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JU Flight Team wins ‘Spirit of Excellence’ award at regional flying competition

The Jacksonville University Flight Team won the “Spirit of Excellence” award sponsored by the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, placed second in the “Regional Safety” award, and ranked fourth overall at the Region IX National Intercollegiate Flying Association’s Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference hosted Oct. 29-Nov. 3 by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach.

In addition to team awards, JU brought home numerous individual trophies.

Flight event highlights:

  • JU made school history, scoring second and seventh in the message drop event. Teams fly overhead at 200 feet and drop a small message on an airport ground target. Adam Spearman (drop master) and Derek Willis (pilot) earned second place and Maria Figuerado (drop master) and John Quartucio (pilot) took seventh place.
  • The team finished strong in the navigation event, where pilots plan an over 100-nautical mile cross country flight, estimating flight time and fuel consumption. Scoring fourth place were James Wasburn (pilot) and John Quartucio (observer). Brett Wickizer (pilot) and Joe Buttacavoli (observer) placed fifth while Michael Korona (pilot) and Chris Clarkson (observer) took ninth place.
  • In the power-off landing event, John Quartucio earned sixth place and Joseph Schmidt finished eighth.
  • John Quartucio finished in 10th place in the power-on landing event.

Ground event highlights:

  • In the aircraft preflight inspection event, where students are given 15 minutes to identify as many airworthiness issues as possible with a “bugged” aircraft, Derek Willis earned fourth place while Michael Korona took 10th place.
  • In the ground trainer event, contestants fly a flight profile using only aircraft instruments. Joe Buttacavoli took sixth place.
  • The simulated comprehensive aircraft navigation event saw James Washburn take eighthplace.
  • The computer accuracy event saw strong performance from Katja Jourdan who earned 10th place.
  • In the aircraft recognition event, contestants are given three seconds to recognize an aircraft based on a single photograph. Chris Clarkson earned ninth place.

The team was guided by advisors Jeff Harrison and Wayne Ziskal. Team captain John Quartucio and co-captain Daniel Pruitt led the team of 17 members: Kevin Barth, Joseph Buttacavoli, Chris Clarkson, Maria Figuerado, Vincent Jessel, Katja Jourdan, Michael Korona, Christopher Manis, Steven Paduchak, Valentin Romero, Joseph Schmidt, Adam Spearman, Matthew Walden, James Washburn, Nathanael Whittenton, Brett Wickizer, and Derek Willis.

“The team’s success is the result of the hard work and dedication of team advisors and members,” said Juan Merkt, director of JU’s Davis Aviation Center in the Davis College of Business. “Their success also is a testament for the quality of the flight training that students receive at JU through Aerosim Flight Academy.

“The JU Team would like to express their heartfelt gratitude to all its supporters and sponsors and members of the JU Aviation Advisory Board. The continued success of the team would not be possible without their generous support.”

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. JU’s Aviation Management and Flight Operations degree programs are accredited by the Aviation Accreditation Board International. JU is one of 36 universities in the nation selected by the FAA to educate future air traffic controllers under the Collegiate Training Initiative. JU’s 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 or visit www.ju.edu.


One comment

  1. Captain Jerry L. Terrell, Professor Emeritus of Aeronautics

    Congrats to JU’s first-rate flight team. You continue to make us proud.
    Captain Terrell