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 fourteen years, most recently at the Region X 2018 competition hosted by Liberty University.
“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 14 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
- Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute
- Hampton University
- Lenoir Community College
- United States Naval Academy
Flight Team Advisor
Director of Flight Training Jerry Wangberg serves as the LU NIFA team advisor and Katie Wagner serves as the team’s head coach. Both staff members accompany the team to all competitions to provide support for flight and ground events.
NIFA Regionals 2019
October 16 – October 19, 2019
NIFA Nationals 2020
May 18 – May 23, 2020
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.