Embry-Riddle Flight Teams Repeat Success in National Competition

Once again, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University dominated the National Intercollegiate Flying Association’s (NIFA) Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference (SAFECON) held May 4-10 at Middle Tennessee State University in Smyrna, Tenn.

The Golden Eagles flight team from Embry-Riddle’s Prescott, Ariz. campus captured first place and the Eagles flight team from the Daytona Beach, Fla. campus placed third in the national competition.

It was the first back-to-back national championship for the Golden Eagles, which took the top spot last year at NIFA SAFECON, as well as in 1993, 1997, 1999, 2003, and 2005. The Eagles of Daytona Beach took first in 1992.


In this year’s competition, which involved more than 400 pilots from 31 aviation programs around the nation, the Golden Eagles earned a total of 465 points. Following them in the rankings were the University of North Dakota, with 349 points, and Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach team, with 332 points.

The Golden Eagles also captured the Judges Trophy, as well as first place in flying events and ground events. The Eagles flight team won the Wally Funk Competition Safety Award and came in second, third, and fourth place respectively in the flying events, Judges Trophy, and ground events.

Several individuals on both teams placed particularly well. From the Daytona Beach campus, Derek Herchko and Alex Kim took first in navigation, a crew event, and Dan Demmery was first in the ground trainer event. On the Prescott team, Peter Grey was first in the simulated comprehensive aircraft navigation event.

“Our performance was a result of endless hours of work and practice by every team member. It truly is a team effort that wins national championships,” said Jared Testa, head coach of the Golden Eagles. He added: “Thirteen of our 18 national contestants will return next year to work toward a ‘three-peat.’ ”

“Three years after Daytona Beach placed a renewed emphasis on its flight team, our second year in the top three confirms we have re-arrived as a contender,” said Les Westbrooks, who coached the Eagles with David Zwegers. “The results of this competition confirm that Embry-Riddle is the premier flight-training venue in the world.”

Individual Rankings

Event: Place: Individual/Team:
National Top Pilot;
7 Derek Herchko/Eagles

Top Male Contestant;
4 Grant Culver/Golden Eagles
5 Dan Demmery/Eagles
6 Andrew Garrett/Golden Eagles
8 Peter Grey/Golden Eagles
16 Austin Richey/Golden Eagles

Power-off Landings;
3 Andrew Garrett/Golden Eagles
6 William Bayliss/Golden Eagles
9 Dan Demmery/Eagles
13 Ronell Balgobin/Eagles
17 Justin Westbrooks/Eagles
22 Peter Grey/Golden Eagles
33 Austin Richey/Golden Eagles
86 David Moore/Golden Eagles

Short Field Landings 5 Michael Crowley/Eagles
6 Andrew Garrett/Golden Eagles
8 Austin Richey/Golden Eagles
10 Tim Lerner-Lam/Eagles
11 Grant Culver/Golden Eagles
16 Marc-Andre Beaudry/Eagles
21 William Bayliss/Golden Eagles
34 Peter Grey/Golden Eagles

Navigation;
3 Grant Culver/Ian Burton/Golden Eagles
6 Austin Richey/Brandon Anderson/Golden Eagles
37 Peter Grey/Nate Visser/Golden Eagles

Simulated Comprehensive
Aircraft Navigation;
1 Peter Grey/Golden Eagles
4 Derek Herchko/Eagles
5 William Bayliss/Golden Eagles
6 Ian Burton/Golden Eagles
8 Schuyler Nachod/Eagles
13 Nate Visser/Golden Eagles
14 Grant Culver/Golden Eagles
18 Tim Lerner-Lam/Eagles

Certified Flight Instructor;
2 Joey Giangrasso/Eagles

Ground Trainer;
1 Dan Demmery/Eagles

IFR Simulated Flight;
3 Dan Demmery/Eagles

Computer Accuracy;
3 Peter Grey/Golden Eagles
4 Derek Herchko/Eagles
5 Grant Culver/Golden Eagles
6 Jonathan Meyer/Eagles
7 Andy Garrett/Golden Eagles
12 Sherman Caril/Eagles
18 Jeonggyoon Lee/Eagles
20 Ian Burton/Golden Eagles
21 Jahvan DeChape/Golden Eagles

Crew Resource Management;
6 Dan Demmery/Joey Giangrasso/Eagles

Aircraft Recognition;
2 Blake Glass/Eagles
6 Christopher Purcell/Golden Eagles
8 David Moore/Golden Eagles
11 Alex Kim/Eagles
14 Thad Short/Golden Eagles
15 Christopher Thelan/Golden Eagles
17 William Jacobson/Golden Eagles
19 Matt Cullen/Eagles
20 Marc-Andre Beaudry/Eagles

Aircraft Preflight Inspection;
4 William Bayliss/Golden Eagles
6 Grant Culver/Golden Eagles
7 Dan Demmery/Eagles
17 Jonathan Hester/Eagles

Instrument Flight;
10 Peter Grey/Golden Eagles

Message Drop;
6 Richard Shupe/William Bayliss/Golden Eagles
47 Cassandra Nagle/Austin Richey/Golden Eagles
80 Christopher Thelan/Ian Burton/Golden Eagles

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, offers more than 30 degree programs in its colleges of Arts and Sciences, Aviation, Business, and Engineering. The university educates more than 34,000 students annually in undergraduate and graduate programs at residential campuses in Prescott, Ariz., and Daytona Beach, Fla., through its Worldwide Campus at more than 130 centers in the United States and Europe, and through online learning. For more information, visit www.erau.edu .

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