May 27, 2009

Flying Salukis finish fifth in national contest

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Southern Illinois University Carbondale Flying Salukis again placed among the nation’s best in the National Intercollegiate Flying Association’s annual competition last week.

A mix of experience -- anchored by graduating senior co-captains Andrew A. Ross and Brian G. Clavenna -- and youth -- led by junior Michael A. Carroll, enabled the squad to finish fifth in the 28-team competition.

The Flying Salukis placed in 10 of 11 events, and 12 members scored to finish with 261 points. The University of North Dakota won the title with 469 points, followed by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Daytona, 398, Western Michigan University, 291, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Prescott, 288. The United States Air Force Academy was sixth.

The top 20 scorers in each of the 11 events earned points toward the team score.

St. Louis University’s Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology hosted the event at the St. Louis Downtown Airport in Cahokia.

“We’re extremely happy with the results. A fifth place finish is an excellent finish for us in national competition,” said Nathan J. Lincoln, a senior lecturer in the Department of Aviation Management and Flight.

The Flying Salukis have six NIFA national titles -- the last in 1984. The team improved upon last year’s eighth-place finish. The team’s recent history includes a fourth-place finish in 2005 and fifth-place finish in 2006.

Lincoln was particularly pleased that the Flying Salukis finished third in the Judge’s Trophy competition behind the University of North Dakota and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Daytona. The Judge’s Trophy reflects a team’s overall quality because it includes scores of participants who did not place in the top 20 of each event, he said.

The Flying Salukis had several other team members who also accumulated very high scores and placed just outside the top 20, he said.

The Flying Salukis won the regional competition in November at Southern Illinois Airport to make its 39th national appearance in 40 years. The Flying Salukis finished ahead of the other Region VIII qualifiers, the University of Illinois and Middle Tennessee State University, which finished eighth and tied for 11th, respectively.

There were seven ground events and four flight events. Ground events were computer accuracy, aircraft preflight inspection, simulator, aircraft recognition, simulated comprehensive area navigation (SCAN), cockpit resource management, and IFR (instrument flight rules) simulator. Flight events are power-off landing, power-on landing, navigation and message drop.

The Flying Salukis finished fifth in the ground events and seventh in the flight events.

Carroll was fifth among top male scorers with 84 points. A junior in aviation flight, Carroll placed second in power-off landing, fifth in SCAN, 10th in simulator, second in message drop (as drop master) with teammate Justin P. McCollum (pilot), and 20th in navigation with McCollum as the pilot. Carroll also earned the outstanding team member in a vote among his teammates. Carroll is the son of Matt and Karen Carroll of Normal.

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

Michael A. LeFevre, a junior in aviation flight, was 17th overall among top-scoring male pilots. He was sixth in power-on landings, 12th in computer accuracy, and served as pilot with Jordan J. Miller (navigator) to finish 17th in the navigation event. LeFevre is the son of Mark and Stacy LeFevre of Ashton.

Miller piloted the aircraft with Skyler J. Venema (drop master) to finish third in message drop. Miller, a senior in aviation flight, is the son of Dennis and Jill Miller of Sandwich. Venema, a senior in aviation technologies from Westmont, was also fifth in aircraft preflight inspection and 20th in SCAN.

Ross, the son of Christina and Richard Ross of Bartlett, was 19th overall among the top male scorers. He was sixth in aircraft preflight inspection, eighth in SCAN, 13th in aircraft recognition, and teamed with Clavenna (navigator) to finish 18th in navigation.

Clavenna also finished 10th in IFR simulator and 13th in simulator. He is the son of Kay and Mark Clavenna of Spring, Texas.

Dustin D. Dellutri, a senior in aviation management, teamed with Marc L. Chyba (drop master) to finish 16th in message drop. He is the son of Dennis and Jill Dellutri of Bartlett.

Chyba, a senior in aviation flight, also was 16th in aircraft recognition. He is the son of Lawrence and Mary Lynn Chyba of Chicago.

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

Michael C. Laurishke, a junior in aviation flight, was 13th in computer accuracy. He is the son of Craig and Yola Laurishke of Lake in the Hills.

Ryan E. Buttney, a sophomore in aviation flight, was 20th in computer accuracy. He is the son of John and Catherine Buttney of Lemont.

Other Flying Saluki team members for the 2009 spring semester were:

Shannon W. Roth, a senior in aviation flight, the daughter of J. Kevin Roth of Springfield; Michael D. Pettinger, a senior in aviation management, the son of Judy Stezkowski and Daniel Pettinger, Naperville; and Ryan Veldman, a freshman in aviation flight, the son of Dina Veldman, Lexington, Ky.

The squad is losing four seniors for next fall’s Region VIII competition, Oct. 20-24, hosted by Lewis University in Romeoville. Ross, Clavenna, Dellutri, and Pettinger will be gone, but “overall we do have a lot of quality members who will be returning for the regional in the fall,” Lincoln said.

Carroll and LeFevre were selected to co-captain next year’s team.

The three programs comprising the University’s aviation program -- aviation flight, aviation management and aviation technologies -- are in the College of Applied Sciences and Arts, and are among the University’s signature programs.

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