Falwell Aviation cofounder dies at 94

LYNCHBURG (WSLS 10) - Planes flew over a Lynchburg cemetery on Wednesday in a graveside salute to a man famous in the Virginia aviation community.

Lawrence Falwell, 94, passed away Saturday. Falwell founded an airport with his late brother Calvin Falwell in 1946.

The Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame inducted Lawrence in 1991, five years after inducting Calvin. The brothers were first cousins of the late Jerry Falwell. Lawrence would fly Jerry all over to preach in the early days of Jerry's ministry.

"I don't know that dad could have gotten around and done the things that he did without Lawrence and Calvin's aviation pioneering," said Jerry Falwell Jr.  "It really made a big difference in my father's ministry."

Liberty University purchased Falwell Aviation in 2009.  Falwell Jr. said Lawrence's aviation legacy lives on in the university's aeronautics program.

"What they did with a hillside building Falwell Airport. It's hard to imagine anyone could even land a plane, but they built the runway right there on the hillside and it's been successful all these years," said Falwell Jr.  "His family has a lot to be proud of."

Lawrence Falwell was once recognized for not having a single accident in 50 years of flying and was a designated FAA flight examiner.

Pastor Jonathan Falwell was one of the officiants at Lawrence's funeral.