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Three Helicopters Delivered for Long-Term Instructional Benefit

Sheathed in protective covering and destined for years of instructional use, a Sikorsky S-76A helicopter is off-loaded by crane into the hangar at Pennsylvania College of Technology%E2%80%99s Lumley Aviation Center.Three Sikorsky helicopters have arrived at Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Lumley Aviation Center, where the aircraft will provide students with years of hands-on training opportunities.

The first to be delivered shrouded like a mummy in protective shrinkwrap for its trip from West Palm Beach, Fla. was an S-76A. Worth several million dollars when new, the helicopter was the third one off the assembly line when that model was manufactured in the early 1980s.

“The idea is to repair and upgrade it to an S-76C++, which has avionics and a quieter transmission,” said Colin W. Williamson, dean of transportation technology at Penn College. “We’re not returning it to airworthy status, but Sikorsky wants the electrical systems to function and the airframe to look complete.”

Faculty and students at the aviation campus, located at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, are developing a project list that includes a five-year timeline to complete the task.

One of two smaller helicopters is unwrapped by students upon its Aug. 24 delivery; aviation majors will perform a limited restoration of the aircraft during course work in Penn College's School of Transportation Technology.The aviation center also took delivery of two other helicopters, an S-300CB and an S-300CBi, each worth about $300,000 new. Known largely for their civilian use in tourism, agriculture and aerial photography, the smaller helicopters are powered by Lycoming Engines.

“We’ll be doing a limited restoration that will include repairing the electrical systems, cockpit enclosure and overhauling the engine,” Williamson explained. “However, the “˜helo’ will be limited to mostly a static trainer and will never fly in its role as a trainer.”

Accompanying the arrival of the helicopters are technical drawings and other schematics, repair parts, and technical assistance, along with the offer of on-site faculty/staff and student training several times a year. Under the agreement, Sikorsky retains ownership of the helicopters throughout the college’s instructional use.

The aircraft will be used in the aviation maintenance technology bachelor-degree major and in the associate-degree aviation technology major; students in both take a Rotary Wing Systems and Maintenance course.

There will be applications in many other classes dealing with aircraft structures, airframe electrical systems, reciprocating engines, for instance and all aviation students will work on the helicopters at some point while enrolled at Penn College. Seniors in the bachelor-degree major also may select specific repairs as part of their capstone projects, Williamson said.

For more about the School of Transportation Technology, visit online or call 570-327-4516.

For more information about Penn College, visit on the Web , email or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

Photos by Thomas D. Inman, associate professor of aviation

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