The Jacksonville University Flight Team was back at Nationals this month for the first time in three years, with impressive performances including individual results of second place in the Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) event and 11th out of 140 in Message Drop.
The team was one of only 30 to qualify for the National Intercollegiate Flying Association’s (NIFA) Safety and Evaluation Conference (SAFECON) at The Ohio State University in Columbus May 11-16, progressing through regional competitions that involved some 80 collegiate aviation programs around the country. This marked the team’s return to the national stage for the first time since 2012.
Made up primarily of underclassmen, the team placed 24th overall, with Senior Michael Korona tied for second place in the CFI event, in which team members must demonstrate professional skills necessary to train the next generation of aviators, and Zach Azzarito and Zack Pfisterer placing 11th of 140 in the Message Drop event.
The team was led by advisors Dr. Rhett Yates, Associate Professor of Aviation; and Prof. Chad Kendall, Assistant Professor of Aviation, along with team co-captains Pfisterer and Brian Clarkson. Former Flight Team captain and present Aerosim Flight Instructor John Quartucio served as the assistant coach for the event. The 14 members who participated in the national competition included Justin Wodzicki, Harry Young, Steven Paduchack, Erick Lanier, Josh Gilmartin, Michael DePeder, Mike Korona, Maria Figuerado, Chris Anstett, Ben Buitendorp, Zack Azzarito, Brian Clarkson, and Zack Pfisterer
“The JU Team is extremely grateful to its supporters and sponsors, including Michael McKenny, Ed Dulik, Fred and Debbie Pruitt, Dennis Burleigh, Aerosim Flight Academy, Sky Harbor Aviation and members of the JU Aviation Advisory Board,” said Capt. Matt Tuohy, director of the JU School of Aviation. “The outstanding success of the team would not be possible without their generous support.”
The JU School of Aviation in the Davis College of Business has been educating and training future professional pilots and aviation executives for more than 31 years. Our Aviation Management and Aviation Management & Flight Operations degree programs are accredited by the Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI). JU is one of 36 universities in the nation selected by the FAA to educate future air traffic controllers under the Collegiate Training Initiative (CTI). Our students also benefit from a one-of-a-kind partnership with Aerosim Flight Academy, offering airline-oriented flight training and a direct career path to the airlines. For more information, call (904) 256-7895.