October 19, 2010

Flying Salukis again qualify for nationals

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Mike A. Carroll, a senior in aviation management at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, was the top-scoring pilot this past weekend at the National Intercollegiate Flying Association’s Region VIII championships.

Carroll placed in seven of nine events and teammate Daniel S. Harrington finished first in two ground events as the SIUC Flying Salukis earned another trip to the organization’s national championships in May. Seeking a fourth consecutive regional title, SIUC finished second by the slimmest of margins to host University of Illinois. The competition was Oct. 12-16 at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Willard Airport in Savoy.

Illinois won the title with 216 points, followed by SIUC, 213 points, and Lewis University, 122 points. Purdue University, 64 points, Middle Tennessee State University, 37 points, and Indiana State University, 8 points, also competed.

The top three teams in the region receive automatic berths to NIFA’s national competition, May 16-21. The Ohio State University will host the event at The Ohio State University Airport.

The finish marks the 41st time in 42 years the Flying Salukis qualified for the national competition. The Flying Salukis have seven NIFA national titles -- the last in 1985. The team’s recent history includes a fourth place finish in May, and in 2005, and fifth-place finishes in 2006 and 2008.

“We had an excellent competition. The team got along great and the events went really well,” coach Nathan J. Lincoln, a senior lecturer in the Department of Aviation Management and Flight. “I’m proud of their accomplishment.”

To put this year’s regional into perspective, the Flying Salukis scored 14 fewer points than a year ago when the team won the regional title by 94 points. They finished first this year in ground events and second in flight events.

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

The Flying Salukis were particularly strong in ground events. The team placed scorers in all ground events, including five each in computer accuracy, aircraft recognition, and SCAN. In all, 12 of 18 Flying Salukis scored points in the competition.

“I don’t remember a time when we have placed all of our competitors in every ground event,” Lincoln said. “To place them as high was we did was an extraordinary accomplishment for our ground team.”

Carroll, one of three team captains for this fall’s squad, will graduate in December. He finished first in aircraft recognition, third in power-off precision landings, fourth in simulator ground trainer, eighth in SCAN, and eighth in short field landings. He was the drop master with pilot Samuel W. Oas for a sixth-place finish in message drop, and the observer with pilot David T. Brown to finish fifth in navigation.

Carroll is the son of Karen and James Carroll of Normal.

“Mike Carroll has been an excellent competitor since the beginning when he first joined the team,” Lincoln said. “I’m going to miss him when he graduates and is not competing with us.”

Oas, a junior in aviation flight, was also seventh in aircraft recognition. He is the son of Lynda and William Oas of Villa Park.

Brown was second in SCAN, fourth in computer accuracy, and fourth in power-off precision landings. A senior in aviation management, Brown is the son of Marlene and Scott Brown of Chicago.

Harrington, another team captain, was first in both computer accuracy and aircraft preflight inspection events. He was fourth in SCAN, and was drop master with pilot Ryan C. Veldman for a 10th place finish in message drop. A senior in aviation management, Harrington is the son of Nancy Curry of Monee and Daniel Harrington of Kankakee.

Veldman was also fifth in computer accuracy and seventh in SCAN. Veldman, a junior in aviation flight, is the son of Dina Veldman of Lexington, Ky.

Scott A. Blair, a junior in aviation flight, was second in aircraft preflight. He is the son of Lana and Bryan Blair of Bloomington.

Taylor M. Breum, a sophomore in aviation flight, was first in simulator ground trainer. He also was third in aircraft recognition and 10th in short field landings. He is the son of Janet and Terry Breum of Lake Villa.

Ryan E. Buttney, the team’s third captain, also fared well. He was third in computer accuracy, sixth in short field landings, and eighth in power-off landings. He was drop master with pilot Daniel B. McMahon for a second-place finish in message drop.

Buttney, a senior in aviation management, is the son of Catherine and John Buttney of Lemont.

McMahon, a junior in aviation flight, is the son of Kathy and Dennis McMahon of Edina, Mo.

Flying Salukis Ken W. Nielson and Michael C. Laurishke teamed to finish seventh in message drop, with Laurishke serving as pilot. Laurishke was also sixth in computer accuracy and ninth in SCAN. Laurishke is the son of Yola and Craig Laurishke of Lake in the Hills.

Nielson also was eighth in aircraft recognition. A senior in aviation management and mechanical engineering, he is the son of Jayne Nielson of Belvidere and Douglas Nielson of East Troy, Wisc.

George A. “Rusty” Wharton, III, a sophomore in aviation flight, was fourth in aircraft recognition. He is the son of Julie and George Wharton of Goodfield.

Other Flying Saluki team members for the 2010 fall semester are:

Courtney L. Copping, a sophomore in aviation management, the daughter of Donna and Clarence Copping of Saint Charles; Kyle E. Hayes, a freshman in aviation flight, the son of Kellee and Kurt Hayes of Bourbonnais; Justin E. Lopez, a freshman in aviation flight, the son of Sandy and Eddie Lopez of Bourbonnais; Joshua T. Mech, a freshman in aviation flight, the son of Darlene and Timothy Mech of Sheboygan, Wis.; Anthony C. Nelson, a senior in aviation flight, the son of Mary Jean and Rick Nelson of North Richland Hills, Texas, and Michael J. Szemplinski, a freshman in aviation flight, the son of Barb and Jeff Szemplinski of Geneva.

Carroll and Laurishke will both graduate in December and not be available for the national event. That will require other team members, which includes four freshmen and three sophomores, to step up.

“With those two graduating we have some shoes to fill and the newer team members we have brought on will have to put in some extra work to get competitive by the national competition,” Lincoln said.

The Flying Salukis’ legacy of success is something that new team members learn and begin to realize the dedication needed after their initial competition, Lincoln said.

“We do as much as we can to instill in the new team members how important these competitions are and how much effort has been put in by previous teams to ensure continued success.”

The three programs that comprise the University’s aviation program – aviation flight, aviation management, and aviation technologies – are in the College of Applied Science and Arts.

The Flying Salukis’ assistant coaches are senior lecturer Bryan T. Harrison, assistant instructors Jeffrey D. Jaynes, Kevin M. Krongos, Sabrina J. Zwego, and Kim Carter, a senior lecturer and academic adviser.