Students begin overhaul of university training aircraft

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Lewis University aviation students begin overhaul of university training aircraft

Published: June 6, 2014.

In addition to fulfilling the FAA requirements of the classroom and lab, the Lewis University Aviation Aircraft Inspection and Test Class also performed full overhauls of the university’s maintenance training aircraft.

Students in the course included two sections.

Section 1 students were Abdallah Ali, Raul Armenta, Edward Bunegar, Moritz Conrads, James Emmons, Leo Flores, Tony Garcia, Jim Gillespie, Tom Gollogoly, Jack Gunka, Trevor Henzel, Kyle Kerr, Nick Sinal and Alex Villela-Ruiz.

Section 2 students were Brian Boettner, Ernie Bruss, Alan Buonomo, Matt Callihan, Travis Cole, Dustin Grilc, Kevin Klawitter, Mike Majewski, Cody Marks, Brian Michie, Yesenia Mora-Ramirez, Mike Murphy, Luis Ponce-Valencia, Szymon Sieczcka, Trevor Turigliatto and Paul Washington.

Four aircraft were chosen for the project, ranging from a wooden winged Turner T-40, a fully aerobatic Christen Eagle, an experimental Super Cub and a twin engine supercharged AeroCommander. The class objective was to make the aircraft engines operational and the interior and exteriors show significant aesthetic improvement. The students had to do full inspections, document the aircraft discrepancies and repair them utilizing the aircraft’s manufacturer maintenance manuals.

“These incredibly motivated students donated their own time and energy to get these aircraft up and running,” said R. Eric Jones, assistant professor of aviation and transportation. “Both sections did an amazing job, and the aircraft ended up looking significantly improved and fully operational. Every Lewis student should stop by the hangar and see the condition and improvements these talented students have made.”

Lewis University’s Boeing 737, which has been an icon on campus, is included in future restoration plans. A new class has been created to directly address the maintenance issues of the Boeing 737. The 737 Aircraft Overhaul Class made significant strides to reinvigorate new life into the commercial jet that was developed in the 1960s, flown commercially by United Airlines, and retired to Lewis University’s campus in 1999. The course is the first step in getting the 737, which is still operational after 15 years on campus, a facelift.

Lewis University’s Aviation Maintenance Management program provides students with the skills and technical training needed to become a certified Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) or FAA Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic and comprehensive business, economics and liberal arts expertise. It prepares students to enter management and administrative careers in both aviation and non-aviation industries.

Lewis University is a Catholic university in the Lasallian tradition offering distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 6,600 traditional and adult students. Lewis offers multiple campus locations, online degree programs, and a variety of formats that provide accessibility and convenience to a growing student population. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis prepares intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally connected, and socially responsible graduates. The seventh largest private not-for-profit university in Illinois, Lewis has been nationally recognized by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report. Visit for further information.

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