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Award-winning aviation graduate, faculty member dies at age 90

Robert L. Norton

Robert L. Norton – an alumnus, retired faculty member and father of a program director in the School of Nursing & Health Sciences – died Friday, March 19, 2021, at the age of 90. He received a certificate from the former Williamsport Technical Institute and an associate degree from Williamsport Area Community College, and was an aviation instructor at WACC and Penn College for 24 years.

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March 21, 2021
Aviation Engineering Technologies Faculty & Staff

Friday funeral scheduled for aviation faculty retiree

Robert M. Werkmeister Sr.Robert M. Werkmeister Sr., who retired as an assistant professor of aviation at Penn College, died Dec. 3 at the age of 83. Werkmeister’s 1959 graduation from the aviation program at Williamsport Technical Institute (the institution’s earliest predecessor) began decades of service to the industry, including work as a mechanic, inspector and a corporate pilot.

He taught at the Lumley Aviation Center for more than 20 years, retiring during the 2013-14 academic year.

A full obituary, including details about Friday’s visitation and funeral, was published in Saturday’s editions of the Williamsport Sun-Gazette.

December 8, 2020
Alumni Aviation Engineering Technologies Events Faculty & Staff Students

College provides invaluable assist during airport ’emergency’

Jets of water shoot from airport-owned apparatus.

Penn College students, faculty and equipment were integral to Saturday’s simulated emergency at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville. A triennial requirement of the Federal Aviation Administration, this year’s drill featured a smoky runway collision that allowed crews the opportunity to test the strengths and weaknesses of their response systems. Matthew D. Krepps, an instructor of aviation maintenance technology, coordinated the college’s involvement in the Williamsport Municipal Airport Authority exercise, which included student “victims” and two planes from the Lumley Aviation Center’s instructional fleet: a recently donated CL-600 Challenger corporate jet and an older Sabreliner aircraft. A fog machine was used in the latter plane to obscure the vision of rescue workers without using actual smoke that would choke the student volunteers acting as injured passengers.

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Aviation College Relations Engineering Technologies Faculty & Staff Students

Executive trio donates corporate aircraft to Penn College

A CL-600 Challenger business jet donated to Penn College by a trio of corporate executives will be used for instructional purposes at the college’s Lumley Aviation Center, next to the Williamsport Regional Airport.

Three partners in a corporate aircraft have donated it to Pennsylvania College of Technology for instructional use in the college’s aviation maintenance program.

The Bombardier (formerly Canadair) CL-600 Challenger jet, valued at nearly $825,000, is being donated by Ira M. Lubert, Anthony F. Misitano and Judith M. von Seldeneck.

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Aviation Engineering Technologies Faculty & Staff Students

Penn College aviation students receive industry scholarships

Four Pennsylvania College of Technology students were recently awarded aviation scholarships: two from the Helicopter Foundation International/Helicopter Association International and two from Women in Aviation International.

All four are enrolled in the four-year aviation maintenance technology major, based at Penn College’s Lumley Aviation Center in Montoursville.

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May 21, 2020
Alumni Aviation Students Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies

Aviation grad featured in national magazine

AOPA PilotLevi Schappel, who holds two degrees from Penn College – aviation technology (2012) and aviation maintenance technology (2014) – is among the Lycoming Engines employees interviewed for an eight-page article in the April edition of AOPA Pilot. Schappel supervises production of the high-performance Thunderbolt aircraft engine at Lycoming’s Williamsport plant, a custom manufacturing job that puts into daily practice his hands-on education at the college’s Lumley Aviation Center. “When you go to a race or an airshow and you see how much is demanded of these engines, it’s humbling,” Schappell said. “It makes you focus on doing everything you can to make sure they’re as good as they can possibly be.” The article, shared with permission of the publisher, is provided here: “Made to Order


March 24, 2020
Alumni Aviation Faculty & Staff Students Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies

College spotlights aviation alumnus at Chamber event

Presenter and honoree reconnect after the ceremony for a celebratory photo.

Christopher M. Gayman, a graduate of Pennsylvania College of Technology and OEM sales manager for Lycoming Engines, received an Alumni of the Year Award at Thursday’s 19th annual Education Celebration hosted by the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce.

The award – part of an event that recognizes the essential collaboration among school districts, colleges, and business and industry – is given to a graduate who has made a significant contribution to the quality of life in Lycoming County, has excelled in his or her own profession, and is active in the community.

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March 6, 2020
Aviation Faculty & Staff Industrial Design Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies Students Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies

Curricular collaboration puts design students in pilot’s seat

Industrial design students get hands-on access to college's aircraft fleet.
Industrial design students get hands-on access to college’s aircraft fleet.

On Tuesday evening, in a cooperative effort between the School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies and the School of Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies, students enrolled in Ergonomics and Kinesiology (BIX220) explored several aircraft at the Lumley Aviation Center. Jason P. Zielewicz teaches the course, which is a study of human factors as they relate to design. The industrial design students sat on the flight deck of Penn College’s Boeing 727 to delve into the complexity of its controls and how they correspond to the pilot’s seating position. The students also got a look at the flight deck of the school’s Dassault Falcon 20 business jet, and viewed several smaller airplanes and helicopters. They will use the knowledge gained at the aviation center to refine their design-concept assignments. At the end of the course, the students will build a full-scale design of an automobile, aircraft or spacecraft, and test it using anthropometric people.
Information and photo by Thomas D. Inman, associate professor of aviation

November 21, 2019
Aviation Students Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies

Jet visits Lumley Aviation Center

Aviation maintenance technology students gather around Dressler’s Cessna Citation I.
Aviation maintenance technology students gather around Dressler’s Cessna Citation I.
The pilot answers questions about the plane's avionics.
The pilot answers questions about the plane’s avionics.
Students prepare to enter the jet.
Students prepare to enter the jet.

Local pilot Robert E. Dressler Jr. brought his Cessna Citation I jet to Penn College’s Lumley Aviation Center on Tuesday morning. The day was rainy, so students pulled the aircraft partially into the hangar, to avoid getting the plane’s interior wet. Dressler visited with students in Thomas D. Inman’s Avionics Maintenance Theory I class, who are studying High Frequency Communication systems as part of the aviation maintenance technology bachelor’s degree curriculum. Dressler tuned up his HF and began listening to air traffic in the Gulf of Mexico; later, he tuned to a reference station in Boulder, Colorado. One at a time, students came aboard to examine the panel, listen to the radio and ask questions about the avionics. Students, in turn, gave Dressler a tour of the college-owned Dassault Falcon 20.
Photos by Inman, associate professor of aviation

October 23, 2019
Accounting & Finance Aviation Business & Hospitality Business & Hospitality Management Construction & Design Technologies Electrical Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies STEM Students Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies Welding

Nine Penn College students medal at SkillsUSA nationals

SkillsUSANine students from Pennsylvania College of Technology’s SkillsUSA team earned medals in six categories – three silvers and three bronzes – during the National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, from June 24-29.

“The students represented themselves and the college well, and it showed with the number of medals we returned home with,” said SkillsUSA adviser James N. Colton II, an assistant professor of welding. “I look forward to next year and the students that we will have competing.”

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July 3, 2019
Alumni Architecture & Sustainable Design Art & Graphic Design Aviation Baking, Pastry & Culinary Arts Building Construction Business & Hospitality Business & Hospitality Management Collision Repair & Restoration Construction & Design Technologies Dental Hygiene Electronics & Computer Engineering Technology Emergency Medical Services/Paramedic Engineering Design Technology Faculty & Staff Health Information Technology Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies Information Technology Landscape/Horticulture Makerspace Nursing Nursing & Health Sciences Occupational Therapy Assistant Physical Therapist Assistant Physician Assistant Radiography Sciences, Humanities & Visual Communications Surgical Technology Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies Welding

From living space to makerspace, summer visitors have their hands full

Learning the skills and craftsmanship required of a builder in the newest pre-college offering: Building Construction.

A dozen residential Pre-College Programs and a daytime Creative Art Camp brought hundreds of young women and men to Penn College’s campuses in mid-June, providing hands-on entry to the myriad career opportunities reflected in the institution’s postsecondary curriculum. Keeping campers (and PCToday photographers) busy in recent days were these fun learning opportunities, some of which involved culminating projects: Architecture Odyssey, Autism Spectrum Post-Secondary Interest Experience (ASPIE), Automotive Restoration, Aviation, Building Construction (new this year), Creative Art Camp, Engineering, Future Restaurateurs, Graphic Design Summer Studio, Grow & Design Horticulture, Health Careers, Information Technology and SMART (Science and Math in Real-world Technologies) Girls.

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Aviation General Information Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies

Standby helicopter housed in college hangar during president’s visit

Bearing the presidential seal and emblazoned with the Stars and Stripes ...
Bearing the presidential seal and emblazoned with the Stars and Stripes …
... the twin-engine, four-blade aircraft takes up temporary residence in the college hangar.
… the twin-engine, four-blade aircraft takes up temporary residence in the college hangar.

A Sikorsky VH-60N White Hawk helicopter, part of Marine Helicopter Squadron One, was on standby for President Trump’s visit to Montoursville on Monday night, housed temporarily in the hangar at Penn College’s Lumley Aviation Center. Marine One, the call sign used whenever the commander in chief is aboard one of the fleet of helicopters, departed on Tuesday. Marine One accompanies the president on travels in the U.S. and abroad. The Marine One detachment officer-in-charge offered access and granted permission for the college to publish photos.

May 21, 2019
Aviation STEM Students Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies

Your class in 60 seconds: Aviation Basic Electricity II

Take a minute to dive into what it takes to be an aviation technician with this snapshot of the Aviation Basic Electricity II course, a requirement for Penn College’s bachelor’s degree in aviation maintenance technology. Hour by hour, through hands-on activities and engaging classroom discussions, complex theories and ideas solidify into reality. In state-of-the-art labs, students in AVI 135 train with equipment used by the pros. They even build their own pocket-sized oscilloscopes to visualize electrical signals. With all that training – summarized in a video narrated by student Kate M. Ruggiero, of Easton – it’s easy to see why Penn College’s aviation graduates are real-world ready and sought after to fill high-demand positions as skilled aircraft mechanics.

May 14, 2019