News about Aviation

State Senate Caucus Tours College’s Aviation Center

State Sens. Gene Yaw (R-Loyalsock Township) and Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon) share a laugh in the 727 cockpit with aviation maintenance technology seniors Sean J. Cornwell (center), of Collegeville, and James S. Alger, of Campbelltown.

Against fall-colored foothills behind the runway, Brett A. Reasner, dean of transportation and natural resources technologies, joined President Davie Jane Gilmour in welcoming guests.

Ryan A. Gibson, an aviation maintenance technology senior from Lansdale, gives Yaw a tutorial on avionics equipment.

The group pauses for a photo after departing the 727. Joining college and Senate personnel was Christopher A. Logue (fourth from left), chair of the Williamsport Municipal Airport Authority.

A doozy of a Duesenberg – complete with a Lycoming Engine – greeted the group on their way to lunch at Le Jeune Chef Restaurant. Michael Kraft, senior vice president and general manager of Lycoming Engines, chats with Vanessa Mathurin, of Philadelphia, an automotive restoration technology student on hand to offer a historical lesson on the classic 1929 car.

The state Senate Aviation Caucus visited the Williamsport Regional Airport on Thursday, part of its focus on four aspects of Pennsylvania’s aviation industry: education, awareness, research and technology. The tour, hosted by Sen. Gene Yaw − a caucus member and chair of Penn College Board of Directors − began at midmorning in the college’s Lumley Aviation Center. An FAA-approved repair station, the Montoursville campus is home to a large and varied fleet of instructional aircraft that includes a retired Boeing 727-200F cargo plane donated in 2012 by FedEx Express and a Falcon 20 passenger jet that arrived there in spring. The college’s aviation majors have their roots in 1930s training of Lycoming Engines employees; a stop at that company’s plant in Williamsport’s West End, an operating division of Avco Corp., concluded the visit. WBRE’s Cody Butler covered the visit for Eyewitness News and compiled a report for broadcast Thursday evening.

Alumnus-Maintained Blimp Makes Big Splash During Little League

Students exit the gondola after their access to a high-profile aircraft.

Penn College alumnus brings DirecTV blimp to Energy Aviation, near the Lumley Aviation Center.

Wearing his pride

The crowd assembling around the airship lends a sense of proportion.

Penn College aviation students were invited by 1997 aviation technology alumnus James Weed to visit the DirecTV blimp, which he maintains. The students were able to board the gondola to get a close look at the instruments and controls. The blimp is equipped with two 180-horsepower Lycoming engines and a high-definition camera. Operated by the Van Wagner Airship Group, the blimp is in town to provide aerial television coverage of the Little League Baseball World Series.
Photos by Thomas D. Inman, associate professor of avionics

Longtime Aviation Faculty Member Named Assistant Dean

Walter V. Gower

Walter V. Gower has begun duties as assistant dean in the School of Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

A 25-year faculty member, Gower most recently was assistant professor of aviation at the college’s Lumley Aviation Center in Montoursville.

“Wally Gower is an excellent addition to the leadership team in Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies,” said Paul L. Starkey, Penn College’s vice president for academic affairs/provost. “Wally has great experience as an educator and is respected by his peers and students. His enthusiasm for student success will be of great benefit to the school and the college.”

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Eight Penn College Students Headed for SkillsUSA Nationals

Eight first-place winners from Pennsylvania College of Technology have advanced to the 51st annual National SkillsUSA Conference, to be held from June 22-26 in Kentucky.

Five other students from the college finished in the top four places in a variety of categories during the SkillsUSA Pennsylvania Leadership and Skills Conference held April 8-10 in Hershey.

“The students did very well representing the college. It was the first time competing for some of the students, but they will be back next year for another go-around,” said James N. Colton II, assistant professor of welding and the college’s SkillsUSA adviser. “Many of the students advancing have been to nationals before, either as a college competitor or when they were in high school. We’re looking forward to the change of venue, as nationals will be in Louisville instead of Kansas City.”

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Penn College Aviation Student Awarded International Scholarship

Scholarship recipient Jacob R. Tuck, in the hangar of Penn College’s Lumley Aviation Center

A Pennsylvania College of Technology student is among only eight selected internationally to receive a Bill Sanderson Aviation Maintenance Technology Scholarship from Helicopter Association International’s Technical Committee.

Jacob R. Tuck, of Hollsopple, a senior in the four-year aviation maintenance technology major, was recently awarded a scholarship that provides a tuition waiver for a helicopter manufacturer training school and a stipend to offset expenses. Tuck, who is scheduled to graduate in May, already holds an associate degree from Penn College in aviation technology.

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Dean of Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies Named

Brett A. Reasner

Brett A. Reasner has been appointed dean of transportation and natural resources technologies at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

Reasner, who began his employment with Penn College in 1993, succeeds Colin W. Williamson, who retired in December.

From 1993 to 2007, Reasner was an associate professor and department head in aviation technology. He was awarded the college’s highest honor accorded to faculty –­ the Veronica M. Muzic Master Teacher Award – in 1999.

From 2007-11, Reasner served as assistant dean and associate professor in the School of Natural Resources Management. From 2011-14, he served as assistant dean and associate professor in the School of Transportation and Natural Resources Technologies.

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Winning Their Share: WTI Students, Faculty Support WWII Efforts

Williamsport Technical Institute students examine a gas mask, circa 1941.

An aviation mechanic student works on an airplane engine. The student was later placed as an Army Air Corps aviation mechanic.

From the Fall 2014 One College Avenue magazine: To help train men and women for war-related production, the institution overhauled its curriculum from 1940-45, reinforcing a growing national reputation. Read the full story.

Benefactor of Penn College Diesel, Aviation Programs Dies

Dr. Marshall D. Welch Jr.

Dr. Marshall D. Welch Jr., a retired Williamsport orthodontist whose philanthropic contributions benefit students in Penn College’s School of Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies, died Wednesday, Aug. 27, at the age of 85. Welch and his wife, Mary, are among those enshrined on the college’s Donor Wall as members of the Millionaire’s Society. Their generosity is also reflected in the hangar at the Lumley Aviation Center in Montoursville, the diesel lab at the Schneebeli Earth Science Center near Allenwood and a scholarship fund for diesel technology students – all of which bear the Welch family’s name. A full obituary can be found on the website of the Knight-Confer Funeral Home.

From Student Design to Employee Application, ‘It’s a Wrap’

A former FedEx Express 727 cargo plane has been repainted and wrapped with a design appropriately reflecting Pennsylvania College of Technology's innovation and technology.

In an impressive reversal of tradition – the custom of unwrapping a present before showing it to others – Pennsylvania College of Technology has actually enhanced a gift’s value by covering it.

A Boeing 727 airplane, donated to Penn College in March 2012 after being retired from FedEx Express cargo service, was recently (and attractively) sheathed in vinyl in a project that began with a graphic-design class and eventually involved several academic schools and college employees.

Adding to its primary role as a real-world training tool for students at the Lumley Aviation Center in Montoursville, the institution’s largest single corporate donation now doubles as its biggest billboard. The repurposed plane greets visitors to the Williamsport Regional Airport, including those who will attend the college’s Open House on Sunday, Oct. 26.

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Attendance at National Aviation Event to Be Discussed by Faculty, Alumnus

William F. Stepp III

The campus community is invited to a President’s Forum presentation at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday by William F. Stepp III, associate professor of aviation, who will highlight his Heli-Expo experience in Anaheim, Calif., and share information on the industry. Andrew L. Stamey, who graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in aviation maintenance technology – and one of two student attendees at the conference – will add his insights during the presentation in Room W204 of the Breuder Advanced Technology and Health Sciences Center. Attendance at the February conference allowed Stepp to participate in meetings of the Helicopter Association’s International Technical Committee, of which he is a member. The experience yielded two scholarships for student attendees (Stamey and Marc T. Kaylor, another May graduate), teaching materials for the aviation department, contacts for student internships and/or employment, as well as sources of additional equipment donations. Stepp is the first awardee from the Strategic Initiative Fund, created by President Davie Jane Gilmour to increase the college’s presence at the national level via presentations and/or leadership within national associations. Interested faculty and staff can learn more about the fund through the president’s page on the myPCT Web portal.

Boeing 727’s Makeover Continues to Draw Media Interest

WBRE interviews school dean

Tysanner gets a closer look at the plane's labyrinthine landing gear, just one area for aviation students' hands-on learning.

The plane's student-designed sheath beautifies a generous gift and promotes Penn College values.

Eyewitness News reporter Valerie Tysanner interviewed Colin W. Williamson, dean of transportation and natural resources technologies, on Thursday for a piece about the former FedEx plane donated to Penn College – recently cocooned in vinyl and ready for another academic year of training students at the Lumley Aviation Center.

Retired Into Educational Service, Former FedEx Plane Gets ‘Airtime’ on WNEP

Sullivan's son, Alex B., a lab assistant for the graphic-design project, uses a heat gun to smooth out a vinyl panel.

While work continues on the "degrees that work" tail section, Papa talks with Williamson about the rare benefit of having such an aircraft in the college's instructional fleet.

The multimedia journalist captures "B-roll" footage of David E. Maurer, assistant lab coordinator, as he works on an overlay acknowledging the FedEx donation.

Sullivan relays his pride in the student-assisted outcome of a logistically and climatologically challenging endeavor.

As a donated Boeing 727 nears the end of a two-month makeover, Newswatch 16 reporter Kristina Papa visited Penn College’s Lumley Aviation Center on Wednesday to prepare a story about the monumental exterior work on the former FedEx transport plane. Taping her segment outside the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Papa interviewed Colin W. Williamson, dean of transportation and natural resources technologies, and Kevin P. Sullivan, lab coordinator for programs in the School of Sciences, Humanities & Visual Communications, about both the “wrap” project and the long-term curricular applications for aviation students. The piece initially was broadcast at 5:30 p.m. on WNEP.

Artistry in Aerospace: The ‘Vinyl’ Frontier

A full-bodied view illuminates the scope of the project, which crisscrosses curricular turf and covers the breadth of the Boeing 727.

Kevin P. Sullivan (rear), lab coordinator for programs in the School of Sciences, Humanities & Visual Communications, and Timothy A. Miller, lab assistant I, graphic design project, smooth out a tail section emblazoned with a Penn College trademark ...

... and oblige the photographer's request for an above-ground wave.

An inspiring word offers a fitting comment on the work itself: painstakingly encasing the plane in a vinyl shell that announces its new owner while prominently honoring the donor.

Putting the "lift" in "facelift," the two high-flying men at work ply their craft.

An impressive undertaking, befitting one of the largest donations in the institution’s history, is nearing completion at the Lumley Aviation Center in Montoursville. As storm clouds gave way to resumption of the work this past week, patient artisans continued to wrap a donated Boeing 727 jet in a snug-fitting vinyl shroud. The plane’s nose-to-tail makeover, as much protective as it is decorative, emblematically replicates the transformational benefit of a Penn College degree.

Recent Aviation Alumnus Wins SkillsUSA Gold

Marc T. Kaylor

Marc T. Kaylor, who graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in aviation maintenance technology, was a gold medalist in that category at last month’s SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Kansas City, Missouri. A student photographer during his last two years at Penn College, he will begin work July 28 as a Cessna Citation mechanic at the Stewart International Airport in New York state’s southern Hudson Valley. Among students and recent alumni to take part in the June 23-27 event – the 50th annual for SkillsUSA – Kaylor is the college’s 35th national medalist. (It was his second trip to Kansas City; he placed second in 2013.) “Thank you to all of my professors who helped me make it this far. Also, thank you to (welding instructor/adviser) James Colton II for taking the time to travel with us to Kansas City and being such a great supporter of Skills,” Kaylor said. “And, of course, thank you to all of the students who made it to SkillsUSA.”

‘Wrap’ Artists Prepare to Sheathe Plane in College Attire

A behemoth on the tarmac, the plane seems even more enormous when partially pulled into the spacious Lumley Aviation Center hangar.

Collision repair instructor Roy H. Klinger (left) and aviation instructor Michael R. Robison begin the laborious process of painting over the plane's prior corporate identity.

A retired Boeing 727 donated to Penn College in March 2012 will soon wear the logo of its owner, courtesy of an effort than spans several of the institution’s academic schools. The former FedEx Express plane made its last flight more than two years ago, when it was delivered to the Lumley Aviation Center for a new life among the college’s instructional fleet. That new life includes a new coat, which was designed by Kyle R. Taylor for an illustration class taught by Brian A. Flynn, assistant professor of graphic design. (A 2013 graphic design graduate, Taylor is now employed by Schoolwires Inc. in State College.) Moving the plane was quite an exercise, involving faculty/staff from the School of Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies and the School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies. Welders from the latter school fabricated an adapter for a hitch on the light-duty diesel lab’s GMC 3500 truck, which pushed and pulled the 727 from the west pad to the hangar. Transportation faculty/staff recently began washing, sanding and painting the tail section, the first steps toward wrapping the plane in a collegiate cocoon of vinyl. Kevin P. Sullivan, lab coordinator for programs in the School of Sciences, Humanities & Visual Communications, is overseeing students’ output of the various pieces that will cover the aircraft.