He is the son of Craig and Yola Laurishke of Lake in the Hills

Other 2008-2009 Flying Saluki team members are:

Laurel G. Mabry, a junior in aviation management, the daughter of Monte and Jennifer Mabry, Anchorage, Alaska; Gregory K. Marcinkowski, a junior in aviation flight, the son of Eugene and Jeannette Marcinkowski, Victorville, Calif.; Michael D. Pettinger, a senior in aviation management, the son of Judy Stezkowski and Daniel Pettinger, Naperville; Erik T. Skjerseth, a senior in aviation management, the son of Laurie and Nathan Skjerseth, Bettendorf, Iowa; Ryan Veldman, a freshman in aviation flight, the son of Dina Veldman, Lexington, Ky.

Assistant coaches are senior lecturer Bryan T. Harrison, flight instructor Jeffrey D. Jaynes, assistant instructor Sabrina J. Weber, and Kim Carter, a senior lecturer and academic adviser.