Matthew Elkins, ’20, recently made institutional history as the first Bridgewater State University student to earn Top Pilot honors at a National Intercollegiate Flying Association regional competition. He did so at the 2019 NIFA Regional 7 SafeCon competition hosted in late October by BSU at the New Bedford Regional Airport.
“It means a lot to be the first pilot from Bridgewater to have received this achievement and I am very proud of the accomplishment, but I am also very proud that our team got second place,” said Matthew, who serves as team co-captain.
The Flying Bears, as they’re better known, emphasize the importance of teamwork, which has contributed to the team’s success in recent years.
The second-place finish at the regional event earns the squad its seventh trip to compete in the National SafeCon championships, scheduled for May in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
"The students are very dedicated and work hard at their craft,” said Michael Farley, aviation professor. “They support each other to make sure each student has a chance to be successful.”
SafeCon competitions host a variety of events, all focused on safety. These competitions help up-and-coming pilots prepare for their futures flying the friendly skies. Some of the events include simulated comprehensive aeronautical navigation, ground training, short-field landing and computer accuracy.
Co-captain Tyler Harrington, ’21, earned two medals and one trophy at the October competition, but it’s not the accolades that inspire him, it’s being part of the 16-member BSU Bears Flight team.
“I am honored to be captain of such a great team. This is truly a unique team where every member contributes in one way or another,” Tyler said. “I couldn’t be prouder of what this team has accomplished over the years and during this competition. I look forward to nationals in May and am excited to see what the team can further achieve.”
For more information on the BSU Bears Flight team visit, https://www.bridgew.edu/department/aviation-science.
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