The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) Flight Team, the Flying Mavs, took home first place in the Region VI National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference (SAFECON) competition this weekend.
Omaha was the host school for this year’s event, which ran the week of October 16. With the first-place finish, the Flying Mavs will make their ninth consecutive appearance at the national SAFECON competition, which will take place at Indiana State University beginning April 30, 2018.
Led by Co-Captain Tate Beller, the Flying Mavs earned 669 points to claim the SAFECON Championship. Individually, Beller won the Regional Top Pilot award with 126 points, six more than fellow co-captain Philip Wier.
“This week has been an incredible experience for everyone involved with the Flying Mavs. The first day of the competition we came out with a bang, placing several individuals very highly in the ground events,” Beller said. “It is a very exciting time to be a Maverick and it can only get better from here.”
The Mavs swept first place in all three team awards. In addition to the SAFECON Championship, they won the Flight Events and Ground Events awards.
"This is a tremendous win for our team, they put a lot of hard work and effort into earning this," Scott Vlasek, faculty advisor for the team, said. "I am so happy for all of them, it truly was a team effort lead by our captains. It all came together at the right time and the team decisively won the competition."
The Mavs won by 243 points over the second place team Oklahoma State University. Southeastern Oklahoma State University came in third place rounding out the three automatic qualifiers to nationals.
I couldn’t be more proud of the young men and women who represented UNO and the Aviation Institute so well this past week. In addition to an exceptional performance in the competition, these students are setting great examples in the classroom and in the community
- Scott Tarry, Director of UNO's Aviation Institute
“I am very proud of the team as a whole” Junior Adam Recker added. “I've never seen such commitment from new members as well as the leadership from returning members, and their hard work paid off. We dominated the competition.”
Other schools in the competition included Kansas State University Polytechnic, University of Central Missouri, Saint Louis University Parks College and the University of Oklahoma.
"I couldn’t be more proud of the young men and women who represented UNO and the Aviation Institute so well this past week. In addition to an exceptional performance in the competition, these students are setting great examples in the classroom and in the community” said Scott Tarry, director of the UNO Aviation Institute.
Additional highlights from the competition include:
- The Mavs took first, second, and third place in the Navigation event, Computer Accuracy event and Aircraft Preflight Inspection.
- In the Short Field Landing event the Mavs took first, second, sixth, 16th and 17th place.
- Two team members place in the top 10 in the Aircraft Recognition event
- All three team members in the Ground Trainer event placed in the top five
- Four out of five competitors in the Power-Off Landing event were in the top 10
- Two members placed in the top 10 in the Simulated Comprehensive Aircraft Navigation event.
"This is one of those rare teams that came together at just the right time to perform at their peak,” Flying Mavs Coach Ryan Guthridge said. “We have a good group of new members and veterans that all contributed to the team's record setting win. I couldn't be more excited about the future of the Omaha Flying Mavericks."