Ohio University's Flying Bobcats placed twelfth overall at the 2014 NIFA National SAFECON aviation competition May 12-17 in Columbus, Ohio, at Ohio State University's KOSU airport.
Team Coach and Flight Instructor George Armann said the team put in an outstanding performance against the biggest aviation colleges in the country.
“I am so proud of this team this year,” Armann said. “Only three members scored points, and with that we ranked twelfth in the nation. With experience and a national behind us, our young team has awakened and now we will do even better in regionals held at Ohio State University in October.”
Ten team members competed in a range of events from safety to landings to simulations. In addition to team captain Dylan Ewing, a senior from London, Ohio, the Flying Bobcats competitors included senior Grant Rhue of Athens; senior Daniel Roy, of Mason, Ohio; junior David Montanye of Pickerington, Ohio; junior Trent Lindsay of Mainville, Ohio; sophomore Daniel Rosenberg of Lewis Center, Ohio; junior Colleen Thompson of Liberty Township, Ohio; junior Chris Swink of Tipp City, Ohio; junior Rob Dressel of Springfield, Ohio; and senior Ethan Quastler of Granville, Ohio.
For Rhue, who will graduate at the end of fall semester, this event marked his fourth national SAFECON participation, and he’s also competed in the fall regionals four times. Because the team comprises mostly younger members, he said it has potential to place even higher at next year’s events.
“For us to place this highly, it shows you what kind of high-performance training we are doing at Ohio University compared to the rest of the field,” Rhue said. “This team definitely has a lot of potential and a lot of dedicated members. I could see them making a top-10 finish.”
Rhue, who competed in six events and placed ninth individually in power off landings and aircraft recognition, said his experience in flight competitions has been critical to his development as an aviator.
“Being on the flight team is one of the best opportunities you have when you’re going through flight training,” Rhue said. “This unique opportunity lets us expand our horizons and perfect our flying to a degree while we are still collegians. There’s no other opportunity like it in the aviation field.”