Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Aeronautics accepts plane donation

The Liberty School of Aeronautics (SOA) has recently accepted a 1931 Travel Air Plane, the same one to win the Powder Puff Air Derby, which would later become the Air Race Classic, back in 1929. This race was the first solely women’s air race. David Lowe, an avid pilot whose goal is to promote aviation and future pilots, donated the plane.

Taking off — The plane will be ready in 2014. Photo provided

“Our program has been substantially built on the generosity of many supporters who believe in the future of aviation and in our team,” Dean of Liberty’s SOA Gen. David Young said. “The donation of the Travel Air is demonstrative of the continued support we receive and will enable us to further our goal of being one of the premier university aviation programs in the U.S.”

The Liberty Belles, the women aviation team, will enter the plane in the 2014 Air Race Classic. The team first competed in the race in 2012 and will also enter in 2013.

“In 2012, the Liberty Belles performed admirably for a first-time entry. We learned a tremendous amount and will build upon that knowledge to be extremely competitive in 2013,” Chief Dispatcher Alessandra Boardman said.

Liberty has two teams that compete in the race, each consisting of two pilots. In addition, there is a ground crew made up of women volunteers who participate in the aviation program.

Although Young believes the plane is a great addition to the aviation school, there is a lot of work to be done before it is ready to fly in 2014.

“The plane is completely disassembled and will take considerable effort by dedicated and committed volunteers from the School of Aeronautics and Freedom Aviation,” Young said.

The Air Race Classic is a non-profit organization that caters to women pilots and hosts a transcontinental speed competition held each year. The 2013 race will be held June 18-21 and will start in Pasco, Wash.

For more information on the School of Aeronautics or the Liberty Belles, contact Coach Sarah Morris at smorris39@liberty.edu.

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