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The Vernon campus for Okanagan College received an out-of-this-world donation on Tuesday: a world-class aircraft.
The incredibly valuable piece of equipment was unveiled at the Vernon Aerospace campus, and was donated by the Swanberg family of Grande Prairie and Fort St. John in memory of Sylvan and Dorothy Swanberg.
Coined the British Aerospace Model Jetstream 31, this piece of equipment is valued at nearly $700,000.
Sylvan and Dorothy’s son Loran Swanberg was joined by family members on Tuesday to announce the massive donation, which will support the College’s Aircraft Maintenance Engineering (AME) M-License program.
The program trains students in the maintenance, repair, and overhaul of fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.
“Our family is very proud to be able to support the next generation of Aircraft Maintenance Engineers,”said Loran. “Continuous education and hands-on training is so important in the aviation industry. “We are delighted that this aircraft, donated in honour of my parents, has found a wonderful home at Okanagan College, where it will inspire and enrich the learning experience for students for years to come.”
“This gift will enrich the training experience for our students for years to come,” added Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “On behalf of Okanagan College, I want to express our sincere gratitude to the Swanberg family for this support.”
In accordance with Transport Canada regulations, the Jetstream was disassembled in Calgary and shipped by truck to its new home at the College’s AME hangar in Vernon for reassembly. Students were included in the reassembly process and are already at work on maintenance projects on the aircraft.
Sylvan Swanberg was the founder of Swanberg Air in Grande Prairie, Alberta in 2000. The company offered cargo, scheduled, and charter passenger services in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia for 11 years.
“We hope that link resonates with the students,” said Loran. “Our family is very excited about the legacy behind these aircraft and the connection between them. These donations are meant to celebrate and carry on my parents’ strong belief in higher education and lifelong learning.”
For more information about the AME program, click here.
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