Planes donated to the School of Aviation

The SOA has received over $1 million in both cash and equipment donations to aid in furthering education

Liberty University’s School of Aeronautics (SOA) has recently received donations to the program in the form of several aircrafts that will be used for student aviation training.

The SOA is making strides in the aviation industry. Dean of the SOA Gen. David Young believes this is partly due to valuable support and substantial donations that the program receives.

Aircraft — Jodi Jacob, a junior aviation student, examines the features of a newly-donated plane. Photo credit: Carter Bowns

The flight team recently won the National Intercollegiate Flight Association regional tournament for the eighth consecutive year. Liberty professor Kurt Reesman was also accepted into the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airman Testing Standards and Training Working Group.

“We’ve been very blessed with both cash and donated equipment,” Young said. “To date, we have received over a million dollars from donors in both cash and equipment.”

The Piper Super Cub, donated in 2010, carries with it a unique history. According to Young, the plane’s previous owners were Martin and Gracia Burham, who were imprisoned in the Philippines for one year. Martin was killed in a rescue attempt. Donated by Gracia, “the SOA uses the plane as a tailwheel trainer for students, and is very special to us,” Young said.

Three other donations were made this year.

Donated by Lane Lee of Minot, ND, a Piper Cherokee that was used to train potential flight instructors is now being used to train aircraft mechanics in the Aviation Management Technical Services program, Young said.

George Arthun, the uncle of SOA dispatcher Amanda Spence, donated a Cessna 172 that is currently being used as a standard flight training aircraft, according to Young.

Dynamic Aviation is an aircraft and aviation solutions provider that employs several of the SOA’s graduates and with which the SOA has a strong relationship. They donated a Beechcraft King Air, which will also be used to train aircraft mechanics, Young said.

Other supporters have also stepped forward and indicated that they will be donating aircraft to the SOA.

David Lowe, whose father owned a 1931 Travel Air biplane, has agreed to give it to the SOA for a very unique purpose. Once the SOA and Freedom Aviation have restored the aircraft to flying condition, there is interest in entering it as a participant in the annual Air Race Classic ladies’ annual race across the country. Travel Air was actually the winning aircraft in the first 1929 race. In 2012, the SOA fielded two teams in the race for the first time and has already selected the teams for 2013.

All aircraft received through donation are evaluated to determine any associated cost for preparation and how to best incorporate them into the SOA, according to Young.
The SOA may also be receiving a 1973 Piper Cherokee, which they will evaluate for potential use, Young said.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *