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Flight Team soars to 13th straight regional title

The Liberty University School of Aeronautics NIFA Flight Team is the National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) Region X champion for the 13th year in a row and has once again qualified for the Collegiate Flight National Championship competition at Indiana State University in April.

Liberty displayed matchless aviation skills, winning first place in nearly every category at the 2017 Region X SAFECON, hosted by Averett University Nov. 1-4 at Danville (Va.) Regional Airport. Schools competed in a series of ground and flight-based events, including preflight inspection, aircraft recognition, navigation, a comprehensive written exam, and various landing competitions.

Liberty’s Stevie Andros, a junior, received the coveted Top Pilot Award. Sophomore Will Knight earned first-place marks, and sophomore Isaac Davis took third in the Simulated Comprehensive Aircraft Navigation (SCAN) written exam, which covered planning issues for a proposed cross-country flight, including the aeronautical charts, weight and balance, weather considerations, fuel consumption, and aircraft performance.

Pilot John McFarland and drop master Sarah Long, both juniors, received first place in the message drop event, in which teams dropped a message container from an aircraft at 200 feet above the ground aiming at a ground target.

Liberty’s 2017-18 NIFA Flight Team (Photo by Kevin Manguiob)

Liberty team members also earned first-place honors for flight computer accuracy (Davis), ground trainer-simulator flight (Andros), preflight (Andros), short field landings (Alex Gerena with a combined distance on two landings of only 47 feet), and navigation (John McFarland/Seokjin Cho).

The team also earned the School Safety Award for the best overall flight safety program in Region X as well as the top combined score in both ground and flight events.

“Our team truly demonstrated that they are Champions for Christ and solidly defended their championship title and heritage,” said Tony Cihak, Liberty’s director of Flight Operations and the team’s faculty advisor. “I’m very proud of our men and women, and I’m very thankful for the support Liberty University continues to provide them. They have a desire to develop their aviation skills while honoring and glorifying Jesus Christ through aviation.”

In April 2018, at the NIFA National SAFECON, Liberty’s team will defend its claim to the prestigious Loening Trophy, awarded to the outstanding overall collegiate aviation program.

View complete results from last weekend’s tournament.

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