Friday, May 24, 2013

New training aircraft lands at Western Nebraska Community College

Friday, May 24, 2013 3:30 am

By JOE DUTTON,  Star-Herald

SIDNEY — Western Nebraska Community College has added a new component in the aviation program that will help students gain the hands-on training they need for their future careers to really take off.

On Wednesday, the Sidney campus got a 1981 Cessna 550 Citation II aircraft for the aviation program. The jet was flown into Sidney from Melbourne, Fla., after it was inspected by WNCC aviation instructor Jon Leever. WNCC acquired the jet from World Aviation in Orange Park, Fla., for $415,000 with help from the U.S. Department of Labor Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grants Program.

WNCC Vice President of Administrative Services Bill Knapper said the college was looking to purchase an airplane within the $400,000 to $495,000 price range that represented the best value to the college.

The college reviewed various used aircraft from across the nation. After numerous bids were submitted, the college negotiated the purchase price of $415,000, of which $316,500 is non-college funds, including 55 percent from the TAACCCT grant.

Knapper said the new jet’s airframe has more than 7,000 hours of flying time, 5,163 landings and less than 20 hours left on the engines, making it a good fit for the college.

“We picked up a piece of equipment that’s in real nice shape,” he said. “It was an older airframe, needed engines updated and so we were able to pick it up at a fair price.”

Knapper said the jet will never fly again, but will be used only for ground operations. The jet will immediately be used by students next year and will help WNCC become more competitive with other aviation schools in the area.

The new jet will help potential aircraft mechanics learn body and engine maintenance before they go into the aviation industry. Knapper said the purchase of the jet would keep the program up-to- date because of its modern components.

“It will be a very attractive machine to hopefully help recruit students into the program to know they will be able to work on a piece of equipment that has deicing equipment, retractable landing gear and turbine engines,” he said.

Leever said he looks forward to working on the jet this fall, and said it will help students become more viable for the workplace.

“This aircraft is going to be able to give the students so much more hands-on experience and it is something larger than we are used to,” Leever said. “It’s going to be a tremendous benefit for the students.”

WNCC plans to purchase other aviation equipment through the TAACCCT grant, including specialized tools, carburetors, starters, a used single-engine propeller plane, tow bars and a piston engine for demonstrations.

“It’s imperative that we train our students not only on piston engines, but turbine engines. This will update the program and will assist students for several years into the future,” Knapper said.

Story and Photo:

No comments:

Post a Comment