FORT WORTH, Texas — After retiring the last of its McDonnell Douglas MD-80 fleet to Roswell, New Mexico, in early September 2019, American is donating the last two MD-80 aircraft to CareerTech in Oklahoma City, and Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois. The airline will ferry the first of the donated planes to Will Rogers World Airport (OKC) today. The other aircraft will be ferried to Lewis University Airport (LOT) Friday.
The donations to the two schools provides aviation maintenance students the opportunity to gain practical experience by working on a commercial aircraft.
“As we look to the future of American’s Tech Ops work force, it’s important to train the next generation of aviation maintenance students so we have a development pipeline for skilled technicians,” said Kevin Brickner, Senior Vice President of Technical Operations for American. “Just like the MD-80 inspired our own team members in their career development for more than 35 years, the aircraft will do the same for students for years to come. We are proud to partner with CareerTech and Lewis University on this donation.”
With the MD-80 donation, CareerTech can expand aviation workforce preparation from a statewide level to the entire CareerTech system. The aircraft will be used to train students in maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) operations, and the corresponding curriculum and training materials will be utilized at all CareerTech technology centers that provide aerospace training.
“The American Airlines donation of a MD-80 aircraft fills a great need for aerospace training in Oklahoma and is a positive step in preparing a highly qualified workforce,” said Dr. Marcie Mack, State Director of CareerTech. “This donation opens possibilities for Oklahoma CareerTech students and elevates the hands-on training experience in areas such as MRO and avionics.”
Lewis University Aviation and Transportation
The MD-80 donation helps Lewis University Aviation and Transportation develop a new generation of training as it provides an updated avionics package and broadens opportunities for students to earn more Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certificates. All 700 current Aviation and Transportation students will use the MD-80 at some point in their studies, however, it will primarily be used by nearly 200 students in the Aviation Maintenance Management program.
“Lewis has been a national leader in aviation education since 1932,” said Dr. David J. Livingston, President of Lewis University. “This generous donation from American Airlines will ensure that future Lewis graduates will enter the aviation industry with the best possible training and experience.”
American’s MD-80 in 2020 and beyond
American retired its remaining fleet of 26 MD-80 aircraft Sept. 4, 2019 to Roswell. The MD-80, also known as the Super 80, was the workhorse of the airline’s fleet throughout the 1980s and beyond.
Two aircraft remained at the airline’s Base Maintenance facility in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Today, aircraft N9621A will depart from the base to Will Rogers World Airport (OKC) in Oklahoma City. On Friday, Dec. 20, aircraft N501AA will depart to Lewis University Airport (LOT) in Romeoville. These will be the final two flights for American’s Super 80 fleet. Special dedication ceremonies at both schools will be held in early 2020.
American has donated eight MD-80 aircraft to educational causes. The others include:
- 2015: Oklahoma State University School of Engineering in Stillwater, Oklahoma
- 2013: Tulsa Air and Space Museum in Tulsa
- 2011: Tulsa Tech in Tulsa
- 2011: Museo del Nino (Children's Museum) in San Juan, Puerto Rico
- 2010: G.T. Baker Aviation School in Miami
- 2009: Miguel Such Vocational School in San Juan
American’s commitment to STEM initiatives
American participates in initiatives that help introduce students to STEM careers in aviation. The airline recently invited students from W.H. Adamson High School in Dallas to tour the airline’s maintenance hangar at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. The tour gave more than 25 students an opportunity to learn more about the operation and see how STEM professions play a vital role in aircraft maintenance.
The airline has facilitated other maintenance hangar tours for students at Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Tulsa International Airport. Additionally, American’s Line Maintenance team at Los Angeles International Airport partnered with Project Scientist Academy and Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum earlier this year as part of an initiative that supports aspiring young aviators from Compton, California.