An unlikely need has emerged from one of the lesser-known departments at Salt Lake Community College.
The SLCC aviation program is adding a section in avionics, but the Airport Center cannot hold larger aircraft needed for labs and demonstrations.
“We have been offered a Boeing 727 aircraft, but our campus on airport property cannot house something of that size,” says aviation maintenance professor Todd Baird.
SLCC acquired the former Salt Lake City International Airport warehouse in the early 80s after the airport could no longer use the facility for its own mechanical services.
Avionics courses will focus on the electronics that control communication within aircrafts. Baird says that aviation students will benefit from these specialized courses.
“Our students are acquiring the qualifications required by the FAA; but a more well-rounded experience would come from the use of a larger category of aircraft,” Baird says.
The importance of acquiring a large aircraft for students is increasing rapidly.
Boeing introduced the Utah Aerospace Pathways Program in early September. The program aims to provide a clearer path for students as they pursue careers in aerospace manufacturing.
SLCC has agreed to be a stepping-stone in the process, allowing current Granger High School graduates to smoothly enter the aviation/aerospace programs housed by the college.
Current aviation students are already finding success in the program.
In early 2015, a team from SLCC won first place at the Aerospace Maintenance Competition. The event welcomed teams from institutions around the globe and SLCC is expected to participate again in the spring of 2016.
Today, the United States has the largest aerospace market in the world and, according to a recent study by the U.S. Department of Commerce, accrued $118.5 billion in export aircraft sales to the U.S. economy in 2012.