Liberty University

Jan. 13, 2016

Looking to expand its aviation programs, which are now based at Virginia’s Lynchburg Regional Airport (LYH), Liberty University (LU) recently purchased nearby New London Airport (W90).

Liberty’s long-term plan is to make the 133-acre airport, with its single 3,164-foot paved runway, into a hands-on learning lab for pilots, maintenance technicians and students in other programs, such as aviation management, as well as a magnet for regional economic development. LU has a School of Aeronautics with certificate, associate’s degree and bachelor degree programs.

“We see this as an opportunity to craft an environment that not only supports general aviation in Central Virginia, but will attract aviation-related businesses to the region and support economic development and provide employment opportunities for our graduates,” said David Young, assistant provost of aeronautics education at LU.

Starting with four students 12 years ago, enrollment in Liberty’s aviation programs is approaching 1,000, with the bulk of them pursuing professional pilot degrees in one of four tracks: corporate/commercial, missionary support, military and unmanned aircraft systems.

The airport acquisition “supports our vision for growth and development to provide exceptionally qualified professionals to meet the ever-increasing employment demand of the aviation industry,” said Young. “We will be able to create a learning environment where students are able to practice the skills they learn in the classroom, making them even more sought after to fill critical positions in the aviation industry.”

New London will follow the Lynchburg model, where LU owns and operates Freedom Aviation, an FBO at Lynchburg Regional. The FBO provides revenue for the school and gives students access to industry experience.

“We will operate New London as a general aviation airport, providing fuel, maintenance, hangar rental, and flight instruction, maintaining an environment where veteran pilots can feel at home,” said Young.

While the New London Airport will be used primarily for aviation, Liberty University is exploring cross-disciplinary partnerships with its School of Engineering & Computational Sciences and its School of Business “to create a ‘center for excellence’ where students from different departments can collaborate within the context of a functioning business,” said Young.

Learn more about LU’s School of Aeronautics.