seal  Purdue News

June 12, 2003

Purdue flight team soars at national competition

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Purdue University Flight Team recently won two major awards and several student pilots were recognized for excellence at the National Intercollegiate Flying Association national competition.

The team captured the Loening Trophy for the first time since 1939 and finished sixth overall at the competition, held May 17-21 at the University of North Dakota.

"Next to winning the national championship, the Loening award is the most coveted, prestigious award in college aviation," coach Patti Keen said. "It not only recognizes the flight team, but the quality and the reputation of the aviation technology department at Purdue. This is an honor for all of the students and faculty in the department."

The award is based in part on competition performance, safety procedures and active participation in aviation in the local community.

The flight team also received the Collegiate Aviation Progress Award, which recognizes the team that has made the greatest improvement in the past year. A judging committee evaluates each team, taking into account the team's performance, safety, membership, aircraft operations and extracurricular activities. Purdue's team also is coached by Dan Keen, a full-time flight instructor at the university.

Flight team member Todd Perkins, of Lawrenceburg, Ind., was honored with the Kershner's Men's Achievement Award. A May graduate of Purdue, Perkins won the award over more than 400 competitors on the 26 teams at the competition.

"Todd was recognized not only for his flying skills, but also for his academic achievements, community service and aviation involvement," Patti Keen said. "There are a lot of highly qualified men in the competition, and for Todd to win is a major accomplishment."

Other Purdue students winning individual awards were:

• Ban Uskert, a May graduate from Valparaiso, Ind., placed eighth in preflight.

• Tim Harbeck, a sophomore from Lake Geneva, Wis., placed fifth in power-off landing.

• Dave McArdle, team captain and a May graduate from Fort Wayne, Ind., was named outstanding team member.

• Ian Williamson, a senior from Evansville, Ind., placed third in the certified flight instructor event.

• John Braddock, a May graduate from Anderson, Ind., and Brent Michals, a May graduate from Minneapolis, placed fourth in message drop.

Writer: Matt Holsapple, (765) 494-2073,

Source: Patti Keen, (765) 494-6330,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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