The aviation department at Indian Hills Community College has really taken off in recent months.

IHCC has been the recipient of two large gifts that will help train current and future students for careers in the aviation field.

In January, the college received a jet engine from Federal Express. The Pratt and Whitney JT8D TurboJet engine is used on such aircrafts like the DC9, the 727 and the 737.

A former student, who graduated from the aviation maintenance program more than 20 years ago, and now works at Fed Ex, suggested the company donate the engine.

“This will allow our students to train on the most popular commercial jet engine ever made,” said Darrell Downing, aviation program chairman for IHCC, adding that obtaining the used engine would have cost the college “half a million dollars.”

But that gift was the just beginning.

Last month, the college was gifted a General Electric CF6-6 Bypass Turbofan jet engine — the same engine that powers jumbo jets like the 747 and the DC-10.

Again, a former student, who now owns a company that purchases and sells engines to airline companies, discovered that while the engine could not be certified for airline use, it was too good to let go, so IHCC got the call.

Purchasing a used 747 jet engine like this would of cost the college at least $1.5 million.

“We probably have more contact with our graduates than the average [college] program,” said Downing earlier this year.

It’s clear that the impact the program has had on its students over the years has benefited so many.

Companies are seeking out quality and well-trained aviation students from IHCC. Those students and companies, in turn, are repaying the aviation program with valuable gifts that will benefit current and future students.

Southern Iowa should be proud of the IHCC Aviation Department, its instructors, staff and students. They are truly flying high!

Trending Video

Recommended for you