Liberty University School of Aeronautics has already soared higher than expectations, growing from four students to more than 200 in the last seven years. Liberty announced today that the acquisition of a local aviation business will take the largest flight school in the Commonwealth of Virginia even higher.
Effective Jan. 1, 2010, the School of Aeronautics will acquire the facilities and equipment of Falwell Aviation, located at Lynchburg Regional Airport.
This purchase will put the aeronautics program steps ahead of its already aggressive plans to build a facility of its own at the airport, said Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr.
“The purchase will be much more economical for the university than building a facility,” he said. “It will take Liberty University School of Aeronautics in one year to the status it had hoped to attain in the next decade.”
The School of Aeronautics kicked off a $10 million fundraising drive in April 2008 to finance a new 80,000-square-foot building, airplanes and support facilities.
Dave Young, dean of the School of Aeronautics, said acquiring Falwell Aviation is an instant blessing, providing Liberty with a 55,500-square-foot facility consisting of three aircraft maintenance and storage hangars, maintenance workspace, flight operations, classrooms, aircraft dispatch, student study areas and customer service facilities for charter passengers and transient aircraft. It also includes five aircraft for student pilots.
He said acquiring the local aviation business creates a unique organization that rarely exists in a university-level aviation program.
“It provides opportunities for our students to practice their aviation skills in a first-class charter flight and maintenance operation while pursuing their education goals,” he said. "They will be well prepared to compete for jobs when they graduate."
|Liberty University’s School of Aeronautics also held a ribbon-cutting this week for its new Aviation Maintenance Technician program located at the old Plaza Shopping Center in Lynchburg. Chancellor Falwell, School of Aeronautics administrators and an FAA representative dedicated the facility. The FAA certified the program earlier this month. The inaugural class of aircraft mechanics will begin Jan. 4. The program will be included in the move to the newly acquired Falwell Aviation facilities at the airport.|
Liberty’s School of Aeronautics is already the second largest faith-based university level flight school in the U.S. Young said the new facility is “a very significant stepping stone to achieving our vision of being a program of excellence producing Christian pilots, aircraft mechanics, and graduates who will be prepared to be leaders in the aviation industry, commercial airlines, the military and missionary aviation.”
Falwell Aviation was founded by Calvin and Lawrence Falwell more than 60 years ago and has provided aviation services including flight training, maintenance, and aircraft charter to individuals and businesses in the Lynchburg area. (While the name is the same, it was never owned by the family of Dr. Jerry Falwell; owners have been distant relatives.)
Young said he is excited to see how the newly acquired facility will enhance aviation services for the region.
“I believe Lynchburg Regional Airport’s best days are ahead,” he said.” The synergy created by the melding of Falwell Aviation with the LU School of Aeronautics will be a major contributing factor to the future success of aviation in Lynchburg and the Commonwealth of Virginia.”