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Military helicopters receive warm welcome at community event

July 30, 2014 : By Dan Bolton/Liberty University News Service

Military helicopters land at Lynchburg Regional Airport.

Three OH-58 Kiowa helicopters land at Freedom Aviation to a warm community reception hosted by Liberty University School of Aeronautics.

Military personnel are greeted at Lynchburg Regional Airport.
Members of the community greet military personnel as they arrive at Freedom Aviation during a "Support Our Military" event on Tuesday, July 29.

Freedom Aviation Jet Center, a fixed-base operator (FBO) at the Lynchburg Regional Airport and key support for Liberty University School of Aeronautics, sponsored a “Support Our Military” event on Tuesday, July 29. The community affair welcomed military personnel to Lynchburg and kicked off with waves of helicopters landing at the FBO.

The soldiers were participating in a multiday training mission and Lynchburg was designated as an overnight stop. They had no idea a crowd waving American flags would be waiting for them just outside the tarmac. It was a surprise they will not soon forget.

“When we heard that military helicopters were flying in, we thought it was a perfect opportunity for the community to show their appreciation,” said Jennifer Fritschle, a project manager for Freedom Aviation. “We are trying to promote general aviation to the community, and this was another chance for us to offer the public an up-close view of our industry.”

Altogether, 14 helicopters arrived between 3 and 6 p.m. A food truck and a face painter were also onsite.

Families from across the region attended the event. Kevin Davis attended with his wife, Bethany, and their 4-year-old son.

“I think it is good for us to support all of the people who serve our country. It is good for them to know that there are people at home praying for them,” he said. “Also, it is great for our son. Anytime there is a chance for him to see planes or helicopters, we take advantage of it.”

The School of Aeronautics often hosts events through which the community can learn about the field of aviation. It recently cohosted the annual “Women Can Fly” event with Freedom Aviation where attendees took free rides in private planes, toured Lynchburg’s Air Traffic Control Tower, and experienced Liberty’s state-of-the-art simulators.

Liberty University School of Aeronautics offers a concentration in military aviation, as well as Commercial/Corporate Aviation, Missions Aviation, and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) in its Bachelor of Science degree program. For more on other programs offered through the School of Aeronautics, visit www.Liberty.edu/Aeronautics.

An army helicopter passes Liberty University's Center for Medical and Health Sciences as it prepares to land at Freedom Aviation.

Liberty University's Center for Medical and Health Sciences provides a backdrop for this military helicopter as it prepares to land at Lynchburg Regional Airport.