CNCC Flight Team headed to nationals, fundraising efforts underway

The 2019 CNCC Flight Team: James Whalin, Jason Krueger, Rachel Northup (Captain), John Tucker, Zack Roberts, Jesse Joseph, Eli Fozzard, Tim Moreney, Lexi Toploy, Hannah Crosley, Ryan Lyons, Kyle Baker, Will Drbohlav, Nick Chancellor, and Logan Aberhamson.

RANGELY | On Tuesday, Feb. 26 members from the Colorado Northwestern Community College’s flight team met with community members about the team’s past successes and to ask for contributions to help the team attend the 2019 National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) competition to be held May 16-19 in Janesville, Wisc. The flight team is composed of nine CNCC Aviation Program students: Lexi Topoly, James Whalin, Eli Fozzard, Jesse Joseph, Logan Abrahamson, Nick Chancellor, Zach Robertson, Tim Moroney and Hannah Crosley, along with team leaders including advisor Jason Krueger, head coach Kyle Baker, assistant coach Will Drbohlav and captain Racheal Northup. 

Last year the regionals were held in Billings, Mont., and CNCC—the only two-year college represented—earned a second place finish behind the United States Air Force team. CNCC has attended the national event five times in the last 10 years. They were national qualifiers in 2009, 2010, 2013, 2017 and 2018. In 2011 the team was the top two-year school and earned the Intercollegiate Progress Award. Their goal for nationals this year is to be awarded as the top two-year school. 

When asked why the team has been so successful the members give credit to their amazing instructors and the resources available to them at CNCC.

The NIFA competition isn’t just fun and games, it is also a place for the team members to expand their studies and further their careers. The competition  includes flight events including power on/off landings, navigation and message drop as well as ground events including crew resource management, ground trainer, preflight, SCAN, flight computer and aircraft ID. Team members are able to network with other students and industry leaders and can use the competition on their resumes when they enter the workforce after graduation. 

“We really learn to work as a team and each team member has strengths that they use for the competitions,” said team member Zach Robertson.    

The team hopes to raise $25,000 in order to attend the NIFA competition. This amount pays for lodging, food, aircraft rental, competition registration and van rental. Currently they have raised about $9,000, leaving $16,000 unfunded. Flight team captain Racheal Northup reported that the team has raised funds by hosting the Thanksgiving Family Movie Night this past fall and by selling CNCC merchandise. The team is planning their final fundraiser, a four-person scramble spring golf tournament on April 20 at $200 per team.  

There are several ways to help the flight team get to the national competition.  They would gratefully accept any cash donation but also have sponsorships available. A $1,000 sponsorship will get the donor two flight team shirts and two ball caps; for a $5,000 sponsorship your company logo patch will be placed on the team members’ jackets and be worn for the competition and beyond; and for a $10,000 sponsorship your company logo patch will go on the team members’ jackets and you will also receive a special sponsor plaque. Send donations to the CNCC Foundation, 500 Kennedy Dr., Rangely, Colo., 81648, and note 2019 CNCC NIFA Nationals Fund. For additional questions you may contact Sue Samaniego at 970-675-3216 or   

By Roxie Fromang | Special to the Herald Times