Eastern New Mexico University-Ros well Aviation Maintenance Technology students check out their newly painted Boeing 727-100 during a ceremony with school officials and Dean Baldwin Painting employees, Monday. (Mark Wilson Photo)
Emily Russo Miller
Record Staff Writer
Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell aviation students now have a new toy to play with — a commercial jet.
School officials on Monday unveiled the Boeing 727-100 that sparkled with a new coat of paint courtesy of aircraft paint service specialists Dean Baldwin Inc. who did the $80,000 paint job for free.
“This is fantastic,” Dr. John Madden, president of ENMU-R, said during a ceremony at the Aviation Maintenance Technology building. “It’s not a secret that the state of the state, if you will, in terms of finance, we could never have hoped to afford to do this. This is an incredibly generous offer. And it turned out beautiful.”
Fed Ex donated the Boeing to the school about six years ago, but it went unused in part because the school could not afford to extract the Fed Ex logo from the plane, which was one of the conditions of its usage.
Dean Baldwin General Manager Jim Burress said he wanted to help the aviation students working toward their Federal Aviation Administration licenses receive hands-on training in their classes, while also training some of his employees at Dean Baldwin how to prime and paint large aircraft.
“We’re anxious for you to graduate,” Burress told the 20 aviation students who were checking out their new plane. “We’re very proud of you. Stay with it. You’ll have a long future.”
Burress noted that PPG Industries, a global paint supplier company, donated the paint.
Interim Director of the AMT program since 2009, Juan Salmon, says the aviation program is rapidly growing — the school year that just began last week is the first time in years enrollment has been filled to full capacity. The commercial jet will help round out the program’s curriculum, Salmon added, so that students will learn about general aviation, business jets and, now, commercial-size airliners.
“Originally, the curriculum that was on the program itself had a lot to do with the general aviation side, and also the business jets. But a lot of students were wanting commercial,” Salmon added. “… Now we can actually use this as part of the curriculum.”
The ENMU-R AMT school is a 14 1/2 month long program that is the only FAA Part 147 A&P school in the southeast part of the state. Students will no longer use the Boeing as a display model, but as a trainer for larger aircraft systems, fuel systems, rigging, hydraulics, brakes, tires, air-conditioning, auxiliary power unit, electrical systems and inspections. The Boeing is the only large aircraft the program owns, though there are multiple smaller aircraft to practice on, including a Cessna, two Bell 47 helicopters, an Acroduster Too, a Beechcraft Model 50 and a Huey Model UH1 Helicopter.