Aviation students make first in-person appearance, perform well in regional competition

Hesston College School of Aviation

Students from Hesston College’s School of Aviation traveled to Mankato, Minnesota on Tuesday, Oct. 19, to participate in the National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) Region VI SAFECON competition. The three-member team, including Tobias Yoder ’23, Joshua Fleming ’24 and Matthew Manickam ’24, placed highest in the flight simulation event.

Sophomore Joshua Fleming ranked highest overall for Hesston College, coming in second out of 24 competitors in the ground trainer/flight simulation event. Manickam finished eighth and Yoder finished 11th out of 24 contestants.

The flight team also participated in computer accuracy and simulated comprehensive aircraft navigation events but anticipates expanding its participation into all competitive events, including all flight activities, next year.

In the computer accuracy event, Tobias Yoder placed highest for Hesston College, coming in 17th place out of 36 students. Fleming finished 23rd and Manickam finished 25th. On simulated comprehensive aircraft navigation, Manickam finished 26th, Fleming 31st and Yoder 32nd out of 37 competitors.

Hosted by Minnesota State University – Mankato, the competition featured schools from North Dakota, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Minnesota and Kansas.

“Hesston College flight team members represented the School of Aviation with excellence and integrity as they participated in three distinct aviation-related events,” said Mike Baker, director of aviation at Hesston College.

Hesston College School of Aviation participated in NIFA Region VI virtual competition last year, but this year marks the first time the team attended an event in person.

The NIFA organization works to develop and advance aviation education and to promote, encourage and foster safety in aviation.

“The Hesston College flight team continues to prepare for next year’s Region VI SAFECON event, which will be hosted by the Kansas State University Salina Aerospace and Technology Campus,” Baker said.

In the upcoming months, the Hesston College School of Aviation will provide additional information on how community members can support the Hesston College flight team, to ensure that our students can both train, and participate in all NIFA-sanctioned competitions.