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Beavercreek’s airplane classroom arrives

A $1 million dollar jet aircraft landed at Dayton International Airport and will be transformed into a classroom for students across the Miami Valley region, following a donation from Fed-Ex Express.

“This… is a wonderful opportunity to get hands on training, and provide skills and interest in aviation for our next generation of aviation professionals,” said David Sutton, managing director of aircraft acquisitions and sales at Fed-Ex Express.

The jet will be available to students from kindergarten to college.

Fed-Ex has donated retired aircraft to museums, airport fire departments, law enforcement departments, schools and universities since 1995 and 84 Boeing 727’s have been donated across the world.

In addition to the United States; China, Canada, Turkey and at least one European country have received a donated aircraft to be used to further education in aviation.

“It’s mind blowing. I can not wait until it’s finished,” said Pierce Doyle, a fifth grade student at Beavercreek City Schools, the district that accepted Fed-Ex’s donation. “I hope that a lot of people get educated and people actually learn what they want to do.”

The jet, a Boeing 727-200F, taxied to the Wright Bros. Aero on the campus of the airport in front of hundreds of students, faculty and community members Thursday morning.

Beavercreek school officials said over the next two years the plan is to gut the aircraft and equip it with the necessary items to allow it to serve as a science, technology, engineering and mathematics classroom for students across the region.

“The kids are our future. This is where we need to be going, and to make learning meaningful for them,” said Joann Rigano, a Beavercreek school board member who fronted the project that landed the jet in the Miami Valley. “When they are involved hands-on, with real life experiences, not only is it meaningful, not only do they learn, but they retain what they learn.”

The district expects the jet to be housed on Wright State University property once the renovations to the aircraft are complete, Rigano said.

Beavercreek City Schools partnered with Clark State Community College, Wright State University and the Dayton International Airport to acquire the jet from Fed-Ex.

“STEM education is real important and in our industry it’s especially important,” said Terry Slaybaugh, director of aviation for the city of Dayton. “It’s important to continue to accumulate aviation and aerospace assets in the Miami Valley. Obviously, aerospace education is an asset.

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