War Eagle Flying Team invited to compete in national competition in May

Published: April 07, 2016
Font Size

Article body

The War Eagle Flying Team has been invited to compete for the national champion title at the National Intercollegiate Flying Association SAFECON in May.

The flying team, made up of 25 Auburn students, enhances their classroom learning and helps create connections between students and professionals in the airline industry.

“Most of what I’ve learned about the airline industry is through the flying team,” said Parker Smith, team president.

Aviation students are given time to fly with instructors during their courses, but the flying team gives its properly certified members an opportunity to fly on their own. This solo flying time allows team members a more realistic view into a career in the airline industry, according to Smith.

Auburn University offers a unique atmosphere for students pursuing careers in aviation, coupling a flight program with a university setting.

“There are very few flight schools in the country that have what Auburn University has,” Smith said. “We’re not just here to get a pilot degree or certificate. We’re here to have the whole university experience.”

All Auburn students with an interest in aviation are welcome to join the team. No prior flight or aviation experience is required.

“Not having my pilot certification limits the events I can participate in a little, but not enough to keep me from being involved,” said Ryan Burrow, team member and software engineering major.

Flying team members may come from different backgrounds or be studying for different degrees, but the mutual love of aviation has turned team members into friends.

“My favorite thing about being on the flying team is getting to fly planes with my best friends every week,” said Spencer Dulac, team treasurer. “We act like one big family, and we all hang out outside of practice.”

The friendships among teammates only strengthen when they travel together to competition, which helps them compete well as a team, according to Dulac.

Nationals will be held Monday, May 9, through Saturday, May 14, at The Ohio State University Airport.

The team will compete against more than 20 other schools from all over the nation in various flying events, which test a range of skills from navigation to landing, as well as ground events, which focus on team members’ knowledge of federal regulations and aircraft recognition.