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Competition Teams

NIFA Flight Team


The Liberty University’s School of Aeronautics is a member of the National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA), and our flight team has taken part in annual competitions on both regional and national levels since 2002. The team has won their regional competition (Region X) for the last seventeen years.

About NIFA

“The National Intercollegiate Flying Association exists as a forum for collegiate aviators to expand their studies and further their careers by participating in competitive and non-competitive events, networking with industry and contemporaries, and applying themselves to go above-and-beyond their ordinary curriculum.”


  • Won the Regional (Region X) Competition for the last 17 years
  • Awarded the Loening Trophy at the National Competition May 2017, 2018 & 2019
  • American Airlines Safety Award for 3 years (2016, 2017, 2018)

Past Region X Competitors

  • Averett University
  • Guilford Community and Technical College
  • Elizabeth City State University
  • Hampton University
  • United States Naval Academy

Flight Team Advisor

Katie Gallagher serves as the LU NIFA team advisor and Joshua Engberg serves as the team’s head coach. Both staff members accompany the team to all competitions to provide support for flight and ground events.

Liberty Belles Flight Team

Air Race Classic (ARC)

The Air Race Classic is an all-female cross-country flight competition that tests the skills of female pilots from across the country. Each summer, 50+ participants compete in the four-day race usually comprised of a route spanning the United States.

The Liberty University School of Aeronautics’ team, the Liberty Belles, are current SOA students or instructors. They go through a rigorous selection process to be nominated as SOA’s racers. The School of Aeronautics has competed in this historic competition since 2012.

Aviation Maintenance Competition Team

The Aerospace Maintenance Competition (AMC) offers an opportunity for professionals and students in the field of Aerospace Maintenance to compete in a series of timed events highlighting various tasks found in the maintenance industry.

This competition allows students an opportunity to test their skills while also being exposed to what the Aerospace Maintenance industry has to offer. More than 90 teams competed in the 2019 AMC. Almost 30 of those were school teams. Liberty University School of Aeronautics Aviation Maintenance Technician Program has participated in the Aerospace Maintenance Competition since 2016.

Liberty’s team has been honored with several awards at the Aerospace Maintenance Competition, including winning the United Airlines “Competing with Professionalism” award. Since United Airlines began awarding it 2017, this award has recognized a team chosen by the competition judges for competing with integrity, sportsmanship, and professionalism in addition to skill. Liberty has won the “Competing with Professionalism” award two of the three times that it has been offered.

In 2019, Liberty placed third in the school category behind Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and West Los Angeles College. Other school teams competing in the AMC include Broward College, Salt Lake Community College, Aviation Institute of Maintenance, and Pittsburg Institute of Aeronautics. Among the 60+ competing professional teams are United Airlines, American Airlines, Pratt & Whitney, FedEx, the United States Air Force, the United States Army, and the United States Coast Guard.

Flight Team News


October 21, 2019: Liberty University News Service

School of Aeronautics Takes Win at Regional Competition for 15th Consecutive Year


June 21, 2019: Liberty University News Service

Flight teams end race in Canada, share special moment with women’s aviation pioneer



February 27, 2018: Liberty University News Service

Aeronautics program recognized for national award at Virginia State Capitol


November 9, 2017: Liberty University News Service

Flight Team soars to 13th straight regional title


June 15, 2017: Liberty University News Service

Liberty Belles to champion women in aviation at annual Air Race Classic

May 19, 2017: Liberty University News Service

Liberty flight team named outstanding overall program at nationals


November 10, 2016: Liberty University News Service

Flight team extends regional title streak to 12

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