Omaha - The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) flight team, the Flying Mavs, have returned from the 2014 National Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference (SAFECON) with several top-place finishes and recognition for head coach Scott Vlasek as National Coach of the Year.
Vlasek, director of UNO’s Aviation Institute and a UNO alumnus, was named “National Coach of the Year” at the SAFECON Competition hosted by Ohio State. This is the first year in school history that UNO has won the award.
“I am truly honored to have been selected as the 2014 NIFA National Coach of the Year,” Vlasek said. “I have amazing kids on the team that are dedicated and committed to its success. This honor means even more knowing that it was the students that nominated me.”
The SAFECON competition ran from Friday, May 12, through Sunday, May 18. This year, seven students from UNO traveled to Columbus, Ohio to compete. Participating students included Senior Co-Captain Travis Huetter; juniors Ben Reher, Blake Zessin and Kyle Broich; sophomores Jon Collins and Nick Lynam; and freshman Madeline Sullivan.
UNO earned several top-ten individual finishes competition. Huetter earned third place for overall Men’s Achievement as well as 10th in the Short Field Landing competition. Also placing in the top 10 within the Short Field Landing Competition was Lynam, who finished in eighth place.
Also recognized individually was Collins, who was named the Outstanding Team Member for the Flying Mavs.
Other highlights from the competition included:
- A 13th place finish in Crew Resource Management / Line Oriented Flight Training from Lynam and Zessin
- A 19th place finish in Message Drop by Lynam and Zessin
- A 20th place finish for Lynam in Simulated Flight
"Nationals was one of the most eye opening experiences I have ever been included in,” Madeline Sullivan said. “The level of sportsmanship and passion is unparalleled by any other national collegiate competition. If you want a description of what it's like, just take 400 of the most spirited, 20-year-old, aviation enthusiasts and pilots and put them at an airport with 80-plus aircraft for a week."
Overall, the UNO Flying Mavs placed 16th in the competition for the National Championship Trophy, ahead of schools like Auburn University, San Jose State University and Kent State. Winning this year’s National Championship trophy was Southern Illinois University.
“Being the captain of the Flying Mavs I am very proud of all we have achieved this year as a team,” Co-Captain Travis Huetter said. “It really shows that all of our hard work can pay off even on a national scale. Leading this team has been one of the most cherished experiences of my life. Not only has it helped advance my leadership skills but it has also further prepared me for my professional career in the aviation industry."
A full list of results can be found at http://www.nifa.us/SAFECON_2014_Results.html
Sponsors for this year’s Flying Mavs team include five-time Title Sponsor Jet Linx Aviation as well as Carson Wealth Management, the Duncan Family Trust, ConAgra Foods, Kiewit Corporation, Mutual of Omaha, the Nebraska Business Aviation Association, Dr. and Mrs. Scott Tarry, and Dr. and Mrs. John Sullivan.
For questions about this year’s team, please contact Scott Vlasek at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For media inquiries, please contact Charley Reed, UNO media relations coordinator, at email@example.com or by phone at 402.554.2129.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.