Kent State University Flight Team Secures 2nd Place after Updated Scoring

An updated scoring announcement has propelled the Kent State University Precision Flight Team to a 2nd place overall finish at the NIFA Region III Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference (SAFECON) and secured their invitation to the 2024 National NIFA SAFECON in May. Senior Co-Captain George Ludwiczak received the overall highest score in the Short-Field Landings event, however a post-competition scoring error left his results out of scoring entirely and prevented him from receiving recognition.

The correction of this oversight acknowledged Ludwiczak's outstanding 1st place finish in the Short-Field Landing event, elevating the team's standing to the highest finish in 10 years.

Cole Hebbard and George Ludziczak at NIFA 2023
Senior Captain Cole Hebbard and Senior Co-Captain George Ludwiczak.

The Flight Team’s training regimen has been a cornerstone of their success. Senior Captain Cole Hebbard explained, "We have been following a set routine that has led us to a consistent national appearance over the years. This consists of having the whole team practice every Saturday morning for roughly four hours." Hebbard emphasized the dedication to honing vital skills such as landings and navigation, and always closing practice with washing a few of Kent State’s planes to express gratitude to the university for their support.

Looking ahead, Hebbard shared his anticipation for the nationals: "I believe that I can speak for the whole team in saying that we are extremely excited about this year's national competition. Our goal for nationals is a tall task, but I have faith in this team and their capabilities to achieve this goal. We are shooting for a top 5 placing overall."

Ludwiczak also expressed his thoughts on the team's culture: "I think the best part about this team is that the dynamic of the team did not change at all.

"Everyone made the team for one reason and one reason only; they were the best at that particular event."

He highlighted the team's unity and respect for each other's backgrounds, considering it one of the team's most admirable qualities. Demonstrating perseverance and patience, Ludwiczak awaited correction of the oversight that initially omitted his top score in the landing event. This adjustment not only highlights his exceptional skill but also underscores his resilience in the face of adversity and serves as a testament to the team's spirit and dedication.

The KSU Precision Flight Team out at a team dinner
The KSU Flight Team at a "Birthday Dinner."

Ludwiczak added a lighter note about team cohesion:

"We also try to have team dinners as much as possible throughout the time we are there."

"It is always fun going out to eat with the team because we have a tradition of discretely picking a random person on the team and telling the server that it is their birthday."

The team’s consistent performance across all events and their commitment to safety, as evidenced by their 5th safety award in the past 10 years, sets a strong foundation for their aspirations at the upcoming 2024 NIFA National SAFECON, May 13 – May 18, in Janesville, WI. The Kent State Flight Team, backed by a tradition of excellence and camaraderie, is ready to soar to new heights at the national level.

2023 Region 3 SAFECON Corrected Overall Results (pdf)

National SAFECON 2024 Event Directions and Add to Calendar

POSTED: Monday, February 19, 2024 02:06 PM
Updated: Thursday, March 21, 2024 12:19 PM