Chandler-Gilbert Community College: Boeing Engine Donation Helps CGCC Aviation Program Hit New Heights

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Hands-on experience is essential for aviation students at Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC), and thanks to the generosity of one of the program's most valued partners, students are taking the controls like never before. The Boeing Company's recent donation of four new A160 helicopter engines will expose students to the latest industry technology and prepare them for a career in today's aviation field.

The A160 engine was originally designed for Boeing's A160 Hummingbird, an unmanned aerial vehicle helicopter used by the military from 2002-2012 for reconnaissance, surveillance, target acquisition, communications relay, and battlefield resupply during military mission. Its design incorporated many new technologies never before used in helicopters, allowing for greater endurance and altitude.

"We are pleased the technology developed for the A160 platform will continue to support Chandler-Gilbert Community College and its students," said Steve Nordlund, vice president of Boeing Unmanned Systems. "Our hope is that these engines provide valuable experience for students pursuing a career in aerospace, helping them to develop the skills that they need to be prepared for the 21st century workforce."

Students in the Aircraft Maintenance Technology program will begin working on the new engines this spring during the lab portion of their Aircraft Turbine Engine Technology class, taught by CGCC Aviation Chairman Mike Hutto.

"It is our responsibility to provide the very best training in a highly complex field," said Hutto. "A gift of this magnitude allows us to give our students advanced, hands-on exposure to technology that they will see in the aviation industry for many years to come."

This donation is just one more milestone in a long-time partnership between these two institutions. For more than 20 years, Boeing and CGCC have worked together to prepare students for successful careers in the field of aviation. Boeing is a member of CGCC's aviation advisory council; it provides thousands of dollars annually in student scholarships and offers internship opportunities for students looking for industry experience. In return, CGCC has become a source of qualified talent for Boeing. To date, Boeing has hired over 80 CGCC graduates to work at their Mesa plant, which builds Apache helicopters for the U.S. Army and electrical components for Boeing commercial and military products.

"Our mutually beneficial partnership also serves the broader community as graduating students transition easily into high skill, high wage jobs and channel those resources back into their communities" said Hutto.

The aviation program at CGCC is the only one in the East Valley and is designed to meet the aviation industry's need for well-prepared pilots and technicians in aircraft maintenance, electronics/avionics, and aircraft construction.