Metro State Flight Team wins prestigious Loening Trophy


Metropolitan State College of Denver's Department of Aviation and Aerospace Science was awarded the Loening Trophy, the oldest and most prestigious collegiate aviation award. The award recognizes the most outstanding all-around collegiate aviation program in the country.

Metro State's Precision Flight Team was awarded the coveted Loening Trophy at the 2011 SAFECON (Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference) competition hosted by Ohio State University, May 16-21, 2011. The award is presented annually by the National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) foundation.  A special trophy presentation is planned in Denver later this year.

The award represents excellence in aeronautical skills and sets the current benchmark for an overall outstanding collegiate aviation program. Key grading elements of the award include academics, community involvement, aviation skills, combined with a comprehensive safety program and an ability to advance the profession.  

The perpetual trophy is made of pure silver, designed by Tiffany & Co. and dates back to 1929; it was named after aviation pioneer and inventor Dr. Grover Loening.  As the first aeronautical engineer hired by the Wright Brothers to manage the Wright Aircraft Company in 1913, Loening judged the first award competiton with Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart at his side. 

 "Our students have consistently been raising the bar at competitions in recent years, both regionally and nationally," says Jeff Forrest, Metro State professor and chair of aviation and aerospace science. "I'm so proud of our students and our faculty, who inspire them to perform at such a high level of professionalism in our field."

The Metro State Flight Team placed 14th overall in the national competition, after securing second place in the NIFA regionals at Metro State in October 2010. Other notable national SAFECON 2011 accomplishments include Emily Applegate winning the women's achievement award, and Tommy Staudt placing second in the ground trainer (flight simulator) event and third in the message-drop competitions with Shaun Lee as his pilot.

Other team members who competed and contributed to the Loening award submission include: Joshua Falgoust, Nicholas Marchese, Anthony DeFranco, Vincent Martis, Mitchell Ambrosich, Thomas Staudt and Zack Floto. Preparation for the competition was support by affiliate faculty Zach Pegg and Audrey Scully (graduates of Metro State's aviation and aerospace department and prior Flight Team competitors), supervised by Professor Bruce Christian. 

About Aviation & Aerospace Science

Metro State has the fifth largest collegiate aviation program in the country. The program owns and operates the Robert K. Mock World Indoor Airport, one of the finest collegiate aviation and aerospace computer and flight simulator training laboratories in the world. Prior to their appointment as professional educators, all retained department faculty accumulated a wealth of diverse aviation or aerospace career experience. For more information, visit

About Metropolitan State College of Denver

With more than 24,000 students, Metro State is Colorado's leader in educating undergraduate Coloradans. The College now offers master's degrees in accounting and teacher education, and will offer a master's in social work starting fall 2011. The College enrolls the highest number of students of color among four-year colleges in the state. It boasts more than 70,000 alumni, the bulk of whom remain in Colorado after graduation.