Ticket Punched: Flying Salukis Head to National after Ninth Straight Regional Title

With more than half of his squad potentially competing for the first time, Nathan Lincoln, head coach of Southern Illinois University’s Flying Salukis, had a few anxious moments leading to the National Intercollegiate Flying Association Region VIII competition.

But a blend of veterans and youth during the Oct. 29-Nov. 2 event at Southern Illinois Airport was the right mix as the team won a ninth straight regional crown and will advance to national competition for a 50th time in 51 years.

Winning nine straight regional titles is difficult. Lincoln said it’s a “shining example of what a prestigious flight school we have here at SIU.”

“Winning with such a young team is an amazing accomplishment,” he added. “I am so proud of the way they worked together to not only better themselves but the team as a whole.”

Taking both the ground and flight event divisions and having five of the top six scoring contestants, SIU finished with 341 points, nearly doubling second-place Lewis University. Purdue University was third. The top two teams advance to the national finals, May 18-23, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin at Wittman Regional Airport.

Results are available on the NIFA website.