The Department of Aviation and Aerospace Science is soaring high and has the prestigious Loening Trophy to prove it.
The College’s name joins the likes of Harvard, Stanford, and Ohio State University on the 27-pound silver trophy, which the department formally received Jan. 30 during a ceremony.
More than 100 guests gathered under a tent outside of the Seventh Street Classroom building to honor the Precision Flight Team, which won the trophy at the May 2011 SAFECON (Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference). The day was proclaimed Metro State Aviation Aerospace Day by the Denver City Council. The team was also recognized earlier in the day by the Colorado General Assembly.
“There are only two Colorado schools to win the Loening Trophy, the Air Force Academy and now Metro State,” said Metro State President Stephen Jordan.
Peter Bro, a representative of the National Intercollegiate Flying Association, who presented the trophy at the ceremony, said the team earned the honor.
“These are the ambassadors of the future of aviation,” Bro said.
The Loening Trophy was first awarded in 1929 when aviation pioneer and inventor Grover Loening saw a need to annually recognize the most outstanding collegiate aviation program. The flight team’s presentation to the Loening judges included the department’s record on academics, community involvement, aviation skills, safety, and an ability to advance the profession.
Denver has the second largest aerospace economy in the country. And Metro State is an important component in maintaining that economy. “Metro is a key provider of the workforce of the future,” said Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia.
Several alumni of the college and the team attended the event to celebrate the achievement.
Metro State and flight team alumni Eric Barton said he and his teammates tried every year to win the Loening Trophy for the College but never got close.
“I’m offering a challenge to you to go to Kansas State in May and see if you can’t do it again next year,” Barton said. K-State Salina hosts the 2012 National SAFECON.
Zach Pegg, one of the winning team’s coaches, said the trophy represents a huge accomplishment. He was a member of the team for three years.
“At the beginning of the year we started focusing on winning the trophy and we went above and beyond,” he said. As for a repeat victory in 2012, “it would be tough, and it already was tough to win it. But I think we could do it”
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