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Sky Broncos capture fourth in national championship

by Deanne Puca

May 24, 2011 | WMU News

Photo of WMU Cessna CE-150.
Cessna CE-150
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