Tulsa Tech Gets Retired American Airlines MD-80

Friday, March 4th 2011, 11:54 am
By: News On 6

NewsOn6.com & Emory Bryan, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- American Airlines showed off the aircraft it is donating to Tulsa Tech on Friday.

Ownership of the MD-80 was transferred at the ceremony at American's Tulsa Maintenance and Engineering Base at Tulsa International Airport.

Governor Mary Fallin was on hand for the ceremony.

The MD-80, which flew a total of 36 million miles, went into service in 1985.

Inside, everything from the seats for passengers to the avionics for the pilots is what's in use now at the airlines. That's what makes this plane to valuable to Tulsa Tech.

"The updated avionics, the landed gear, the engine, the stuff students will get their hands on, I don't know if you can put a value on that," Frank Dickinson, Tulsa Tech, said. "It's light years ahead of where we are now."

Tulsa Tech has trained thousands of students on a now obsolete 727. The training is relevant, but not exactly what maintenance techs are likely to ever see.

"This aircraft is airworthy and just pulled out of the fleet," said Paul Creider, with American Airlines. "It is ready for retirement, but we saw the opportunity to take an aircraft and instead of sending it to the desert, we'll send it to Tulsa Tech and provide a useful purpose for many years to come."

In a few days American Airlines will transfer the plane from Tulsa International to Jones Riverside. The challenge won't be so much landing and stopping on a shorter runway, it's going to be landing gently on that runway.

"It will stop in time on the runway, but it's just real heavy, so we have to make sure the asphalt and concrete, you don't want to sink into it," David Alaback, American Airlines Pilot, said.

In a ceremony to mark the donation, Bill Collins, the head of American's Tulsa Maintenance Base noted the airline and Tulsa Tech have long had a close relationship. The school helps train new mechanics and provides continuing education as well.