Liberty University and Spirit Airlines partner to launch Spirit Wings Pilot Pathway Program

Published: Sep. 22, 2023 at 6:32 AM EDT
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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - The next generation of pilots will have new opportunities to take to the skies with Spirit Airlines.

Spirit Airlines and Liberty University have partnered to launch the Spirit Wings Pilot Pathway Program at the university’s School of Aeronautics in Lynchburg. Liberty becomes the 10th partner to join Spirit’s collegiate pilot training program. The collaboration is set to not only grow Spirit’s pipeline of professional pilots, but will further career and training opportunities for students pursuing an aviation degree.

WDBJ spoke with the Dean of the School of Aeronautics, Rick Roof, who said students can apply for the program after finishing their sophomore year and obtaining a recommendation from a faculty member.

“They get mentorship, they get visits to some of the Spirit facilities and so they’re able to start preparing to move into the Spirit Airline family. Once they reach that 1000-hour limit, then they have to do some advanced jet training as you would imagine, but they can then move into the right seat of a major airliner. The more typical route for getting into the airlines is to go and fly for one of the regionals. But this is a unique opportunity in that the graduates, once they reach those required hours, can move directly into a major airline in the right seat serving with Spirit Airlines,” said Roof.

Roof said there is a tremendous shortage of pilots with over 600,000 expected in the next 20 years, according to Boeing’s estimate. It’s a gap he said the university is looking to fill by providing graduates with valuable opportunities and creating partnerships like this one.

To learn more about the program and application process visit