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The Antelope

The Antelope

Loper athletics takes flight with brand new airplane

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY THE ANTELOPE STAFF The AirLoper ignores speed limits to ensure that athletes arrive as soon as possible.

Due to the recent success of multiple UNK athletics teams, the university has purchased a plane for travel to all away sporting events. The AirLoper made its first liftoff today to get the softball team safely to Joplin, Missouri, for the doubleheader against Missouri Southern. 

The $185 million Boeing 767 will make for comfortable travel for all Loper athletes. 

“It is going to make travel so much easier for our athletes,” said Bark Mauer, UNK athletic director. “We wanted to make an investment that would really, really reflect the hard work of our athletes and elevate our athletic department in a new way.”

UNK is the first university in the country to purchase a plane for travel. The AirLoper provides five more inches of legroom than a typical first-class flight. It also features new inflight entertainment with a library of illegal film from the other team’s practices, spy film from the opposing coaches’ offices and the Hudl app to watch game film.

“Traveling has been really, really uncomfortable for our players in the past,” said UNK football coach Losh Jynn. “This new plane will make sure our athletes are in the best condition possible for our games. It will make traveling less boe-ing.”

Many UNK teams have flown to travel all over the country this past year. The swimming team competed in Fairbanks, Alaska, the volleyball team played in New York and the football team played a playoff game in Angelo, Texas.

“We’ve seen an increase in travel this past year with our national success,” Mauer said. “This seemed like a sensible move for the direction our athletic department is going. We want to make sure all of our teams are able to get where they need to be to compete as fast as possible.”

The AirLoper will also cut down on travel time for all of the teams. This will allow athletes to attend classes they would’ve normally missed if they would have been traveling on the bus.

“Class time is really, really important to me and I hate missing it on Fridays during the season,” said UNK quarterback D.J. Tavis. “Now we’ll be able to leave on Friday evening before a game so I can go to my classes during the day and we can even get a quick walkthrough in before we leave.”

UNK will save money by having aviation students fly the plane for their first 100 hours of flight time. Student interns will also be providing drinks and deep tissue massages for all the athletes. 

The aviation department is extremely excited about the opportunity. 

“This is a sky-high experience for our students,” said Bavid Dallinger, director of UNK’s aviation program. “Our students are going to be having so much fun doing this that time will really fly by. This is a move in the flight direction for our university.”

The Loper softball team will once again use the plane tomorrow to fly to Pittsburg State for another doubleheader and then to return home to Kearney. 

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