Liberta Lends a Hand

Lynn Instructor Helps College And Bahamas

Aviation instructor Dominic Liberta led the College of Aeronautics’ fleet of planes away from Hurricane Dorian, helped evacuate Bahamians and flew supplies to the impacted islands.

When powerful hurricanes such as Dorian approach Florida, Lynn’s College of Aeronautics has two options. They could either leave the planes secured in the airport and risk the potential damages or they can fly the planes out of the storm’s path. After a plane took severe damage from a storm several years ago, the College of Aeronautics decided to fly out their planes for any future hurricanes.

Liberta, assistant chief flight instructor for the College of Aeronautics, led Lynn’s fleet of five SkyHawk planes and one Beechcraft Bonanza on their journey away from Dorian. If the college flies out their planes for a storm, they must keep the planes out of the storm’s cone of uncertainty for insurance purposes. The fleet originally planned to stay in Charlotte, N.C., but Dorian’s constantly changing cone of uncertainty forced the fleet to adjust their course.

“[The trip] was strenuous in the sense that you always have to look on the hurricane’s website and figure out where the storm is going, but the flying part of it was routine for us,” said Liberta.

The fleet first stopped in Charlotte where Liberta and other flight instructors enjoyed some time at Carowinds, a local amusement park, before traveling to Nashville, Tenn. to avoid the cone of uncertainty. The instructors visited the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville and the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Fla. before eventually returning to Boca Raton.

Though Boca Raton and the college’s planes remained safe, Hurricane Dorian devastated parts of the Bahamas. Liberta and some of his colleagues have spent their spare time flying family members, friends, and locals out of the Abaco islands, which are still largely unlivable, and into Nassau.

“The Abaco islands are on the status of evacuation. They aren’t really living-safe. On my own time with other people I know who fly, I was flying out families and friends that live there,” said Liberta.

In addition to flying evacuees to safety, Liberta, his colleagues in the College of Aeronautics and his friend Thomas Furey collected and transported supplies for the Bahamas.

“We’ve been taking supplies to Freeport. Freeport is more industry-focused, and they’ve got a lot of flooding,” said Liberta. “[Thomas] has a mate who’s lost everything, house included. No supplies, kids are in the same clothes. A group of people in the college got supplies together and flew them to Freeport. We gave the family supplies, and the family gave a lot of their supplies to the neighbors as well.”

Liberta and Furey’s efforts provided much-needed transportation and supplies for the Bahamian people, but Liberta urges everyone to keep the Bahamas in their hearts and minds as time goes on. The Bahamian people will still need support several months from now, even if mass-media has moved on to the next story.

“If anybody is looking to support them, in a few months from now, go visit,” said Liberta. “They survive off of tourism. The way that you can help them out big time is to go and visit.”

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