At Meridian Aviation in October 2016, the intense wind of a helicopter flying over a small Cessna 152 airplane caused the plane to flip over. Since then, the plane has been out of service.
“We felt that donating it to them for them to use to train future airplane mechanics was the best thing we could do for aviation in Mississippi,” said President of the Meridian Airport Authority, Tom Williams.
Meridian Aviation has decided to donate it to a local aviation technology program, where the plane will strictly be used for teaching purposes. W.P. Mars, who is an aviation maintenance technology instructor at Hinds Community College, said this plane will greatly benefit the students.
“With this particular airplane what they’re going to do is they’re going to put the wings back on it once we get it home. Then, they’re going to start doing some of the re-assembly. We’re hoping to get this airplane to the point where we can start it up and taxi it so they can do their taxi-ing training,” said Mars.
While this plane has flown a total of 14,000 hours over its career, it will now be spending it’s remaining hours at the hands of students.
“You can’t learn everything about working on an airplane by sitting in a classroom and reading a textbook. You have to put your hands on the airplane and feel for yourself what it’s like to do the tasks,” said Mars.
Williams said many of the employees at Dean Aircraft Service, which is where civilian planes come to in our area to be repaired, have actually come from Hinds Community College.
“At Dean Aircraft Service here in Meridian, we hire mechanics from Hinds Community College. We have several employed already, and we look to hire more in the future. We’re sort of giving back to the program that’s helped train some of our good workers,” said Williams.
This is the first time Meridian Aviation has donated a plane for learning purposes.