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For the fourth year in a row, Ohio University's Flying Bobcats team has won the safety award at Region III National Intercollegiate Flying Association's (NIFA) Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference (SAFECON).
The Flying Bobcats beat out the host, Western Michigan University, as well as Ohio State University, University of Cincinnati, and Kent State University for the honor at the annual competition, held Oct. 14-18.
“This year at regionals we battled through bad weather and technical difficulties to become a stronger team,” said team captain Dylan Ewing. “I am proud of each and every member of the team. Everyone pulled his or her own weight and then some.”
The teams competed in nine events focused on navigation, landing, equipment proficiency, and other tasks relevant to safe aircraft operation.
Aviation faculty member George Armann, the team’s eam adviser, said he is proud to be the team’s coach. “
This is my seventh year as Flying Bobcats head coach, and every day I continue to love it more,” he said. “The reason I continue to do it is for the students -- I love to watch them grow into professional pilots.”
n other results, Dan Roy placed first in “power off landings,” Jessica Belzer placed second in “top scoring female contestant,” Grant Rhue placed second in “aircraft recognition,” Matthew Graul placed third in “navigation,” and Trent Lindsay was named outstanding team member. The Bobcats placed third overall.
The team is supported by the college’s special Russ Vision Funds, which provide “beyond the classroom” support for student competitions, research, and travel.
“Because of this support, we can continue to represent OHIO and remain the safest flight team in the U.S.," Armann said.
The Flying Bobcats will advance to the national competition, held in May.
“The Flying Bobcats create for good by creating opportunities for students to further their flying skills and make networking connections at competitions,” Ewing said.