UND Has Two Best Student Pilots In Nation

Cooper Pallasch (left) and Steven Kinney stand in front of one of the Cessna 150s used in competition during SAFECON 2018. They finished as the top two pilots in the nation, respectively. The pair of senior co-captains have built years of experience through pursuing their aviation degrees as well as participating in the UND Flying Team. Photo by Connor Murphy/UND Today.

When Cooper Pallasch and Steven Kinney led the UND Flying Team to national competition, the co-captains were hoping for the best.

After last year, they lost years of experience in departing seniors. Kinney says there were doubts among the team, and many were worried about how things would go.

“We went down there feeling like we had nothing to lose,” he said. “We had a mentality of ‘let’s do our best and see what happens.’”

At SAFECON 2018, UND maintained its reputation as Pallasch and Kinney secured the top two individual spots, respectively, and aided a second-place finish out of 30 competing institutions. The team has now finished first or second in 29 of the past 35 years.

“The team we brought down there was ready and willing to work their butts off,” Kinney continued. “Both of us as captains were proud of the team we had. From where we were at the beginning of the year, not really knowing what we were doing, I think it was a perfect team for us.”

Read more about the UND Flying Team and their top performance by clicking here.