Flying Salukis Again Among Nation’s Elite!

CARBONDALE, ILL. – With a demeanor that belies their strength, the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Flying Salukis collegiate flying teams are once again among the nation’s elite.

Paced by two individual event national champions and the top-scoring female competitor, the defending national champion Flying Salukis finished third in the nation among 28 teams May 14-19 at the 2012 National Intercollegiate Flying Association Championships at Kansas State University’s Salina Regional Airport in Salina, Kan.

Senior Captain Daniel S. Harrington of Monee, Illinois, won a second consecutive simulated comprehensive area navigation (SCAN) event, while Taylor B. Breum of Lake Villa, Illinois, a junior in aviation management, captured the simulator ground trainer event after winning short-field approaches and landings last year.  Courtney L. Copping of Saint Charles, Illinois, also a junior in aviation management, was the event’s top scoring female competitor this year.

The Flying Salukis finished with 319 points. National champion Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Prescott finished with 500 points, and the University of North Dakota, 382 points. Western Michigan University was fourth with 268 points and Ohio State University was fifth with 193 points.

The Flying Salukis used balance to place in 10 of 11 events in the 28-team field, and was second overall in flight events and fifth in ground events. More than 80 teams compete in regionals to be one of the 28 teams at the nationals. Among other universities competing were the Air Force Academy, Purdue, Embry Riddle-Daytona, and Auburn.

The Flying Salukis have a solid legacy, and this year’s finish marks a milestone. This is the first time since 1985 that the squad has had consecutive top three national finishes. The team has eight national titles and qualified for the national competition in 42 of the last 43 years. Recent national finishes include fourth place in 2005 and 2010, and fifth place in 2006 and 2008.

The seven ground events were computer accuracy, aircraft preflight inspection, simulator, aircraft recognition, simulated comprehensive area navigation (SCAN), crew resource management, and IFR (instrument flight rules) simulator. The four flight events are power-off landing, short-field approach and landing, navigation and message drop.

A former Flying Salukis co-captain, Michael A. LeFevre of Ashton, Ill., returned from a year off and was eligible to compete in the national event for a fourth and final time. He is a senior in aviation management.

Scott A. Blair of Bloomington, Ill., is a senior in aviation management and was 23rd nationally in scoring with 41 points.

Justin E. Lopez of Bourbonnais, Ill., is a senior in aviation management and flight, and scored in four events.

Ryan C. Veldman of Lexington, Ky., and a senior in aviation management, teamed with Joshua T. Mech of Sheboygan, Wis., as the co-pilot to place ninth in crew resource management, and teamed with Harrington to place 10th in navigation.

Jonathan K. Galante of Roselle, Ill., is a senior in aviation management, and was 18th in power-off landing.

Samuel W. Oas of Villa Park, Ill., is a senior in aviation management, and was also a member of the team.

Other Flying Salukis team members include Stephanie J. Armstrong of Marseilles, Ill.; Dane K. Fearneyhough of Louisville, Ky.; Robert W. Hutchinson of Johnsburg, Ill.; Kyle E. Hayes of Bourbonnais, Ill.; Evan M. Krueger of Crystal Lake, Ill.; and Joshua A. Sager of Lincoln, Ill.

Coaching the team was Nathan J. Lincoln, a two-year team member in the late 1990s, himself. Assistant coaches were Bryan T. Harrison, Kevin M. Krongos, Kim Carter, and Mike Veselka.

The three programs that comprise the university’s aviation program – aviation flight, aviation management, and aviation technologies – are in the College of Applied Sciences and Arts. David A. NewMyer, chair of the Department of Aviation Management and Flight at SIU, said this year’s squad stepped up to perform well after losing a few members from last year’s squad, along with some assistant coaches.

For more information on the Flying Salukis, contact Nathan Lincoln at 618/453-9250, or by email at

More information on Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s aviation programs is available at

EDITOR’S NOTE: Special thanks to Pete Rosenbery for providing the information for this article.

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