LeTourneau University’s School of Aeronautical
Science has a brand new trophy for its new trophy case when it moves into its new location this
summer at the East Texas Regional Airport.
LETU’s flight team won the coveted Loening
Trophy at the 2009
SAFECON competition hosted by Park College in St. Louis,
Mo. Considered the most prestigious award at the annual SAFECON competition, the Loening
Trophy is awarded to the outstanding all-around collegiate aviation program in the
The award represents superb achievement in
aeronautical skills and represents the current benchmark for an overall outstanding collegiate
aviation program. Keys to selection for the award include emphasis on academics, community
involvement, aviation skills and their advancement, a comprehensive safety program and
professionalism combined with a proactive enhancement of the future of aviation.
“This recognition from an independent panel of judges from the aviation
industry is proof that LETU has one of the best collegiate programs in the country,” said LETU
flight team faculty adviser Brad Wooden. “We have always known we had a great
program. Now everyone does.”
The perpetual trophy is made of pure silver designed by Tiffany and
dates back to 1929 when aviation pioneer and inventor Dr. Grover Loening saw the need to recognize
the most outstanding achievements in college aviation programs. Loening was the first
aeronautical engineer for the Wright Brothers. Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart assisted
Loening in judging the first competition. The actual Loening Trophy is kept at the Seattle Museum
of Flight. The school was given a take-home trophy.
LeTourneau University’s aeronautical science “Sting Precision Flight
Team” placed 11
th overall in the nation, having won first in regional competition last October. At
nationals recently, they competed against over 300 students from 28 teams from all over the
country, including Embry Riddle, Western Michigan, Southern Illinois, Kent State and the United
States Air Force Academy.
Chris Barnes was LETU’s highest scoring competitor placing 2nd in the
IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) Ground Trainer Event. Rachel Ballou was 3
rd in the Women’s Achievement Award. Barnes and Alex Minium placed 6
th in the Crew Resource Management Event. The team also won 3
rd place in the American Airlines Safety Award Presentation.
“We have a very young team this year,” Wooden said. “Nine of the 16
students we took to national competition this year had never competed nationally before. I’m very
proud of their accomplishment.”
Team members who competed with Barnes, Ballou and Minium, included Jared
Gebel, Marc Gravelle, Daniel Grollimund, Leanne Haycraft, Steve Hederstedt, Ben Hoogewerf, Brandon
McCann, Chad Mertz, Ken Misiak, Sam Myers, Andrew Robinson, Caleb Waite and Andre Ziolkowski. LETU
flight instructor Roger Braun was the team coach.