Sky Broncos capture fourth in national championship
May 24, 2011 | WMU News
KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University's precision flight team, the Sky Broncos, finished in fourth place at the National Intercollegiate Flying Association championship that concluded May 21 at the Ohio State University Airport in Columbus, Ohio.
The WMU team followed Southern Illinois University, the University of North Dakota and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Prescott that took the top three slots, respectively.
The 11 Sky Broncos were among some 300 students from 30 colleges and universities around the nation vying for top honors at the 2011 NIFA Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference--known as SAFECON. The WMU team has placed among the top four teams in national competition in 18 of the past 20 years and has won the national championship twice--in 1998 and 2002.
In addition to their overall fourth-place finish, the Sky Broncos also placed third overall in ground events behind the University of North Dakota and Southern Illinois University. At the NIFA event, teams accrue points to determine final standings by having individual team members place in the top slots in the competition's 11 judged flight and ground events.
Leading the WMU team in scoring this year were Benjamin Hastings who accrued 64.5 points and Kyle Johnson with 57.5 points, making them the seventh- and ninth-highest among the competition's contestants. With 12 points, WMU's Kaitlin Klingler, took third for top-scoring female contestant. Several other WMU team members individually placed in the top 10 in a number of categories securing points for their team and their individual standings.
2011 Sky Bronco team members
- Alex Anderegg, of Muskegon, Mich., is an aviation flight science major.
- Justin Guth, of Palatine, Ill., is an aviation science and administration major. He captured sixth in aircraft recognition and ninth as a pilot in the message drop event.
- Benjamin Hastings, of Hillsdale, Mich., is an aviation science and administration major. He placed fourth in computer accuracy, fourth as a co-pilot in crew resource management, fifth in aircraft preflight inspection and seventh as drop master in the message drop event. He also was seventh overall as top scoring contestant.
- Alex Hoopingarner, of Plainwell, Mich., is an aviation flight science major.
- Kyle Johnson, of Arnold, Miss., is an aviation flight science major. He placed second in Simulated Comprehensive Aircraft Navigation, fourth in crew resource management, seventh as a pilot in message drop and ninth as a drop master in message drop. He also was ninth overall as top scoring contestant.
- Kaitlin Klingler, of Hillsdale, Mich., is an aviation flight science major. She placed ninth in the aircraft preflight inspection event, as well as third overall for top scoring female contestant.
- Kyle Mallory, of Rochester, N.Y., is an aviation science and administration major who placed third in the Simulated Comprehensive Aircraft Navigation category.
- Nate McCune, of Hanover, Mass., is an aviation flight science major.
- Ramon Ramirez, of Traverse City, Mich., is an aviation flight science major. He placed seventh in Simulated Comprehensive Aircraft Navigation and was chosen Outstanding Team Member by the Sky Broncos.
- Michael Schwingel, of Saline, Mich., is an aviation flight science major.
- Reto Smith Jr., of Atlanta, is an aviation flight science major. He placed third in the aircraft recognition event.