LeTourneau University flight team

LeTourneau University’s “Sting” Precision Flight Team finished 4th place overall in the nation — the highest overall ranking in LETU program history — at the National Intercollegiate Flying Associations SAFECON 2019 flight competition this month at the University of Wisconsin in Janesville.

UPDATE: LeTourneau University reports the team's scoring was reviewed and an error found that moved the team up to a third place finish. The finish is now the program's highest overall ranking in program history. 

The team will receive trophies in the fall.

PREVIOUS STORY: LeTourneau University’s flight team took fourth place in the nation during a recent flight competition — the highest overall ranking in program history.

The university’s “Sting” Precision Flight Team earned the ranking at the National Intercollegiate Flying Association’s Safecon flight competition at the University of Wisconsin in Janesville held May 13 through 18.

Contributing to the 4th place 2019 overall score, LETU was ranked fourth place in Flight Events Championship and fourth place in Ground Events Championship.

LeTourneau outranked the United States Air Force Academy, Western Michigan and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Daytona Beach. Taking the top three were the University of North Dakota in first, Southern Illinois University in second and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott third.

LeTourneau has placed five times in the top 10, beating last year’s fifth place overall school record and their seventh place in 2017. LeTourneau first began competing in NIFA competitions in 2004. The Sting flight team took first place regionally in October to qualify to compete in nationals.

“Our success is a testament to this team’s hard work and our program’s focus on fundamental flying skills and back-to-basics approach to flying,” LeTourneau Chief Flight Instructor and NIFA team coach Jered Lease said. “God truly blessed the work of our hands, and for that, we’re all thankful.”

Taking first place in the Instrument Simulated Flight competition was LeTourneau pilot Thomas Alley who also took third in the in the Simulated Comprehensive Aircraft Navigation (SCAN) competition. Following Alley in SCAN were Joshua Kelly at sixth, Benjamin White at 12th, Donavon Taves at 71st and Erica Swenson at 105th. Alley took fourth in the Ground Trainer competition with Erica Swenson following in 23rd place. Alley took fourth in the national Top Pilot competition with Benjamin White following in 14th.

In the Traditional Navigation competition, Benjamin White as pilot and James Hulsey as safety observer took second place, Thomas Alley as pilot and Noah Bronner as safety observer took fourth place, and Jonathan Rurup as pilot and David Erickson as safety observer took sixth place.

In Aircraft Preflight Inspection, Noah Bronner took seventh place while Jonathan Rurup placed 19th.

In Computer Accuracy, James Hulsey took fourth place, Jonathan Rurup placed 14th and David Erickson placed 49th.

In Crew Resource Management/Lline Oriented Flight Training, Jonathan Rurup as pilot and Thomas Alley as navigator took fourth place.

In Short Field Landing Joshua Kelly took seventh place, and Thomas Alley took 12th place.

Regional Top Pilot awards went to Benjamin White.

Receiving the Outstanding Team Member award for LETU was Silas Stanton.

LETU placed 10th for Judges Trophy competition.

Other results for LETU were as follows:

Message Drop:

Silas Stanton as dropmaster and Jeffery Rosinbaum as pilot (20th)

Simon Awcock as dropmaster and Benjamin White as pilot (57th)

Donavon Taves as dropmaster and James Hulsey as pilot placed (64th)

Keenan Yannibelli as dropmaster and Joshua Kelly as pilot Placed (71st)

David Erickson as dropmaster and Erica Swenson as pilot placed (88th)

Aircraft Recognition:

Silas Stanton (16th)

Simon Awcock (30th)

Keenan Yannibelli (42nd)

Jeffrey Rosinbaum (78th)

Power Off Landing:

Thomas Alley (23rd)

Joshua Kelly (31)

Erica Swenson (94)

James Hulsey (104th)

Top-scoring contestant of the top 355 ranked:

Thomas Alley (fourth)

Benjamin White (19th)

Jonathan Rurup, (20th)

Joshua Kelly (21st)

James Hulsey (59th)

Noah Bronner (69th)

Silas Stanton (106th)

Jeffery Rosinbaum (145th)

David Erickson (145th)

Simon Awcock (145th)

Keenen Yannibelli (145th)