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Aviation maintenance technicians commissioned to become leaders in a growing industry

School of Aeronautics Dean Dr. Rick Roof congratulates one of the 30 Aviation Maintenance Technician Program (AMTP) graduates in the two August classes on Friday in the School of Business’ Towns Auditorium. (Photos by KJ Jugar)

The Liberty University School of Aeronautics celebrated the latest graduates of the Aviation Maintenance Technician Program (AMTP) on Friday during a commencement ceremony held in the School of Business Towns Auditorium.

The 30 graduates, who were split into two classes, completed 1,900 hours of instruction over the course of the 12-month program, including 1,100 hours of hands-on training and 800 hours in the classroom.

David Parish, an AMTP instructor at Liberty who has worked with Mission Aviation Fellowship in Central and Southeast Asia, served as the keynote speaker.

Liberty AMTP Instructor David Parish delivered the commencement address.

“As aircraft mechanics, we have this great opportunity to take an airplane apart, fix it, put it back together, and have this great sense of satisfaction when we see people get in that airplane and fly away … and know they’re going to get from destination A to destination B safely,” he said. “I am very confident that many of you are going to go out into the industry and become leaders … having a learning attitude (and) a humble heart (like) Christ, the One who showed us true servant leadership.”

Liberty’s AMTP program began in 2010. Graduates earn their A&P (Airframe and Powerplant) ratings as they are trained on how to maintain aircraft systems, including electronics, turbine engines, and flight systems. They leave prepared to test for their aircraft mechanic certification, with nearly 100 percent of graduates receiving job placements with regional airlines, aviation maintenance facilities, and aircraft manufacturers.

“It is an accelerated program, but all of our classes graduate proficient in their field, and these two classes have continued on the legacy of our former students,” AMTP Director Don Trent said. “Our graduates are known for being technically qualified but also dependable, hardworking, honest employees who our employers like to have.”

Graduates show their enthusiasm after completing the 12-month program that required 1,900 hours of instruction, both hands-on and in the classroom.

About half of the AMTP graduates continue their education at Liberty while the other half go straight into the industry. The School of Aeronautics also offers an A.A. in Aviation Maintenance Technology and online B.S. in Aeronautics, Aviation Maintenance Management, equipping graduates for leadership and management roles with faith-based mission aviation organizations as well as in corporate, commercial, and general aviation settings.

The AMTP program continues to grow to meet industry demands. Another 54 students will begin this month, targeting August 2023 completion. Commercial experts from Boeing estimated in 2019 that there would be a worldwide need for more than 739,000 new aviation maintenance technicians by 2039.

“Our maintenance technician school is as good as any in the country,” said School of Aeronautics Dean Dr. Rick Roof. “It certainly has a unique reputation of being able to deliver that instruction in 12 months, which is unheard of, and with rigor and excellence. The employers who hire our graduates as fast as we can train them up tell us that they’re not only well prepared technically, but they’re well prepared in character.”

Graduates took part in the bolt torqueing ceremony, an AMTP tradition representing the completion of assembling an aircraft component, or in this case their maintenance technician degree, assisted by lab technicians Nate Calhoun (August Class A) and Easton Carter (August Class B).

A Liberty AMTP instructor watches the ceremony in the Towns Auditorium.

Several graduates were recognized with awards. This year’s Wesley Carpenter Award winners — given to graduates exemplifying integrity, humility, helpfulness, reliability, and mechanical aptitude — were Joshua Schilinski from the August A class and Taylor Deem from the August B class. The Golden Wrench Awards, given to the students with the highest grade-point averages, were Ax Bamba from the A class and Ben Emerick from the B class. Jacob Armstrong had the best attendance record from the A class, missing only 1.9 out of 1,900 hours, while Raul Cruz, who only missed 0.4 hours all year, was awarded for best attendance in the B class.

I’m always amazed by the young men and women that God brings here,” Roof said. “We believe that we are called to Train Champions for Christ and to send them out into the world to be difference-makers.”

Seven graduates completed the program through Piedmont Airlines’ Maintenance Technician Tuition Payment Program, which has a partnership with Liberty and other programs in the region. Students apply and interview with Piedmont. If chosen, they make a two-year commitment to work at Piedmont, a regional carrier for American Airlines with facilities in Richmond and Roanoke, Va., Albany, N.Y., Harrisburg, Pa., and Salisbury, Md.

“We’re excited about where it can go in the future,” said Jacob Cozart, a Piedmont Airlines Maintenance Recruiter for the Charlotte (N.C.) metro area, who attended the graduation ceremony.

Liberty has partnered with Piedmont since 2010. The airline provided Sonic Tools toolboxes to students in in 2019, saving each approximately $5,000.


August AMTP graduates

Class A

A graduate in the August A class walks off the stage with certificate in hand.

Jacob Paul Armstrong

Ax Kodai Bamba

Daniel Nicholas Barrios

Andrew Joseph Beck

Ryan Matthew Berndt*

Devon Lee Brigman*

Grayson Price Fortney

Nicholas Adrian Heath*

Jared Dalton Marshall

Wesley Allan Post

Silas Elliot Roth

Joshua John Schilinski

Quinn Christian Trautman*

William David Elijah Ward

Charles Lindsey Watt


Class B

Raul Antonio Cruz

Taylor Andrew Deem

Benjamin Clifton Emerick*

Michael Anthony Gibson

Darrell Glenn Goss III

Emilee M.E.G. Harlow

Vivec James

Tyler Robert Kane*

Emmett Redmond Maritato

Rennise Mbeda Nyaoro

Wilson Noe Orellana Saravia*

Maxwell E. Ozanne

Isaac Christopher Parish

Alexandria Delaney Riva

Maquire Allen Wood


*Piedmont scholarship recipients

Classes No. 31 (in blue) and No. 32 (in tan) of Liberty’s Aviation Maintenance Technician Program pose in the hangar of the central campus on Airpark Drive in Lynchburg, Va. (Photo by Mark Rio/AMTP Lab Technician)
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