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Aviation Club Three pilots dominating the sky

Mr. Nishiyama Kouhei
Mr. Nishino Junki
Mr. Yamazaki Yasukazu

The best in Japan, the Aviation Club at Waseda won the 48th glider competition of All-Japan Students Glider Competition in March 2008. It had been 14 years since Waseda last won. We had a talk with two of the three pilots of the team, Mr. Yasukazu Yamazaki and Mr. Kohei Nishiyama. They are in different grades but are close friends.

Mr. Yasukazu Yamazaki seems to have a strong will hidden behind his casual manner of speaking while Mr. Kohei Nishiyama emits his intense dream through his serious eyes. They differ not only in character but also in terms of their reasons for joining the club. "It was just because I was invited to join. I was fascinated by feeling the world moving all under myself," says Mr. Yamazaki laughing. Then Mr. Nishiyama says with a sparkle in his eyes, "I had wanted to become a pilot since I was a junior high school student. I practiced a flight in Australia for joining the aviation club before entering the university." However much they differ, the two pilots somehow share something in common.

As to their recently becoming the top team in Japan, "I thought we had enough chances to win. I believed in the members' ability," says Mr. Yamazaki. "Though we are a team of three, we take off separately. We concentrate our effort towards the competition in the flight. We cannot neglect studying because we never know what will happen while we are flying." "In addition, it is important to feel fun and have passion for flying," continues Mr. Nishiyama. "Also, although we were the ones who made the flight, it was through the members working on the ground and the spiritual support of our friends encouraging us and our instructor leading us that allowed us to win."

Actually, Mr. Nishiyama used to be afraid of heights. Mr. Yamazaki's family is also afraid of high places. Nonetheless, they were fascinated by the sky and are willing to become a pilot. "I think it is a very important job that is responsible for the lives of passengers." the younger says. Putting his hands on his shoulder says the senior, "We may see each other up in the sky some day." Although they had different reasons when joining the club, their landing place seems to be the same.

A message from Mr. Nishino

He was the ace pilot of Waseda in the competition and has also taken 3rd place as an individual. Though we were not able to interview him due to his finding employment far away from Tokyo, we received an intense message from him.

Glider is said to be an individual sport but I think our success since 14 years ago was certainly a result of Waseda's cooperative efforts. It is not an easy thing to hold ourselves in our best condition, physically and mentally, under the pressure of having only one flight a day throughout the week. Waseda supported the pilots and trusted them more than any other university and that enabled us to maintain our 100% best performance and led to our winning with the highest score ever in the competition. Competing up in the sky a few thousand meters above the earth, that's where the Waseda spirit continues to live.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)

Mr. Nishiyama Kouhei

(In the left of the picture) Born in Kyoto, 1986. Graduated Hakodate La Salle High School. 4th year student of the School of Science and Engineering. Was the 2nd pilot, who needs to fly the fastest in the active air currents during daytime. His hobby is scuba diving (conquering both the ocean and the sky!)

Mr. Nishino Junki

(In the center of the picture) Born in Ishikawa, 1985. Graduated the high school attached to Kanazawa University, School of Education. Graduated from the School of Science and Engineering this spring. Developing HV揃FC at Toyota. Was the 1st pilot, who needs to fly in the morning through unsettled conditions. He likes all sports and going for a drive.

Mr. Yamazaki Yasukazu

(In the right of the picture) Born in Tokyo, 1985. Graduated Toin Gakuen High School. 4th-year student in the School of Science and Engineering. Has retired from the aviation club at the end of March. Was the 3rd pilot, who needs to fly even in the low air current in the afternoon. His hobby is watching sports.