Local company donates plane

Canada’s biggest aircraft cargo company recently made a large donation to Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario. In fact, the donation is so large that it cannot fit into any conventional classroom.

Kelowna Flightcraft, a leading aircraft maintenance, modification and manufacturing organization donated a Boeing 727-100. The plane will be used to help Mohawk College with their growing aviation program and will provide students with a commercial aircraft for ‘hands on’ practical experience.

“We’ve got a large operation in Hamilton and employ over 200 people at the Hamilton airport,” says Grant Stevens, Director of Human Resources with Kelowna Flightcraft.

“So Mohawk College decided they wanted to get into aviation training back in 2008, and of course as the largest employer at the airport, they came to us and asked for support.”

The plane first went into operation in 1966. It was used as a commercial aircraft before being used by private companies for a number of years.

“The claim to fame on this aircraft, is Leona Helmsley owned it for about 10 years and flew it as a private jet.  And we came to acquire the aircraft about three years ago,” says Stevens.

“The challenge is not many people want to fly a private jet of that vintage nowadays so we basically stripped as much of the useable parts as we could to keep it serviceable and to support our fleet of 727’s. And then donated the frame and hull and a bunch of other parts to the college so that they could improve the training for their students.”

Stevens says the company has made large donations to schools in the past, and the only question is finding the right circumstances and the right mix.

“This was great because we had an airplane and it was really no longer suitable for flying operations and we had a school that was in need,” says Stevens.

“It was a great opportunity to pair the two together and make that donation and help support the program. So if we see some more opportunities, we wouldn’t hesitate to do it again in the future.”

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