As one of the largest faith-based university aviation programs in the country, Liberty University School of Aeronautics is gaining recognition in the industry. This was evidenced last fall when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved a reduction in flight training hours (from 1,500 to 1,000) for Liberty students. This change allows Liberty graduates to be hired as first officers by a commercial airline with 500 less training hours than most other schools. Liberty was the seventh university in the country to receive this authorization.
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“This new agreement helps our graduates get a job with the regional airlines more quickly than they could have in the past and more rapidly than other potential candidates,” said retired U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Dave Young, dean of the school. “It is also recognition from the FAA that we have an excellent and solid program, or we would not have gotten the waiver of hours.”
The school has also signed hiring agreements with regional commercial airlines that guarantee employment interviews for qualified Liberty aviation graduates.
“These agreements are important as demand for airline pilots continues to increase,” Young said. “For the first time in many years, student pilots have an avenue to a job.”
Another sign of success also came last fall, when the school’s flight team captured its ninth straight regional title in the National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) competition and qualified for nationals May 12-17 at Ohio State University Airport.
In addition to a full curriculum for both pilots and mechanics, the school offers flight attendant training, a concentration in Unmanned Aircraft Systems (drones), and an online program for both pilots and aircraft mechanics. The school has a 100 percent job placement rate in the field for graduates of the maintenance technician program.
Recently, staff played a key role in helping to secure funding for a UAS research and testing site at Virginia Tech, one of six sites around the country approved by the FAA. Last fall, all of the students in the program received operator certification in the Dragon Eye UAS, making them the first Liberty students to receive industry certification in the field. Liberty’s UAS program was created to specifically meet industry needs. Because of this, graduates are receiving coveted positions with some top technological innovators in the industry.
Liberty’s program is also enhanced by its own full-service fixed-base operator affiliate, Freedom Aviation, which provides students with opportunities for employment and experience in aircraft sales, management, maintenance, and corporate flying.
In December the school opened its first affiliate training program in Newport News, Va. Students can take online classes through Liberty toward a bachelor’s degree in aeronautics while gaining flight instruction at the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport.
Read more about recent advancements for the School of Aeronautics in the Liberty Journal, and watch the following videos where Young and others talk about the features that make Liberty's program unique.