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May 5, 2003

Flying Tomahawks to Compete at Nationals

The University of Louisiana at Monroe Flying Tomahawks flight team will compete at the national level for the first time in ten years. The National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) Competition will be held in Grand Forks, North Dakota Sat., May 17 through Wed., May 21.

"This will be a wonderful experience for our team. It's all about learning how to fly safely. Safety is a major part of this event. At the regional competition our team won the Hazel Jones Safety Award, which is in my view, more important than coming in first or second place overall," said Paul Karlowitz, Assistant Professor and Interim Head of the Department of Aviation.

"Our team will now be practicing very hard over the next few weeks to get 'tuned up' to go compete. It will also give our team some needed experience since we are hosting the next Regional NIFA Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference (SAFECON) in October of next year," said Karlowitz.

Typically, there are approximately 30 flight teams competing at Nationals-the top finishers in each of the 11 NIFA Regions. ULM's Region (Region IV) encompasses Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas (south of the Red River). The Tomahawks will compete against teams from the U.S. Air Force Academy, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz., Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss., which is the home of the National Intercollegiate Flying Association, and several others.

The nationals include four days with nine flying and ground events. One ground event is an aircraft recognition competition where competitors will see pictures of a plane or part of a plane for three seconds and then have 15 seconds to tell the name, nickname and manufacturer of the plane.

The members of the ULM Flying Tomahawks are: Tomahawk Captain Shane Roberts, aviation junior; Flying Events Captain Michael Heflin, aviation junior, Ground Events Captain Justin Ferguson, aviation sophomore; Safety Captain Courtney Fontenot, aviation sophomore; Social Coordinator Lexi Norris, aviation senior; Secretary-Treasurer Laura Blouin, social work junior; Bryan Hoppen, aviation senior and criminal justice graduate studen; Anthony Herbert, aviation junior; Nelson Daniel, aviation sophomore; Belinda Grant, social work senior; Don Fouts, aviation senior; Philip Rhodes, aviation senior; Michelle Rogers, aviation senior; Glenn Gilmore, aviation senior; and David Vanicor, aviation senior.

The Flying Tomahawks Precision Flight Team is open to any student interested in aviation, regardless of major. Members of the Flight Team train throughout the year to represent ULM at the annual NIFA Regional Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference (SAFECON). Qualifications for membership are the same as those for Alpha Eta Rho. Students are chosen to attend SAFECON, which includes flying and ground events, based on their scores on practice tests and events similar to those held at SAFECON. Meetings are held weekly in conjunction with Alpha Eta Rho meetings. Students do not have to be members of both Alpha Eta Rho and the Flight Team. Faculty Advisors to the Flight Team are Ernest Bruce, Paul Karlowitz and Sally Davidson.

For more information on the Flying Tomahawks contact the aviation department at 318-342-1780.

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