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Wednesday, May 24, 2006
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Flying Bobcats land ninth in nation

ATHENS, Ohio (May 24, 2006) -- Ohio University's Flying Bobcats Flight Team placed ninth among 28 schools at the 2006 National Intercollegiate Flying Association's Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference (NIFA SAFECON) held May 8-13 at the Ohio State University. The Flying Bobcats out-competed Oklahoma State University, Florida Institute of Technology, University of Illinois and Kent State University on their way to an overall ninth-place finish. 

The NIFA SAFECON involves college students who are pursuing careers in aviation. This year, more than 80 university flight teams competed first at their qualifying regional championships to receive a bid to compete at the national level. The 28 teams invited to the national competition were those teams that ranked either first, second or third in their regional competition. 

According to Department of Aviation Chair J. Anthony Sharp, more than 400 pilots competed this year. "There is no greater gathering of aviation students than NIFA SAFECON," Sharp said. "The Flying Bobcats represented the university and themselves very well in every phase of the conference."

Flying competition events involved both "ground" and "flight" events, including aircraft recognition, pre-flight inspection, flight computer accuracy, precision landings, cross-country navigation and flight simulator proficiency. An additional, written exam tested the competitor's knowledge of aeronautical charts, federal regulations, aircraft performance and aerodynamics. 

Competing for Ohio University were ? all of Ohio ? Anthony Amos of New Matamoras; George Armann of Powhatan Point; Heath Bowers of Harrisville; Brad Cobb of Fremont; Ben Frazier of Cincinnati; Nathan Galieti of Mt. Vernon; Johann Gebauer of Amelia; Karrie Shank of Circleville; and Michael Smith of Kent. The team was coached by Kurt Schoenhals with Tiffany Perl, Ben Frazier and Johann Gebauer assisting. Assistant Professor of Aviation Deak Arch is the faculty adviser.

In addition to placing ninth in the nation, the team earned third place in the American Airlines Safety Award, fifth place in the flight events, and 11th place in the ground events overall. 

Ben Frazier became the fourth-ranked student pilot nationally by placing fourth in "top pilot" scoring and the "top-scoring male" category, because of his finishes in the "ground trainer" and IFR simulator events (fourth place); and "short-field landing" event (20th place). Frazier also placed third in the "power-off landing" event. He and teammate Johann Gebauer placed fourth in the "message drop" event, and Frazier and teammate Michael Smith placed 11th in the "navigation" event.       

Gebauer also placed 14th in the "simulated comprehensive aircraft navigation" event.     

Anthony Amos placed 12th in "top pilot" and 20th as "top-scoring" male. He also placed second in the "power-off landing" event.

Nathan Galieti won the Flying Bobcats' Outstanding Team Member Award. Karrie Shank earned the Harold S. Wood Award for Excellence given by General Aviation Manufacturers Association. 

Formed in 1940 by Ohio University flight students, the Flying Bobcats have been competing in NIFA competitions since the mid-1960s. 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 sponsors included Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association, Air Line Pilots Association, AirNet Systems, American Airlines, American Eagle Airlines, Cessna Aircraft Company, Cirrus Design, Delta Air Lines, Frasca International, Inc., Jeppesen, National Business Aviation Association, NetJets, New Piper Aircraft, The Ninety-Nines, Inc., Phoenix Aviation Managers, Pilots of United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Sporty's and United Airlines, among others.

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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 or jefferyj@ohio.edu

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