Today: May 28 , 2020

ERAU Golden Eagles Come Home 10-Time Champions

18 May 2016   Jason Kedah

Embry-Riddle Prescott’s Golden Eagles Flight Team Wins 10th National Championship

Student Aviators Dominate Annual Skills Competition To Earn No. 1 Title in Flight, Ground Operations

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Prescott Campus Golden Eagles Flight Team bested more than three dozen university competitors this past week as it captured its 10th national championship at the 2016 National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference (SAFECON) competition in Ohio.

The annual competition, held May 9-14 this year at Ohio State University, brings together collegiate aviation teams from around the United States to compete in flight and ground events such as navigation, computer accuracy, preflight inspection and more.

Prescott’s Golden Eagles also won the coveted Judges Championship Trophy and the Ground Events Championship Trophy. Team members Bat-Amgalan Batbileg and Colin Kennedy secured the No. 1 and No. 2 spots in the Computer Accuracy competition. Overall, the Golden Eagles Flight Team and individual team members finished in the top 10 in 17 categories, including the Regional Top Pilot Award for Roger Williams (finished second out of 10 competitors). 

 “Embry-Riddle is very proud of our Golden Eagles Flight Team who brought our 10th National Championship home to Prescott,” said Prescott Campus Chancellor Dr. Frank Ayers. “Competing against the top 40 collegiate aviation programs in the country, these amazing young men and women cemented their record as the winningest flight team in the nation over the last 20 years. Their success is due to the quality, dedication and work ethic of these amazing young people and reinforces Embry-Riddle’s status as the No. 1 aviation program in the country.”

At last year’s competition, the Prescott team finished third overall. With the 2016 top title, the Golden Eagles have now won the NIFA SAFECON national championship 10 times since 1993. The team also has an unbroken 32-year record as regional champion.

“This Golden Eagles team is unparalleled in hard work, passion, competitiveness and the time they are able to put in toward these very, very worthwhile goals,” said Golden Eagles Coach Bert Aagesen. “I have come to love this team in how hard they work and how they treat each other, demanding excellence from everyone.”

The Prescott Golden Eagles team consists of coach Bertil Aagesen, assistant coach Alex Johnson, captain Victor Griffin, co-captain Sam Morris, mechanic Farrell Harris and competitors Stephen Anderson, Bat-Amgalan “Bella” Batbileg, Michael Byard, Lorenzo Cabral, Jacob Cobian, Kevin Fickenscher, Thomas Foelster, Jason Fung, Matthew Hallock, Rachel Hutzell, Colin Kennedy, Benjamin Klinkman-Sinatra, Yashica Khatri, Becca Laub, Chin-An Lin, Matthew Masangcay, Ian McLellan, Connor McNicholas, Nicholas Moore, Ryan O’Connor, Jane Possell, Spencer Thomas, and Roger Williams.

To view photos from the competition:

For more information on the Embry-Riddle Prescott Golden Eagles, go to

For the complete list of the NIFA SAFECON national competition results, go to 


Golden Eagles Team Results (Categories in which Embry-Riddle teams did not place are not listed)

National SAFECON Championship Trophy
#1 Prescott

Judges Championship Trophy
#1 Prescott

Flight Events Championship Trophy 
(25 contestants)
#3 Prescott

Ground Events Championship Trophy
(25 contestants)
#1 Prescott

Golden Eagles Individual Results

Aircraft Preflight Inspection
(50 contestants)
#10 Stephen Anderson 

Aircraft Recognition
(125 contestants)
#3 Victor Griffin 
#8 Ian McLellan 
#9 Matthew Hallock 
#10 Stephen Anderson 

Computer Accuracy
(125 contestants)
#1 Bat-Amgalan Batbileg
#2 Colin Kennedy
#4 Kevin Fickenscher 

Ground Trainer
(50 contestants)
#2 Madeline Mearsch
#4 Nicholas Moore

Instrument Flight Rules
(24 contestants)
#3 Ian McLellan

(71 contestants)
#7 Yashica Khatri/Jacob Cobian
#8 Victor Griffin/Nicholas Moore
#10 Rachel Hutzell/Chin-An Li

Outstanding Team Member Award
Matthew Hallock 

Power-Off Landing
(123 contestants)
#6 Ian McLellan
#9 Roger Williams

Regional Top Pilot Award
(10 contestants)
#2 Roger Williams

Short-Field Landings
(123 contestants)
#4 Victor Griffin
#6 Roger Williams

Simulated Comprehensive Aircraft Navigation
(125 contestants)
#7 Ian McLellan
#10 Chin-An Lin

Top Pilot Award
(15 contestants)
#5 Victor Griffin

Top Scoring Contestants
(125 contestants)
#4 Victor Griffin 
#9 Ian McLellan 

Media Contact:  Jason Kadah, Director of Communications, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott, Ariz., Campus; Office: (928) 777-6731;

About Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, is a nonprofit, independent institution offering more than 80 baccalaureate, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts & Sciences, Aviation, Business, Engineering and Security & Intelligence. Embry-Riddle educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., through the Worldwide Campus with more than 125 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and through online programs. The university is a major research center, seeking solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the aerospace industry, other universities and government agencies. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) and, and find expert videos at

The National Intercollegiate Flying Association SAFECON is a national championship flying competition for collegiate teams from across the country. NIFA was formed to develop and advance aviation education; to promote safety in aviation; to foster communications and cooperation between aviation students, educators, educational institutions and the aviation industry; and to provide an arena for collegiate aviation competition. For more information, go to