WMU News

Sky Broncos begin hunt for national championship

May 14, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University's precision flight team, the Sky Broncos, begins its quest for a national championship Tuesday, May 14, as the National Intercollegiate Flying Association championship gets under way at Ohio State University.

The 15-member team, representing WMU's College of Aviation, is competing against 30 other collegiate teams from around the United States for the national flight title that will be decided during the May 14-18 NIFA competition. WMU last won the crown in 1998 and its teams have placed among the top three teams in national competition in each of the past 10 years. The Sky Broncos took second to the University North Dakota in last year's event, which was held at UND's home airfield.

UND is expected to be one of the top competitors this year as well. Among other schools represented in the event are perennial powerhouse Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Kansas State University, the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy, the University of Illinois and the host school, Ohio State.

NIFA competitions pit schools against each other in five ground events and four flying events. Team points are earned by competitors who place in the top 10 in each of the events. A team first- or second-place finish at a regional competition means the team qualifies for a spot in the national competition. WMU qualified for the national event this year by winning the NIFA Region III title in April, capturing more than half of the available points in the six-team competition.

Results of this week's competition will not be available to media outlets until Sunday, May 19. The individual event results and the competition's overall point total will not be announced until the end of the NIFA awards banquet late Saturday, May 18.

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

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