Daytona Beach Campus


Embry-Riddle’s Eagles Flight Team Wins Big, Heads to National Competition

Eagles Win Five First-Place Individual Awards and Top Pilot Honors

Daytona Beach, FL, November 22, 2013

Eagles Flight Teams Wins NIFA Regional Competition

The Embry-Riddle Eagles Flight Team at the Daytona Beach Campus has won the Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference (SAFECON) Region IX competition, sponsored by the National Intercollegiate Flying Association.

SAFECON is a national competition that brings together more than 300 students from 30 colleges and universities from across the country to vie to be the National Champions for both team and pilot honors. This competition develops and advances aviation education through a strong emphasis on aviation safety.

“I am extremely proud of the team, not only for their performance, but also for their superb teamwork and professionalism,” said Joel Reese, an aeronautical science professor who helped coach the Daytona Beach Eagles.

This year’s Region IX SAFECON, which covers Florida, Alabama and Georgia, was hosted earlier this month by the University of Auburn.

“The competition in Region IX is becoming more intense each year,” said Reese. “Ours is a young team, with nine of our student aviators competing in their first regional competition, but every team member scored points for the win, including our four freshmen, led by Liam Dermady, who took second in Aircraft Recognition.”

The team is now practicing for the 2014 SAFECON national competition in May. In last year’s SAFECON event, the Eagles scored a fourth-place finish, with Embry-Riddle’s Prescott, Ariz., Golden Eagles Flight Team winning the national championship. The 2014 SAFECON will be held at The Ohio State University Airport May 6-11.

Individual Region IX SAFECON award winners include the following:

  • Devon Burris, Region IX high scorer and Top Pilot Award winner         
  • Luke Buckett, first in Computer Accuracy and Simulated Comprehensive Aircraft Navigation
  • Ryan Leeward, first in Aircraft Recognition                                
  • Benjamin Eve, first in Ground Trainer
  • Li Lin with Luke Buckett, first in Navigation                                                             

The National Intercollegiate Flying Association SAFECON is a national championship flying competition for collegiate teams from across the country; it tests aviation skills and knowledge. NIFA was formed to develop and advance aviation education; to promote, encourage and foster safety in aviation; to promote and foster communications and cooperation between aviation students, educators, educational institutions and the aviation industry; and to provide an arena for collegiate aviation competition.

Media Contact 

James Roddey
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Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Office: (386) 226-619 
Cell: (386) 846-1835

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