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Bemidji's Bailey Harris, UND Flying Team place first at Region VI SAFECON

Bemidji's Bailey Harris and the University of North Dakota Flying Team recently took home first place at this year's Region VI Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference, or SAFECON, contest.

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Pictured from top left: Danny Hong, Bailey Harris, Joe Taylor, Jebadiah Sussenbach, Cobi Pimental, Alex Viedma, Aaron Schwartz, Max Langerud, Matthew Cleveland, Jaspinder Singh, Coach Ryan Guthridge, Ryan Fitzgerald, Jie Gao, Mikayla Weiss, Caroline Kelley, Carson Wells and Coach Lewis Liang. Contributed.

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Bemidji's Bailey Harris and the University of North Dakota Flying Team recently took home first place at this year's Region VI Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference, or SAFECON, contest.

The competition, hosted by the National Intercollegiate Flying Association, or NIFA, was held from Oct. 21-23 at Minnesota State University Mankato. UND’s 15-student team won eight of the 10 events at the annual contest, a release said.

"At SAFECON competitions, pilots’ skills are tested in comprehensive fashion, from pre-takeoff to landing, including events such as aircraft recognition and pen-and-paper flight navigation," the release said.

This year's competition marked the return of flight-based events following COVID-19, as the previous season’s events were held virtually. According to NIFA’s records, UND has won nearly every competition since the regional event’s conception in the early 1970s, the release said. On the national stage, UND has placed first or second in 31 of the past 37 years.

Lewis Liang, UND Flying Team head coach and assistant professor of aviation, said the team “worked hard and came together when pressed into competition during a difficult time,” following the death of John Hauser, a commercial aviation student at the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences.

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