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Wednesday, June 15, 2005
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Flying Bobcats land 11th in nation

ATHENS, Ohio (June 15, 2005) -- Ohio University's flight team placed 11th among 29 schools at the 2005 National Intercollegiate Flying Association's Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference (NIFA SAFECON) this spring. The Flying Bobcats out-competed the U.S. Naval Academy and host school Kansas State University, ending just one place behind Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Daytona.

More than 80 university flight teams competed this year, first at qualifying regional championships, then narrowed to 29 for the national competition at Kansas State. Flying competitions included both "ground" and "flight" events, including aircraft recognition, pre-flight inspection, flight computer accuracy, precision landings, cross-country navigation, flight simulator proficiency and a written exam that tests the contestants' knowledge of aeronautical charts, federal regulations, aircraft performance and aerodynamics.

Formed in 1940 by Ohio University flight students, the Flying Bobcats have been competing in NIFA competitions since the mid '60s. This year's competitors were Anthony Amos, George Armann, Brooklyn Black, Chris Buehler, Ben Frazier, Johann Gebauer, Darrick Helmuth, Ron McCoy, Tiffany Perl, Chris Priest, Karrie Shank and Mark Zehner. Head coaches were Brian Buescher and Katie Ventresco, assistant coaches were Jeff Rambdat and Kurt Schoenhals, and team adviser was Deak Arch.

In addition to placing 11th in the nation, the team earned second place in the American Airlines Safety Award, 10th place in the flight events and Judges' Trophy and 11th place in the ground events. Karrie Shank (Circleville, Ohio) earned the prestigious Women's Achievement Award given by the Ninety-Nines and was ranked the third female contestant overall. Robert McCoy (Litchfield, Conn.) placed first in the flight instructor event, and he and teammate Johann Gebauer (Amelia, Ohio) won fifth place in the crew resource management event. Christopher Buehler (Wooster, Ohio) and Tiffany Perl (Port Clinton, Ohio) placed seventh in navigation. Other team members receiving awards included Cincinnati native Ben Frazier (fifth in IFR simulated flight and 11th in ground trainer), Karrie Shank and Anthony Amos (12th in message drop), and Robert McCoy (15th in simulated comprehensive aircraft navigation). The Flying Bobcats' Outstanding Team Member Award went to Johann Gebauer.

The National NIFA SAFECON, one of the most prestigious events in collegiate aviation, brings top aviation students together with judges and sponsors from leading corporations in the aviation industry. This year's event sponsors included American Airlines, Cessna Aircraft Company, Delta Air Lines, National Business Aviation Association, NetJets, New Piper Aircraft, Southwest Airlines, Sporty's, United Airlines and others.

The Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ College of Engineering and Technology at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, educates well-rounded professionals with both technical and team-project skills. The Russ College offers undergraduate and graduate degrees across the traditional engineering spectrum and in technology disciplines such as aviation, computer science, and industrial technology. Research areas currently receiving significant funding include avionics, fuel cells, bioengineering, oil and gas pipeline corrosion, and environmental pipes and culverts. Named for alumnus Fritz Russ and his wife, Dolores, the Russ College is home of the Russ Prize, one of the top three engineering prizes in the world. For more information, visit www.ohio.edu/engineering.

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Media Contact: Russ College Director of External Relations Colleen Girton, (740) 593-1488 or girtonc@ohio.edu; or Media Specialist Jack Jeffery (740) 597-1793 

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