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Prescott, Ariz., May 7, 1999 -- The Golden Eagles Flight Team from the Prescott, Ariz., campus of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University took first place at the National NIFA SAFECON (National Intercollegiate Flying Association Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference) Competition held recently in Salina, Kan.

The Golden Eagles were also national NIFA SAFECON champions in 1993 and 1997.

More than 100 colleges entered the competition at the regional level this year. Twenty-nine teams went on to compete in 10 airborne and ground events at the national meet.

Twenty-four members of the 36-member Golden Eagles Flight Team participated. In addition to taking the National Championship Trophy, the Golden Eagles took first place in flight and ground events. The team also took the Judges' Trophy for best overall performance by all members of a team.

With a total of 160 points, the Golden Eagles finished far ahead of the second-place team, University of North Dakota, which had 95 points. Western Michigan University finished third with 68 points. The Eagles Flight Team from the Daytona Beach, Fla., campus of Embry-Riddle tied for fifth place at 59 points.

"It was a real team effort," said Golden Eagle Mike Davenport. "We worked hard all year and it was great to have it pay off in the end."

Davenport, a senior from Placentia, Calif., and the team's chief pilot, said he pushed his teammates to practice an average of 20 hours a week.

Members of the Golden Eagles who took first-place titles in individual events at the competition are Josh Seabold of Oregon, Ill., power-off landing; the team of Dave Murray of Issaquah, Wash., and Jared Testa of Bloomington, Ill., message drop; Jared Testa, manual flight computer accuracy; and Kevin Connolly of Reseda, Calif., aircraft identification. Ali Zahedi of the Daytona Beach campus took first place in instrument flight rules.

Six Embry-Riddle students placed second or third in competition events. Five are Prescott Golden Eagles: Barry Fischer, second, aircraft recognition; Ryan Roth, second, simulated comprehensive aircraft navigation; Kristi Kleinhesselink, second, manual flight computer accuracy; Adam Willms, third, multi-engine simulator flight; and Jeremy Konis, third, short field landing. Anita Shew of the Daytona Beach Eagles took third place in cross-country navigation.

The Golden Eagles coaching team is composed of Mike Rops, coach; Dick Samuels, Jeff Hawkins, Andre Payette, and Phil Wycoff, assistant coaches; and Fred Cone and Chip Hough, team advisers.

Embry-Riddle, the world's largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, meets the needs of students and industry through its educational, training, research, and consulting activities. Degree programs through the master's level are offered at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., at more than 100 teaching sites in the U.S. and Europe, and through independent study and distance education.

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