The Ohio State University Flight Team soars to second-place victory

Posted: October 14, 2019

flight team moving aircraft
The Flight Team repositions their aircraft after a landing competition at Don Scott Field.
The Ohio State University Flight Team took home a second-place overall victory in the 2019 National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) Region III SAFECON competition. In addition to the overall award, the 16-member team achieved second place in Flying Events and second place in Ground Events. The team’s overall results qualify them for the national competition.

SAFECON—Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference—is one of ten regional competitions that occurred across the nation October 6 – 11. Region III encompasses college and university flight teams in Ohio and Southwestern Michigan.

This year’s regional competition was held at The Ohio State University Airport. Five teams competed in a variety of categories, testing their knowledge not only on flying, but also on math, simulation and ground skills.

Ohio State’s top pilots of the event based on total points accumulated were Nolan Hart, Jack Lawrie, Ally Gilbert and Matthew Chien.

flight team awards banquet
“The team, once again, showcased Buckeye aviation extremely well. Each member brought a skillset, which resulted in the great placement as a team,” said John Ginley, a 2015 alumnus and one of 10 alumni who return to help coach the Flight Team. “They are well positioned to use that momentum in preparation for nationals.”

Regional competitions serve as qualifiers for the national competition held each spring. The top three schools from each region receive an invitation to participate in the national SAFECON competition. The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) will host the 2020 NIFA National SAFECON in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, May 18-23, 2020.

“The generosity of our sponsors and support network propels us to continually improve and achieve,” said Advisor and Flight School Director Brandon Mann. “The team will be practicing throughout the coming months in preparation for nationals.”

Region III awards were presented by NIFA at a banquet on October 11.


The following lists overall, team and individual top finishes.

Final overall ranking:

  1. Western Michigan University
  2. The Ohio State University
  3. Kent State University
  4. Ohio University
  5. Bowling Green State University

Awards for team events:
Flying Events Team Champions: second place
Ground Events Team Champions: second place

Top place finishes for individual and team events:

Top Pilots

  • 2nd: Nolan Hart (42 points)
  • 3rd: Jack Lawrie (37 points)
  • 5th: Ally Gilbert ( 31 points)
  • 10th: Matthew Chien (20 points)


  • 4th: Nolan Hard / Bryon Lord
  • 5th: Matthew Chien / Jack Lawrie
  • 9th: Junn Shimizu / Ellie Brown


  • 3rd: Nolan Hart
  • 5th: Tia Schiaretta
  • 7th: James Enders

Computer Accuracy (E6B)

  • 3rd: Nick Poyer
  • 6th: Will Ogg
  • 7th: Bryon Lord
  • 8th: Zoe Karan
  • 9th: Matthew Chien

Message Drop

  • 4th: Bryon Lord / Jack Lawrie
  • 6th: James Enders / Nolan Hart


  • 1st: Ally Gilbert
  • 3rd: Devyn Thurman
  • 4th: Jack Lawrie

Power-off Landings

  • 3rd: Jack Lawrie
  • 5th: Ally Gilbert
  • 7th: Matthew Chien
  • 9th: Nolan Hart

Short Field Landings

  • 3rd: Nolan Hart
  • 4th: Jack Lawrie
  • 6th: Ally Gilbert
  • 10th: Nolan Hart


  • 3rd: Junn Shimizu

Aircraft Recognition

  • 1st: Matthew Chien
  • 3rd: Junn Shimizu
  • 8th: Jack Lawrie
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