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WITC program receives composite airplane donation

WITC recently received the donation of a composite airplane that will be used for education and training purposes in its composite technology program. From left: AMTSociety Executive Director and Chief Editor for Aircraft Maintenance Technology (AMT) magazine, Ronald Donner; WITC composite technology student, Tom Hudacek; WITC composite technology instructor, Tim Wright and WITC associate dean of Continuing Ed., Charlie Glazman.

(10/31/13): Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College recently received the donation of a composite airplane that will be used for education and training purposes in the newly developed composite technology program*, which began fall semester 2013.

The Flight Design Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) was donated by Stanton Sport Aviation, Inc., located in Stanton, Minn. The donation was coordinated by Ronald (Ron) Donner, AMTSociety Executive Director and Chief Editor for Aircraft Maintenance Technology (AMT) magazine, who volunteers on the board of directors for Stanton Sport Aviation, Inc. The AMTSociety exists to support and promote the profession of aircraft maintenance and has many educational and training related initiatives to educate the next generation of aircraft maintainers.

The donated airplane was manufactured using the latest composite materials such as fiberglass and carbon graphite, which will give WITC’s composite technology program students hands-on experience working on a real aircraft.

“Stanton Sport Aviation is the upper Midwest distributor for the Flight Design series of LSAs,” Donner said.  “The un-airworthy airplane was acquired by Stanton from a private owner for its engine, avionics and various other components. It was deregistered and will never fly again. For the last year, we had the bare fuselage and wings stored in one of our hangars.”

Tim Wright, WITC-Superior composite technology program instructor, regularly contributes composite repair articles to Aircraft Maintenance Technology magazine and discussed the subject of a training aid with Donner.

“This airplane is built using the same composite materials found in many of today’s aircraft, which makes it an ideal training aid for WITC’s composite technology program,” said Wright. “Students can learn composite repair techniques on real airplane parts.”

Randy Deli, WITC’s Divisional Dean of Trade and Technical Education says Donner’s passion and vision for education and training in composites and aviation is tremendous; and that his knowledge and connection with the college’s composite technology program is so valuable for its students. 

“It was a pleasure to meet with Ron and learn about his extensive background,” Deli said. “He’s really the type of person that would be a prime candidate for the composite technology program’s advisory committee to help shape the program for future success. It’s great for the college that Ron found a way to provide a useful tool, which will give students a chance to work on and repair an aircraft that is comparable to what is out in the composite field.”

*The composite technology program was started with a $600,000 Wisconsin Covenant Grant. The Wisconsin Covenant Foundation was founded to harness the opportunity that public-private partnerships can create in connecting more of Wisconsin's residents with the postsecondary education they need to succeed. The Foundation — a private, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) public charity — was created in 2007.