The Liberty University School of Aeronautics recently acquired its first aircraft that is 100 percent owned by the university. The Cessna 172SP G1000 Skyhawk was purchased directly from Cessna Aircraft Company. With the tail number N701LU, it is the first of the “700 series” that will be used to identify all planes from the School of Aeronautics.
The plane was purchased on May 16, just as the university’s flight team was participating in the National Intercollegiate Flying Association Nationals in Salina, KS. Manufactured just a few hours away in Independence, KS, the plane was flown to the competition so Liberty students could have the first chance to check it out. Two students had the honor of flying it back to campus. “The motivation of stepping into a brand new aircraft that smells like a new car increases the level of excellence in our program. The students are extremely positive about the opportunity to fly new aircraft,” said retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Dave Young, dean of the School of Aeronautics.
The plane was used recently when senior Jacob Hilt from Charlton, MA, and instructor Nathan Edwards assisted with a search and rescue for a CGS Hawk Arrow 2 experimental aircraft that went down over the weekend in Amherst County, VA. John Marselus, associate dean for flight operations, said the Cessna purchase is another sign that the aeronautics program is exceeding expectations. When he arrived in the summer of 2010, there were 90 students on the flight line; in January, there were more than 180.
After leasing its aircraft from private owners, Liberty has decided to pursue ownership of its entire fleet of training aircraft. (Image provided by Liberty University)