John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences

News and information from the UND John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences.

UND’s Aerobatic Team is an eight-time national champion

The University of North Dakota Aerobatic Team flew past the competition last year to lock up yet another national championship – its eighth in a row.

The International Aerobatic Club announced the 2015 season results for the Eagle Collegiate National Championship Award Program: the University of North Dakota ranked No. 1.

Earning this honor for UND were the following student competitors, in alphabetical order:

  • Alex Hunt, senior, Hallock, Minn., aviation management
  • Cameron Jaxheimer, graduated August 2015, Kingston, Wash., commercial aviation.
  • Estin Johnson, junior, Seattle, commercial aviation.
  • Patrick Mills, junior/senior, Houston, commercial aviation.
  • John Perillo, senior, Hudson, Wis., commercial aviation & Unmanned Aircraft Systems.
  • Christiaan Schrimpf, senior, Grants Pass, Ore., commercial aviation major with safety specialization.
  • Michael VanderMeulen, senior, Fargo, commercial aviation.
  • Alex Volberding, senior, Crystal, Minn., Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

The team’s highest scoring competitors were Mills, Schrimpf and Perillo. Mills took the honor of top Collegiate Individual Competitor in the Sportsman or Higher Fight Category.

Jaxheimer, flying in the Advanced Category, qualified at the U.S. National Aerobatic Championships to represent the United States with the U.S.  Advanced Aerobatic Team at the World Advanced Aerobatic Championships to be held in Radom, Poland, in later this year.

The 2015 Aerobatic Team was led by UND Head Coach Michael Lents and fellow coaches, Greg Gilmer and Jonathan Sepulveda, Safety Pilot and Instructor Bryan Strathdee and Faculty Advisor Joe Vacek.

The team started competing on June 26, at the IAC Open West Championship, hosted by IAC Chapter 80, Harry Barr, and Whistler Aviation in Seward, Neb. Schrimpf and VanderMeulen placed first and second in the Primary Category with Perillo and Johnson narrowly missing the podium. Mills and Sepulveda placed second and third in Sportsman, with Volberding also competing in the same category. Jaxheimer and Lents competed in Advanced, with Lents earning a flight medal during the Free program.

Jaxheimer placed second in Advanced at the Michigan Aerobatic Open July 11 and 12. Mills and Jaxheimer also independently attended the Rocky Mountain Cam-Am in Cutbank, Mont., on July 18 and 19. Mills placed first in Sportsman and Jaxheimer placed second in Advanced.

Next, the team attended the Doug Yost Challenge in Spencer, Iowa, Aug. 14, hosted by Chapter 78, Spencer Avionics, and Leading Edge Aviation. Schrimpf, Perillo, Romain,  VanderMeulen, Johnson and Hunt flew in the Primary Category, sweeping the top six spots, respectively. Sepulveda, Mills, Volberding and Strathdee placed second through fifth, respectively, in the Sportsman Category. Lents and Jaxheimer placed first and second in the Advanced Category.

UND finished the season at the IAC U.S. Nationals in Dennison, Texas. This is where Jaxheimer qualified for the U.S. Advanced Aerobatic Team. Schrimpf narrowly beat fellow teammate Perillo for first place overall in the Primary Category, each earning flight medals for placing in the top two spots in all three of their flights. Johnson and VanderMeulen finished fourth and fifth, respectively, overall. Additionally, Johnson earned a third-place flight medal for his third flight. Mills and Strathdee competed in the Sportsman Category. Gilmer earned a second-place flight medal for the “Unknown Sequence” in the Intermediate Category. Jaxheimer and Lents competed in the Advanced Category.

The Team thanks all of the support from UND, especially the Line and Maintenance crews that work hard to keep our aircraft flying. Special thanks goes to Charlie Atterbury for his help and support of the team, and to John Morrissey and Rob Holland for their mentorship.


Information supplied by Mike Lents, UND CFI-I and Aerobatic Team coach

UND – David Dodd 01/25/16 – Press Release