Thanks to the generosity of a local pilot, Eastland-Fairfield will have a new teaching tool in its aviation program.
Eastland-Fairfield not only has a new building to house its Aviation program with the opening of the Engineering Technologies Center, but it also has a new aircraft that will soon taxi through its hangar doors. Thanks to the generosity of Dublin resident LeRoy Johnston, the Aviation program at Eastland Career Center will soon have an incredible new teaching tool in its fleet.
Johnston, a retired attorney, donated his Vans RV-6A two-seat aircraft to Eastland-Fairfield in order to support educational opportunities in aviation with hopes to inspire younger generations to enter the field ... well, air. Now nearing 30 students, the EFCTS Aviation program was eager to jump on the opportunity to acquire this private craft.
EFCTS Aviation instructor Alex D'Ettorre explained that the Vans RV-6A is one of the most popular kit planes to be produced and purchased. Johnston, who with a friend built the kit in 2006, equipped the aircraft to make it IFR (instrument flight rules) compliant, giving the plane the ability to fly in inclement weather, and EFCTS students a new element of technology to explore. It also is equipped with modern avionics, which according to D'Ettorre, is a major asset for students looking to learn about mechanical diagnosis, wire running, and comparable system upgrades.
D'Ettorre explained that while the aircraft will remain grounded and used only for instructional purposes, the plane is fully capable of flight. Instead, the Aviation program will use their gift to provide lessons in aviation pilot training, perform safety checks and ground safety walk-around procedures, learn preventative maintenance techniques, and learn aircraft ground movement procedures. It is D'Ettorre's belief that this gift will easily serve the program for the next 30 years.
Students from the Aviation program met Johnston at the Fairfield County Airport, where he flew his aircraft from its home base, Union County Airport in Marysville. Johnston then spent nearly two hours providing students with a walk-through and giving them the aircraft's history. He also shared the aircraft has a name, Esperanza, which is Spanish for "hope".
In the coming weeks, EFCTS Aviation students will return to Fairfield County Airport and take part in disassembling the aircraft and readying it for transport to its new home in the Engineering Technologies Center at Eastland Career Center.
Thank you to LeRoy Johnston for his incredible generosity and inspiring future generations of aviation professionals and supporting Eastland-Fairfield Career & Technical Schools.
Pictured: Alex D'Ettorre (left) and LeRoy Johnston (right)