Student Blog


Calling All Pilots

 The National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) team is offering a class this semester to help student pilots perfect their skills. The two-credit class meets Mondays and Wednesdays between 5:00 p.m. and 5:50 p.m. and has 15 available slots. NIFA is looking for motivated pilots at any skill level to help build the USU NIFA Flight Team.

In 2006 and 2007, Utah State students compiled a team with little preparation and competed in the NIFA competitions. USU only had a handful of competitors and barely had a chance to make a dent, let alone make a stand in the prestigious competition. Fast forward to spring of 2010 where a group of leaders in the Pilot Club had a vision: They saw this competition as an opportunity to build a legacy for Utah State Aviation.

“We saw NIFA as an opportunity not only to showcase the best pilots that our program has to offer but to make our team the best pilots in the process,” said NIFA member, Brent Isaacs.

In 2010 members of the Pilot Club attended the Region I competition hosted by Metro State College in Denver. Although the team did not compete, watching the competition was eye opening. The diversity and skill of the competing teams was astounding. Competing with the top schools takes not only skill but also hard work and money.

After observing the 2010 regional competition, club members got together and started working on a plan to create a schedule, a curriculum and a winning team.

In 2011 the newly formed team traveled to Rangely, Colo. to compete in Region I Competition. Although the team did not place in the top three they still considered it a success. After returning to USU the team began planning for the next year. They decided they needed a stronger training program, a better understanding of the rules and penalties, and more people.

In 2012, leadership changed hands. Rachel Robinson took the role of team captain, DJ Flaherty and Adam Peterson became specialized instructors, and Issacs took the role of instructing coach. After two months of preparation the team felt ready for competition.

“When we arrived at the competition, our team from USU had never been better trained, prepared, or structured,” Isaacs said. “Unfortunately, 2012 wasn’t the year that we would place in the top three, but 2013 is.”

This class offers students three well-trained instructors, great training resources, two credit hours of upper division electives, and 9 months to prepare for this years competitions. It is listed as TEE 5910-3 and actually takes place an hour later than is listed on Banner.

The aviation program has never had the opportunity to truly compete against the best schools in our region until now. If you are interested in the class please email Kaylee Roholt at Get ready, the road to a becoming a better pilot starts today.


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