Inside Ivy Tech: Sky’s the limit

Retired corporate jet to offer unprecedented training opportunities

Ivy Tech Northeast formally recognized the recent donation of a retired corporate jet to its Aviation Maintenance Technology program during “Ivy Tech Takes Flight” on April 17. The two-pilot, 10-passenger Sabreliner will provide students with hands-on access to study the aircraft’s avionics, or advanced electrical system.

As Ivy Tech Community College Northeast extends gratitude to the numerous benefactors, community leaders, and elected officials whose combined efforts helped secure a retired corporate jet for its Aviation Maintenance Technology program,  the College would be remiss not to include Google.

Yes, that Google.

For it was a Google Alert notification on his work computer that inspired Sabreliner Aviation’s director of marketing, David Meske, to attend “Ivy Tech Takes Flight.” The donor recognition event on April 17 showcased the two-pilot, 10-passenger Sabreliner jet at the Ivy Tech Aviation Center—the aircraft’s permanent new home.

With minimal notice, Meske flew to Fort Wayne from the company’s headquarters in Perryville, Mo., to partake.

“It’s great to see how much Ivy Tech is putting into the next generation of aviation mechanics and engineers since many people in the industry are retiring,” Meske says.

Sabreliner Aviation is the modern-day iteration of North American Aviation, an iconic manufacturer of midsized commercial and military jets dating back to the late 1950s. The Sabreliner series is named for its similarity to the wings and tail of North American’s F-86 Sabre jet fighter.

Beginning this summer, aviation maintenance technology majors will benefit from training on the Sabreliner, which exceeds industry standards and requirements; similar programs rely solely on mock-up equipment and textbooks for training.

Click on image for caption info.

“We could not be more thankful for our generous donors and the widespread community support,” says Oliver Barie, executive director of resource development. “The Sabreliner will change the lives of our students and help create a better Indiana, which is exactly what we aim to do as a college.”

This new gift is now not only the largest aircraft in the program’s fleet, but it is also one that represents an “open skies” frontier on many levels.

“The Sabreliner has complex systems comparable to an airliner. Airliners are a major part of the aviation community, and they provide a wider range of job opportunities, from being an aircraft mechanic to being an aircraft systems engineer,” says Satya Sunkavalli, a 2015 aviation maintenance technology graduate who was selected to be a student speaker at the event.

Aviation Maintenance Technology Chair Michael Clouse says another benefit with the donation will be Ivy Tech Northeast’s ability to develop a new program concentration in avionics—the detailed study of electronic systems on aircraft.

The proposed concentration would be an option that adds another semester of course work and training following the completion of an associate degree and passing select Federal Aviation Administration tests.

“Many newly licensed airframe and powerplant graduates are seeking specialized training in avionics to enhance their employment opportunities,” Clouse says. “The complexity of the systems on the Sabreliner provides us with some of the necessary equipment to develop this new concentration and offer advanced training,” Clouse says.

The program currently has more than 90 students enrolled, with about 20 of them being high school students from Fort Wayne Community Schools’ Career Academy at Anthis.

Share a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s