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Source: Tom Karcz, 785-826-2979,
News release prepared by: Natalie Blair, 785-826-2642,

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


SALINA -- Kansas State University's Flight Team recently returned from the National Intercollegiate Flying Association's SAFECON Competition held in Terre Haute, Ind., May 17-22. K-State's seven competitors faced 317 other pilots from 28 other schools.

"Several of our team members had competed at the regional level, but never at the national level," said Tom Karcz, assistant professor of aviation at K-State at Salina and the Flight Team adviser. "We faced some adversity in late March, early April, when three of our seniors had opportunities to take jobs and were not able to travel with us. We had a couple of freshmen step in and they were strong competitors. One of those freshman team members placed in the top 20 in two events."

The team had four top 20 finishes.

Inexperience wasn't the only factor the team had to deal with to earn their 16th overall placing. The weather wasn't very cooperative the week of competition.

"Events were moved to different days; flight and ground events had to be shifted around," said Karcz.

"All in all it was a great week and we gained invaluable experience to build on for the future," he said. "The K-State Flight Team truly appreciates all of our supporters. These competitions would not be possible if it weren't for the support from our families, donors, alumni, faculty and staff, and SGA."

Student competitors are listed below.

Theron "Craig" Harper, freshman in professional pilot, Eudora, competed; Ian Lewis, sophomore in professional pilot, Kansas City, placed 25th of 140 in the Simulated Comprehensive Aircraft Navigation event and 55th of 138 in the Aircraft Recognition event; Austin Fick, senior in professional pilot, Topeka, was a member of the duo who placed eighth in the Crew Resource Management/Line Oriented Flight Training event. Fick was the Flight Team captain during the 2009-2010 academic year.

Out of state: Zach Powell, junior in professional pilot, Colorado Springs, Colo., placed 53rd of 140 competitors in the Simulated Comprehensive Aircraft Navigation event and was named the K-State at Salina Outstanding Team Member; Gabriel Lenz, senior in professional pilot, North Liberty, Iowa, was a member of the duo who placed eighth in the Crew Resource Management/Line Oriented Flight Training event; Colton Daum, freshman in professional pilot, Dix, Neb., placed 16th out of 57 in the Ground Trainer event, 14th of 29 in the IFR Simulated Event, and was the 69th Top Scoring Male Pilot; Ryan Enebo, freshman in professional pilot, Sanger, Texas, placed twelfth in the Power Off Landing event and was the 49th Top Scoring Male Pilot.