Dowling College wins 2015 Cup!

For the second consecutive year, ReviewBeforeFlight sponsored the “ Cup,” for the National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA), Region VII SAFECON (flight competition). The aim of the award was to recognize the team that best displayed a sense of sportsmanship both internally and externally.

When I first proposed the idea of a privately sponsored award for Region VII last year, the concept of a team sportsmanship award led the pack of ideas… I felt (and continue to feel) strongly that this award is well aligned (I know many of my former Daniel Webster College & Bridgewater State University students enjoyed that use of the term ‘aligned’) with NIFA overall. Here’s what I mean, the NIFA mission statement is as follows:

The National Intercollegiate Flying Association was formed for the purposes of developing and advancing aviation education; to promote, encourage and foster safety in aviation; to promote and foster communications and cooperation between aviation students, educators, educational institutions and the aviation industry; and to provide an arena for collegiate aviation competition.

As you can see, recognizing a team that demonstrates cohesiveness, camaraderie and dedication, beyond the desire to do well individually, is engrained in NIFA as an organization. The recipient this year, Dowling College, was nominated by two schools, one of which was last year’s winner, Bridgewater State University. The ultimate winner of the award is determined by nominations from participating teams, in addition to the observations of the judging staff.


I was very happy to have the opportunity to pose for a picture with the Dowling College flight team after presenting the team captain, Cliff Daly, with the 2015 Cup.


The judges this year noted multiple potential recipients during the event, but the team nominations are really what sealed the deal. Teams were able to nominate any school, including their own for the award. I firmly believe if someone feels they demonstrate the qualities of the award, they should have a chance… In any event, this year’s winner did not nominate themselves.

During the SAFECON this year I didn’t have as much time as usual to observe the teams other than while evaluating events. Price of serving as the Chief Judge, I suppose… An honor, which I remain humbled by. That said, I did have a chance to interact with the teams from time to time which helped, but I leaned on the feedback from other judges during the event before we decided on a winner. Many of the volunteer judges made a point to highlight multiple teams, an encouraging sign, but one team ultimately rose to the top.

Similarly, the nominations ranged from short and simple to longer and example filled. Of course, nominations that sites examples went a long way in helping to determine the winner. The first nomination for Dowling came from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute flight team, it was quickly followed by a nomination from Bridgewater State University, written by team co-captain Brooke Williams. The examples Brooke cited were exactly what we were looking for in a nomination. Here are a couple of passages from the nomination:

“We feel that throughout this competition we have had a good relationship with the students from Dowling. They often greeted our team in the morning with friendly hellos and struck up conversations about the competition. For example, before the landing competition Carlos showed me how Google Maps has a 3-D feature which can mock flying a final approach course. He also went out of his way to say good luck to most of our competitors before their events. Their team as a whole is very friendly and easy to talk to.”

“When Dowling came to practice on our sims prior to the competition they were respectful and conscious of the BSU facility. Cliff made sure that their team wasn’t affecting our daily operations. Although they wanted to stay as late as they could for practice, they didn’t want our Dispatchers or staff to stay late in order to accommodate them.”

“All together, we enjoy working with their team. They are friendly, conscious of our operations, and supportive. We think that they emanate the qualities that the NIFA Sportsmanship Award is all about.”

The nomination from BSU cited a variety of examples which illustrated why Dowling deserved the honor, making the decision very easy for our panel of judges. Dowling College rose to the top amongst the eight teams that participated in the Region VII SAFECON this year. Led by their team captain, Cliff Daly who did a great job setting the course and tone for his team, the entire group from Dowling exhibited all of the qualities associated with sportsmanship.

For the second year in a row, I’m very happy to have donated this award and I’m equally happy that the recipient team was so deserving. I hope to continue the partnership between ReviewBeforeFlight and NIFA Region VII in the future, whether it is with the Sportsmanship Award or some other award for a worthy cause.

Congratulations again to Dowling College, the 2015 Team Sportsmanship Award recipient.

-Fly Safe, @MTElia1B9


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