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Blake Schuette has been passionate about flying since her mother sent her to aviation camp when she was 10 years old.
As captain of Auburn University’s War Eagle Flying Team, Schuette has found the perfect way to balance her hobby and
with her career interests in marketing. More than 130 pilots will test their poise
and precision when the War Eagle Flying Team hosts the National Intercollegiate Flying
Association’s Region IX competition from October 29-November 2.
While Schuette and her teammates plan to compete for plenty of trophies after finishing second and third, respectively, in regional competition the last two years, they see the event as a much broader showcase.
“What we’ve been trying to do is not only market the team and school, but also aviation,” said Schuette, a junior Harbert College of Business marketing major from New Jersey. “We want to use this event as a way to show aviation is not just about flying. We offer a product that promotes the pilot.”
Teams from Jacksonville University, Florida Institute of Technology, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Broward College and Miami Dade College will join Auburn in competing in a series of flight and ground events, including precision landing (power-on and power-off), navigation, message drop (flagged weights are dropped toward a target from an airplane at 200-feet), aircraft recognition, flight computations, safety presentations and flight by instrument reference (in a flight simulator).
All events will be held at the Auburn University Regional Airport.
The top three teams from the regional will earn an invitation to the national NIFA championship in May 2014. In last year’s national competition, the War Eagle Flying Team placed first in the safety competition, fourth in crew resource management and sixth in navigation.
As an added bonus to the regional competition, visitors will have an opportunity to see World War II-era aircraft. The Wings of Freedom Tour will bring a vintage Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, a Consolidated B-24 Liberator and a North American P-51 Mustang to the airport October 30-November 1. Ground tours will be available from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on October 30 and 31 and 9 a.m. to noon on November 1. Admission is $12 for adults and $6 for children 12-and-under. Discounts are available for school groups, and admission is free for World War II veterans.