Precision flight team presented with championship trophy


Submitted photo.

Leighann McGivern

The Kent State precision flight team was awarded the highest honor in collegiate aviation, the Loening Trophy, during a special award ceremony Friday in the Student Center.

“This is the Lombardi Trophy; this is the Stanley Cup of collegiate aviation,” said Peter Bro, a representative from the Loening organization. “Take advantage of the fact that you have this object and promote the program because they are the best in the nation.”

According to the National Intercollegiate Flying Association’s website, the Loening Trophy is an award founded by the Wright brothers’ first aeronautical engineer, Grover Loening, and is given each year to the best all-around collegiate aviation program in the nation. The Kent State Precision Flight Team won the award at the 2010 NIFA Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference.

“If every program in the university were to win awards and to be recognized like this, we wouldn’t have to worry about being excellent”

The competition was held last May in Terra Haute, Ind., where Kent State competed against more than 450 students representing 29 aviation colleges and universities from across the country. The teams participated in 13 different flying and non-flying events, including landing, navigation, planning and aircraft recognition.

President Lester Lefton spoke at the beginning of the awards ceremony to members of the flight team and aeronautics faculty.

“If every program in the university were to win awards and to be recognized like this, we wouldn’t have to worry about being excellent,” Lefton said.

Richard Mangrum, assistant flight training professor, said he believes the award is a reflection of the dedicated faculty and staff in the College of Technology.

“Not only have we done well in the national competitions, but to be recognized as a program — not just as a flight team but as an entire program — as the best in the whole United States is just an incredible honor,” Mangrum said.

Myles Grimm and Jeremy Schott, both junior aeronautics majors, will be leading the precision flight team to The Ohio State University to compete in the 2011 national competition May 16 through 21.

The names of the winners have been engraved on the base of the trophy since 1929 when they first began to award it. The front is almost filled.

“We are now ready to step up and win this again,” Schott said. “We will be the first (name) on the back of that trophy.”

The Loening Trophy will be on display in Van Deusen Hall until early May when it will be returned for the 2011 competition. The winners of this competition will receive the trophy next spring.

Grimm ended the ceremony with a quote by Edward Rickenbacker, a famous American aviator from World War I.

“‘Aviation is proof that, given the will, we have the capacity to achieve the impossible.’ I think that summarizes Kent State’s flight team to the T,” Grimm said. “That is us — a small college with the Loening Trophy.”

Contact Leighann McGivern at [email protected].