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JU Flight Team soars at National Intercollegiate Flying Association competition

By Taylor Agnew

Jacksonville University

The JU Flight Team turned in a strong performance — including a first-place in Short Field Landings for member Kevin Barth — at the recent National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) 2013 Region IX Competition at Auburn University.

The team took fourth overall, third in flying events and fourth in ground events.

Coaches Dr. Rhett Yates and Prof. Chad Kendall, as well as team captains Mike Korona and Brett Wickizer, led the Jacksonville University flight team at the event at the Auburn airport Oct. 29-Nov. 2.

The team competed against Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (Daytona), Florida Institute of Technology, Auburn University, Florida Memorial University and Miami-Dade College. Jacksonville University is hosting the 2014 Region IX Competition.

“We are very proud of the team and the effort they put forth,” said Yates. “We scored more points in the flying events than we have in quite some time, and fell just short of finishing in the top three. This was one of the best performances ever by our flight team, especially in landing.”

JU Davis Aviation Center Director Dr. Juan Merkt agreed.

“They did an amazing job, and only Embry Riddle and Auburn beat us on flight events,” he said.

Team members are Kevin Barth, Michael Depeder, Alex Dupre, Maria Figuerado, Zacchari Gale, Josh Gilmartin, Katja Jourdan, Michael Korona (Capt.), Eric Merbach, Steve Paduchak, Drew Park, Jenny Pavlik, Zackery Pfisterer, Daniel Pruitt, Valentin Romero, Joseph Schmidt, Brett Wickizer (Capt.) and Harry Young.



4th place overall in Region IX Championship

3rd place overall in Team Champion Flying Events

4th place overall in Team Champion Ground Events


Kevin Barth- 1st place overall in Short Field Landings

Brett Wickizer and Eric Merbach- 3rd place overall in Navigation

Katja Jourdan- 3rd place overall in Power-Off Precision Landings

Brett Wickizer – 3rd place overall in Ground Trainer

Katja Jourdan and Jenny Pavlik – 3rd place overall in Message Drop

Jacksonville University’s Davis Aviation Center in the Davis College of Business has been educating and training future professional pilots and aviation executives for more than 25 years. The Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI) accredits our Aviation Management and Aviation Management & Flight Operations degree programs. 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, please call (904) 256-7895.