WMU News

Sky Broncos take third in national championship

May 22, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- For the 12th consecutive year, Western Michigan University's precision flight team, the Sky Broncos, has placed in the top three in national competition, capturing third place at the National Intercollegiate Flying Association championship that concluded May 21 in Grand Forks, N. D.

The 15-member Sky Bronco team from WMU's College of Aviation placed third overall and nabbed third-place point totals for both flight and ground events. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Prescott won this year's championship, and the host team, the University of North Dakota, placed second. The three powerhouse teams have dominated the top-three spots in NIFA competitions since 1996. The Sky Broncos were national champions in 1998 and 2002.

Ian Alexander, a sophomore aviation flight science major from Grandville, Mich., came in third in the competition's overall top-pilot rankings, taking first place in the power-off landings event and sixth place in preflight inspection. Team co-captain Marc Kobaissi, a junior aviation flight science major from Barrington, Ill., was named WMU's outstanding team member.

NIFA national competitions pit schools against each other in six ground events and five flying events. Team and individual point totals are earned by placing in the top 10 in each of the events. A first- or second-place finish at a regional competition qualifies a team for a spot in the five-day national event.

This year's national competition included teams from 30 colleges and universities around the nation. Among other teams participating were the U.S. Air Force Academy and Auburn, Purdue and Ohio State universities.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 269 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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