WMU Home > WMU News >

WMU News

Sky Broncos head to national championship

May 11, 2009

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University's precision flight team, the Sky Broncos, will head to Missouri May 12 in search of a national title as the National Intercollegiate Flying Association holds its 2009 championship May 18-23 at Parks College of St. Louis University.

Weather permitting, the 15-member Sky Broncos traveling team will depart from its home field at Battle Creek's W.K. Kellogg Airport early Tuesday, May 12, and head to Missouri to get ready to compete with schools from across the country. The annual competition attracts some 400 pilots from teams representing 30 of the top aviation schools in the nation. Schools earn the right to compete at nationals by winning or placing second in regional competition. The Sky Broncos qualified by placing second last October at NIFA's Region III event at Kent State University.

"Our team is well balanced this year, with senior members, juniors and a few new additions," says Steven W. Tkachuk, Sky Bronco head coach and a faculty specialist in the College of Aviation. "I expect us to do well this year, particularly in some of our traditional areas of strength like navigation, the preflight check and the crew resource management event, to mention a few. This group's dedication and devotion never ceases to amaze me. I think their hard work and commitment will pay off May 23 when the final results are announced."

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. Both individual placements and team standings are kept under wraps until the championship's concluding banquet the evening of Saturday, May 23. For 17 consecutive years, WMU's Sky Broncos have placed among the top four teams in the nation in NIFA competition. They last won a national championship in 2002.

This year's Sky Broncos are led by Kevin Kotewa, a recent WMU graduate from Memphis, Mich. Besides Kotewa, two other team members are competing for the final time as Sky Broncos. The team includes five members who are competing for their first or second time on the team.

2009 Sky Broncos

  • Robert Bowden of Farmington, Mich. (not traveling)
  • Benjamin Hastings of Hillsdale, Mich. (not traveling)
  • Jeremy Jackson of Three Rivers, Mich.
  • Kyle Johnson of Arnold, Mo.
  • Kaitlin Klingler of Hillsdale, Mich.
  • Kevin Kotewa of Memphis, Mich.
  • Dave Lerond of Dorr, Mich.
  • Kyle Mallory of Rochester, N.Y.
  • Nathaniel McCune of Hanover, Mich.
  • Erick McDaniel of Battle Creek, Mich.
  • Kathryn Meyer of Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Jared K. Neterer of Mattawan, Mich.
  • Drew Pearson of Battle Creek, Mich.
  • John Robbins II of Munith, Mich.
  • Andrew Sequin of Alpena, Mich.
  • Lee Wierenga of Grandville, Mich.
  • Matt Ziomkowski of Walker, Mich.

Related articles
Sky Broncos capture third in national championship
Sky Broncos midway through national competition

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

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400