December 7, 2012

Auburn University Flying Team Heads To Nationals

AU planeBy: Drew Taylor | Opelika-Auburn News

With a recent competition under their belt, the War Eagle Flying Team is now getting ready for recognition on the national scene.

The team, which has competed for Auburn University since the 1970s, recently placed third overall at the National Intercollegiate Flying Association Region IX flying competition in Daytona Beach, Fla., from Oct. 28 to Nov. 3. In May, the team will compete at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, for the SAFECON competition. This will be the first time the team has gone to the national championship in nearly 15 years.

During the competition, the team competed in a number of activities in the air and on the ground, including safe flight, ground training, inspection and landing. The team competed with three Cessna 172 planes, which belong to the Aviation & Supply Chain Management department in the College of Business.

Blake Schuette, president of the team and a junior majoring in management, said the 16-member team trains in Auburn once a week on Sundays and that they go to regionals once a year.

“I’m thrilled for the team,” Schuette said, who placed as the top female pilot during the Daytona Beach competition.

One noticeable change this year was that roughly half of the team were new pilots. Despite the inexperience, the team managed to get along very well.

“For them to come out and place third in a very competitive region was great,” Schuette said. “I couldn’t have been happier.”

Wayne Ceynowa, team advisor and chief flight instructor for the Aviation & Supply Chain Management Department, said the team has always taken pride in being able to support one another and do things for themselves when flying.

“It’s a learning experience,” Ceynowa said. “We have a pretty sharp team.”

In an effort to raise the funds necessary to go to SAFECON, the team will host a golf tournament on March 22. Schuete said the average cost to go to a flying competition is $6,000 per team.

“We’re hoping we can keep this to be an ongoing tournament,” Schuette said. “We’re hoping we can make it a good revenue generator for us.”

Next fall, Auburn University will host the regional tournament. For more information on the team, visit

December 7, 2012