A mothballed jet airplane in Arizona soon will get a new lease on life as an instructional aid for aviation maintenance technican students at Will Rogers World Airport.
The Sabreliner 40, designated as T-39 in the military version, is being prepared for flight to Metro Tech's Aviation Career Center in Oklahoma City where students will learn more about jet airplanes.
When the plane arrives in mid-September, it will bring to about a dozen the number of aircraft now owned by the school, according to director Bob Jardee.
"We are interested in bringing our instruction to the corporate-level aircraft," Jardee said. "This will add to what we have and will allow us to achieve that level of training.
"There's not much difference between the systems on a Sabreliner and aircraft used on regional or commuter airlines, so this plane also will allow us to better prepare our students for that area of operations."
Until the Sabreliner arrives, the largest aircraft now owned by the school is a Beech KingAir, a twin-engine turbo-prop cabin-class airplane used by some smaller commuter airlines and many corporations.
The school also has several single-engine and cabin-class twin-engine airplanes available for the students.
"We will use this in our aviation maintenance technician training in various ways," Jardee said. "Besides using it for our industry training division program we'll use it to teach inspection of heavier aircraft, gear retraction inspection, trouble shooting electrical systems on heavier aircraft and non-desturctive testing."
When the plane arrives, it will complement a mock-up of the Sabreliner electrical system the school is now using.
"Now we'll be able to have a totally integrated system," Jardee said. "We are fortunate to get any airplane, but we feel fortunate to get a plane of this quality and type."
The plane was donated by the U.S. General Services Administration, according to U.S. Rep. Glenn English, D-Okla.
"This is an extremely important development for Oklahoma City and our growing aviation industry," English said. "The Sabreliner is the center's first jet aircraft and will allow it to keep pace with technological changes in the field."
Although Jardee said he was pleased with the airplane, the first class, which started school in September 1988, will not get much benefit from it. The first class is scheduled to graduate in February and already has passed the point at which the Sabreliner will be used in instruction.
"The airplane will be here, they will be here and I'm sure they'll find someway to learn something from that airplane," Jardee said. "But the second and third groups probably will acheive more benefit from the plane than the first group."
Don Saunders, an instructor at the school, flew to Tucson, Ariz., Monday to supervise preparations for flying the plane back to Oklahoma City, Jardee said.
"He's got to watch them going through the depickling process, getting a ferry permit (from the Federal Aviation Administration) and hiring a contractor to bring the plane back," he said.
The airplane reportedly has been in mothballs at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base near Tucson for about 18 months, but is still in good condition, Jardee said. …