WMU Sky Broncos win regional competition seventh year in row

Contact: Deanne Puca

The Sky Broncos flight precision team.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University's precision flight team, the Sky Broncos, won the National Intercollegiate Flying Association Region III Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference held Oct. 6-11 in Columbus, Ohio.

Capturing first place in both flight events and in ground events at regionals, WMU aviators qualified for the 2020 NIFA national SAFECON set to take place May 18-23 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

This year's win marks the seventh consecutive regional championship for the 16-member team that is coached by Aviation Faculty Specialist II Ryan Seiler with the College of Aviation.

Competing against the Sky Broncos in the regional event were flight teams from Bowling Green State, Kent State, Ohio and Ohio State universities. Teams earn points for members who finish in the top 10 in a series of flight and ground events. WMU's team accrued 264 points during the event. Ohio State placed second with 215 points.

Last year's Sky Broncos team finished sixth in the national competition, competing against teams from 28 other colleges and universities around the country. Learn more about the team.

2019-20 Sky Broncos team

Below is information on the 2019-20 Sky Broncos team members and their first- through 10th-place finishes at the 2019 NIFA Region III SAFECON held at Ohio State University.

  • Kyle Albrecht is from Hartland and studying aviation flight science. He placed 10th in simulated comprehensive aircraft navigation.
  • Austin Barrett is from Davison and studying aviation flight science. He placed first as safety observer in unlimited navigation, placed third as dropmaster in message drop, fourth in computer accuracy, sixth in aircraft preflight inspection and 10th in short field landing
  • Jessica Bernin is from Wauconda, Illinois, and studying aviation flight science.
  • Tristan Bruizeman is from Zeeland and studying aviation flight science.
  • Brock Fransen is from Lena, Illinois, and studying aviation flight science. He placed fifth in computer accuracy.
  • Miraziz Ismoilov is from Samarkand, Uzbekistan, and studying aviation flight science. He placed fifth in simulated comprehensive aircraft navigation.
  • Brandon Jackson is from Daykin, Nebraska, and studying aviation flight science. He was the fourth top pilot, was the seventh top scoring contestant and placed first as pilot in unlimited navigation, fourth in simulated comprehensive aircraft navigation and fifth aircraft preflight inspection.
  • Blake Lehman is from Richland and studying aviation flight science. He placed sixth in aircraft recognition.
  • Matthieu Menard is from Culver, Indiana, and studying aviation flight science. He was the ninth top pilot, was the 10th top scoring contestant and placed second as pilot in unlimited navigation, seventh in aircraft recognition and ninth in short field landing.
  • Nicholas Olnhausen is from Toledo, Ohio, and studying aviation flight science. He placed fifth in aircraft recognition.
  • Lauren Quandt is from Grosse Ile and studying aviation fight science. She placed second in computer accuracy, second as safety observer in unlimited navigation, second and third as pilot in message drop and fifth in short field landing,
  • Jim Ray is from Davison and studying aviation flight science. He was named an outstanding team member, was the first top pilot, was the top scoring contestant and placed first in computer accuracy, first in ground trainer, first in power-off landing, second in short field landing and third as pilot in unlimited navigation.
  • James Rundhaug is from Hartland and studying aviation flight science. He placed eighth in simulated comprehensive aircraft navigation.
  • Jack Skoczen is from St. Charles, Illinois, and studying aviation flight science. He placed second in aircraft recognition and eighth as dropmaster in message drop.
  • Justin Teegardin is from Carson City and studying aviation flight science. He was the fourth top-scoring contestant, was the sixth top pilot and placed first in short field landing, second in aircraft preflight inspection, second as dropmaster in message drop, third as safety observer in unlimited navigation, eighth as pilot in message drop and 10th in computer accuracy.
  • Matt VanderWall is from Hart and studying geography. He placed first simulated comprehensive aircraft navigation.

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit WMU News online.