– Gander residents may have noticed something a little unusual flying into the local airport today – actually, it’s far from little.
A Learjet aircraft, measuring approximately 57 ’x 47’ x 14’ and weighing 16K pounds, has touched down and will make Gander its home thanks to a donation from Bombardier to College of the North Atlantic (CNA).
Bombardier’s Learjet 45-001
flight test vehicle (FTV) is CNA’s largest and latest acquisition to date, and it will be used as part of CNA’s hands-on skilled training for aviation programs offered at Gander campus (AMET – Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Technician, AMET Advanced Diploma and Aircraft Structural Repair Technician).
Liz Kidd, CNA President & CEO, was excited to learn about the donation and the benefit it will have for students and graduates.
“As the world is still moving through a pandemic, aviation has been making a comeback as more people are travelling these days,” said Kidd. “Our responsibility, as a post-secondary training provider, is to ensure that our students learn using advanced technology, so they are ready to join the workforce and meet industry demand. Aviation could experience potential labour shortages making our graduates more in demand. We can’t thank Bombardier enough for their generosity as a global business leader. The airline industry will ultimately benefit greatly from our graduates receiving industry-relevant training they won’t receive anywhere else.”
Ève Laurier, Vice President, Communications, Marketing and Public Affairs at Bombardier, says the company welcomed the opportunity to contribute to the development of the aerospace cluster in Newfoundland and Labrador through the donation of the iconic Learjet aircraft.
“It’s important that we fuel innovation within the aviation industry and proactively contribute to its evolving needs,” said Laurier. “To do that well, we need to invest in its talent. At Bombardier, we take this responsibility seriously. We have already established many successful collaborations over the years with other educational institutions specializing in aerospace and engineering. When the opportunity presented itself for this donation to the CNA, we were extremely happy to pursue it as it is our first partnership of this kind in Newfoundland and Labrador. We look forward to building on this partnership and wish the students of CNA much success and happy learning.”
Jeff Weeks, Gander Campus Director for Aviation, says the program has some aircraft similar in size to the Learjet, but this one has many additional features that will be of great benefit to future graduates of our aviation programs.
“It was a yahoo moment,” said Weeks with a smile. “It is a test aircraft that has a multitude of features and is fully loaded with sophisticated equipment. We are super excited about this, and a lot of work has gone into preparing to receive it. We see this as not only a benefit for CNA, but the community and region as a whole.”
Next steps involve moving the aircraft from the airport to the campus. Once the Learjet 45-001
aircraft is decommissioned so that it can no longer fly and is officially signed over to CNA, the groundwork begins. Weeks says there has been many months of logistical planning involved, and he is beyond thankful for the in-kind support of the community from the get-go, including Government Air Services, the RCMP, Town of Gander, EVAS Air, and a local consultant. Their assistance will mean the aircraft can be moved safely within the community. A route will be released once a moving date is confirmed.
To learn more about CNA’s aviation programs, visit: www.cna.nl.ca
To learn more about Bombardier, visit: www.bombardier.com
College of the North Atlantic