By Bobby Keller
The Quincy University Skyhawks Flight Team is back and flourishing. It’s currently in its third year of competition after a ten-year hiatus. The Skyhawks competed at SAFECON Oct. 26, 27, and 28 and placed fourth in the competition overall.
Just like any other sport on campus, the flight team has extensive tryouts to prepare its members for competition. Flight team activities include regular practice sessions and a competition in a Fall Region VIII SAFECON air meet. If the team places in the top three in this regional event, it may participate in the national intercollegiate competition.
SAFECON is a weeklong series of skill- and knowledge-based competitions that puts QU up against four other universities in the area. Those universities include Lewis University, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Purdue University and Indiana State University. The competition rotates between the different universities, with Indiana State hosting this year. QU is scheduled to host next year.
The knowledge events involve using a special manual flight computer for various computations, using provided information to answer questions about a hypothetical flight and identifying various aircrafts.
The skill events include accuracy landings, message drop, navigation, simulator and pre-flight check.
This year the Skyhawks have eight competitors. Each member must compete in at least two events per competition. The flight team is led by Co-Captains Michael Carpenter and Alex Tedrow. The rest of the team includes Aaron Weber, Josh Hernandez, Jake Williams, Kimberly Bukowski, Taylor Wade and Gabriel Hanafin.
“Our team is stronger than ever, and we hope to win that coveted spot, which will certainly require a huge amount of money to attend,” Carpenter said. Competing in this competition has been a fantastic experience for everyone involved, and we look forward to keeping the team a permanent part of the Quincy University Aviation Program.”
The QU Skyhawk’s accomplished an impressive feat by raising over eight thousand dollars to fund their trip to SAFECON.
“We ended up raising a total of $8,298.50 in just two months to help cover the costs of the competition,” Coach and Chief Flight Instructor Andrew Dow said.
The Flight Team will not be advancing to the national competition. However, they earned several individual awards that included Andrew Dow being named coach of the year and several top five individual finishes in the events.