Spirit Airlines partners with Liberty University to expand pilot program

A Spirit Airlines model with a Liberty University Cessna 172.
Photo Credit: Spirit Airlines

Virginia’s Liberty University is to become the tenth flight training institution to join Spirit Airlines Spirit Wings Pilot Pathway program.

Spirit Wings Pilot Pathway

Spirit Airlines has taken a further step towards expanding its cadre of professional pilots. This partnership with Liberty University, located in the picturesque Lynchburg, Virginia, marks a notable occasion for both institutions.

Liberty University becomes the 10th distinguished partner to join the Spirit Wings Pilot Pathway program, an initiative designed to accelerate graduates’ journey to the flight deck and embark on a fulfilling career as a Spirit First Officer.

Spirit Airlines and Liberty University with a Cessna 172 trainer.
Photo Credits: Spirit Airlines

Ryan Rodosta, Senior Director of Flight Operations and System Chief Pilot at Spirit Airlines, reflects on the journey, saying,

“We put a lot of hard work into developing the Spirit Wings Pilot Pathway program and assembling a great group of partners making it incredibly rewarding to reach this key milestone.”


“Liberty University offers a premier pilot training program designed to provide graduates with the skills to lead in the aviation field, and Spirit’s growth creates opportunities for those graduates to achieve their dreams with us.”

The Pathway for Applicants

For students at Liberty University pursuing an aviation degree, the Spirit Wings Pilot Pathway program opens a door of exciting possibilities. Eligible candidates can apply for this program upon completing their sophomore year and obtaining a recommendation from a faculty member.

 Upon successful navigation of Spirit’s rigorous interview process, they will receive a conditional offer of employment, a Spirit Electronic Flight Bag (EFB), and invaluable mentorship throughout their journey, all while they continue their academic pursuits and accrue essential flight hours.

The program’s culmination occurs when these aspiring aviators meet the Restricted Airline Transport Pilot (R-ATP) minimum requirements.

At this stage, they must successfully complete the Spirit-funded and approved Airline Transport Pilot Certification Training Program (ATP CTP) and Jet Transition Course.

Graduates who successfully fulfill these program requirements will ascend to the esteemed position of a Spirit First Officer, realizing their aviation dreams.

Win-Win Partnership

Rick Roof, Dean of the School of Aeronautics at Liberty University, expresses his enthusiasm, stating, “We are delighted to join with Spirit Airlines as the 10th partner in their Spirit Wings Pilot Pathway program.”

“This partnership is a major step in creating exceptional opportunities for our graduates, providing selected Liberty-trained aviation professionals with a unique pathway directly to Spirit once they fulfill the necessary training and experience.”

“Spirit will gain access to pilots with exceptional technical skills and the character to be difference-makers in the aerospace industry.”

“Liberty Aeronautics graduates can become a member of the Spirit team where they will join a recognized leader in quality of life while flying some of the most advanced aircraft in the skies.”

“This is an incredible opportunity for our Champions to fulfill their aviation dreams, and their calling to serve.”

Flying with Spirit

Spirit Airlines pilots operate some of the newest and most fuel-efficient aircraft in the world, connecting passengers to over 90 destinations across the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

With plans to introduce eight new Airbus A321neo aircraft in 2023, aspiring First Officers can look forward to swift advancements in their careers.

Notably, Spirit’s Pilots recently approved a contract that includes significant pay increases and enhanced benefits, making this career path even more enticing.

Additionally, Spirit Airlines takes pride in offering its Pilots industry-leading training and an exceptional quality of life.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
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