The Eastland-Fairfield fleet became one aircraft larger after a recent donation by the Fairfield County Sheriff's Office to the Aviation program. A 1960 Cessna 172 is now inside the program's hangar and ready to be used for training. Mr. Pat Rooney, Fairfield County Airport Manager and Aviation advisory board member, learned of the program's need for a common Cessna airplane to support student learning and connected instructor Alex D'Ettore with the sheriff deputy in charge to facilitate the donation.
To transport the plane from the airport to Eastland Career Center, the aircraft's wings and control surfaces needed to be temporarily removed. Columbus State Community College Aviation Maintenance instructor, Robert Everett, volunteered his expertise and taught 10 current Aviation students and two alumni to carefully remove the wings and prepare the aircraft for transport.
"This Cessna 172 adds to the exceptional learning experience our students receive because they can now see, touch, and feel the exact same aircraft that they train on in the simulated environment," said Mr. D'Ettore. "The plane will be used for familiarity experience, preventative maintenance training and preflight procedures training."
According to Mr. D'Ettore, the Cessna 172 is the most common training aircraft in the world, and his students have been building their flying skills on in simulations through the program's Redbird BATD2 flight simulators since 2020.