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IAC to Present Awards at Gathering of Members Dinner

Collegiate Program awards, L. Paul Soucy Trophy will be given out Friday

The International Aerobatic Club (IAC) will present two Collegiate Program awards and the L. Paul Soucy Trophy at its Gathering of Members dinner this evening at the Nature Center as part of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2017.

The IAC Collegiate Program encourages ongoing interest in aerobatics through aerobatic competition. Two Collegiate Program awards are given annually: The Collegiate National Championship Team Award and the Individual Collegiate National Champion Award.

The winning team of the 2016 Collegiate National Championship Team Award is from the University of North Dakota (UND). Led by their coach Michael Lents, the team has successfully won this trophy for the last nine years in a row. UND, along with the second placed team from the Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU), are attending AirVenture for their trophy presentation by IAC President Mike Heuer.

The UND team consists of undergraduate students who are enrolled in aviation-related programs, such as the FAA-approved A&P mechanic program. As part of the program rules, the team must have at least one team member fly in the Sportsman category, or above, for at least three IAC sanctioned contests per season, and teams must have at least three pilots per team.

The 2016 Individual Collegiate National Champion Award winner is Patrick Mills of UND. Patrick flew in the Primary and Sportsman categories during the 2016 contest season. He first flew in Seward, Nebraska, in June 2016, where he finished third overall. He then competed in Bay City, Michigan, and placed second. Patrick finished up in Spencer, Iowa, with another second-place finish. Patrick, second-place-finisher James Jacobson, and the third-place finisher, Jared Hulse, will all be present at the IAC member gathering to receive their collegiate trophies.

The IAC has also selected 21-year-old Nick Meyer, EAA 1044695 and IAC 436047, as the 2016 recipient of the L. Paul Soucy Trophy. The award was started by Soucy, one of the first IAC members, and an original member of its board of directors. The award recognizes skilled pilots competing on the aerobatic circuit.

The aviation bug bit Nick at an early age. Hanging off the fence at the local airport, Nick had an eye for the sky. He began taking flying lessons after his first Young Eagles flight at age 13. Nick soloed on his 16th birthday and received his certificate at age 17, but didn’t stop there. While training for his tailwheel rating in a Decathlon, Nick began his aerobatic career. He told his mother it was “emergency attitude training” — and it worked.

Nick moved to North Dakota to attend UND and double-majored in air traffic control and aviation management. In his junior year, Nick enrolled in an aerobatics course, and his skill really improved. He joined the University of North Dakota Aerobatics Team under the coaching of Michael Lents and Jonathan Sepulveda for the 2016 competition season, flying in the Primary power category. He earned two first-place trophies, a bronze trophy, and a grassroots medal, scoring an overall average of 85.44 percent. Nick cannot thank his coaches enough for their guidance and support. He graduated from UND with honors in December 2016.

Looking toward the future, Nick hopes to secure a position with the FAA as an air traffic controller and continue to compete in aerobatics with the IAC. Past winners and additional information on the L. Paul Soucy Trophy can be found at

Results from the 2016 IAC Collegiate Competition are calculated for both team and individual categories.

The top-performing teams are as follows:

1. University of North Dakota (5227.96/6000.00 = 87.13%)

2. Metropolitan State University of Denver (4111.83/4880.00 = 84.26%)

3. United States Air Force Academy (8553.47/10970.00 = 77.97%)


The top-performing individuals are as follows:

1. Patrick Mills, UND (7838.13/9240.00 = 84.83%)

2. James Jacobson, UND (6429.79/7720.00 = 83.29%)

3. Jared Hulse, MSU (7474.88/9040.00 = 82.69%)

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