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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 eighteen 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 18 years
  • 4 time recipient of the Loening Trophy at the National Competition
  • 3 time recipient of the American Airlines Safety Award

Past Region X Competitors

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

Flight Team Advisor

Ian Dutkus serves as the LU NIFA team advisor and Chloe Cady 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. In total, the competition holds 27 events which either are common maintenance tasks or they feature new technology/tools to aerospace maintenance. Some of the events commonly featured are FedEx Safety Wiring, United Fuel Tank Entry Precautions, StandardAero Engine Fan Blade Removal, and many more.

The AMC is able to accommodate 90 teams, about 30 of which are school teams. The remaining teams are made up of military and industry professionals. Liberty University School of Aeronautics Aviation Maintenance Technician Program has participated in the AMC since 2016.

Liberty’s team has been honored with several awards at the AMC, including winning the United Airlines “Competing with Professionalism” award. Since United Airlines began awarding it in 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 three of the six times that it has been offered.

The last four years of competition, Liberty placed third in the school category behind schools such as Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, West Los Angeles College, Tulsa Tech, and MIAT College of Technology. 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


June 30, 2021: Liberty University News Service

Both Liberty Belles teams finish in top half of Air Race Derby field » Liberty News

June 3, 2021: Liberty University News Service

NIFA team wins Certified Flight Instructor competition at virtual SAFECON event


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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