A plane comes in during land exercise at the Region X NIFA Competition at the Franklin Airport. The schools represented are Averett University, Liberty University and Guilford College.  -- SUBMITTED | ASHLEY COTTON
A plane comes in during land exercise at the Region X NIFA Competition at the Franklin Airport. The schools represented are Averett University, Liberty University and Guilford College.  -- SUBMITTED | ASHLEY COTTON

Archived Story

Liberty University wins first at Franklin airport

Published 11:31am Friday, October 25, 2013

FRANKLIN—Off they go into the wild blue yonder. They being the members of Liberty University’s flight team, which won first place in the National Intercollegiate Flying Association Region 10 competition. The event was hosted last weekend by the Franklin Municipal-John Beverly Rose Airport.

“It went really well,” said Ernie Rogers, chief judge for the competition. “The Franklin airport was awesome, and the weather was perfect on Thursday and Friday.”

Liberty earned 241 points in flight events and 185 points in ground events, according to a report by Drew Menard, staff writer at Liberty’s news office

This win enables the Liberty group to go onto the national championship air meet, which will be hosted by Ohio State University in May.

Averett University came in second place, and Gilford Institute of Technology was third, said Rogers, also the associate dean of LU Aeronautics.

“They (Gilford) were really neat,” he added. “They won the Red Baron award for team sportsmanship and safety award. Their coach, Audrey Floyd, was named coach of the year.”

Linda Mathias of Norfolk, a fellow judge, was also pleased with the teams’ performances.

“They did well,” she said. “Unfortunately, only the three teams showed up. The United States Naval Academy and Elizabeth State University had to cancel.”

“There was gorgeous weather and we were done in record time,” Mathias continued. “The students did fine, and there no problems that caused anybody to be disqualified.”

She also noted there was a lot of camaraderie among all three schools.

Further, she praised airport manager Jimmy Gray for his work and even sense of play.

“Jimmy noticed two years ago the students didn’t have anything to do between tests, so he organized a cornhole game,” Mathias said. “That really promoted interaction between them. It was a good addition.”

She also looks forward to whenever the NIFA Region 10 competition returns here.

“Franklin is a great place to do it,” Mathias said.

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