ROMEOVILLE — Lewis University’s Aviation Department received a Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7R4 engine as a donation from the FedEx Express Air Operations based in Memphis, Tenn. The engine was previously used on an Airbus A-310. Aviation Maintenance students will utilize the engine for various training exercises. The Pratt & Whitney JT9D was the first high bypass ratio jet engine to power a wide-body aircraft.
Richard Ugarte, managing director at FedEx, personally delivered and presented the engine during a reception Monday, Jan. 14 in the university’s hangar. Surrounded by Lewis University faculty and students, Ugarte spoke about his experience working on the engine and the future of aviation. He said that technology is changing the industry and that students with technological skills are invaluable to organizations in the field. Ugarte praised the Aviation Maintenance students and discussed how retirements as well as industry changes are dramatically increasing demand for aviation maintenance professionals.
Brother James Gaffney, FSC, president of Lewis University, highlighted the university’s pioneer aviation program and spoke about the advancements in the field and opportunities for education. “Aviation is a legacy program here at Lewis University,” he said. “We are continuously seeking ways to supplement classroom learning by providing our students with hands-on experience to apply what they learn in the classroom.”
In 2009, FedEx also donated a Pratt and Whitney JT8D-15AQM engine. The engine is still in use in the Aviation Maintenance program.
The Aviation reception also showcased recent improvements in the Aviation Building where updated furnishings have been added to labs, workshops and classrooms in an ongoing transformation of aviation facilities. Plans also call for refurbishing the large hangar that anchors the Aviation Building and adjoining Harold E. White Aviation Center on the Lewis main campus in Romeoville.
Since 1932, Lewis University has been a leader in the field of aviation education, preparing students from around the world to succeed in the aviation industries. An on-site airport, experienced and industry-leading faculty, personalized learning, degree programs that provide specialized experience and a well-rounded business, management and liberal arts education have made Lewis University’s aviation program one of the most respected in Illinois. Lewis University provides aviation programs in Flight Management, Administration, Maintenance, Security and Air Traffic Control. Lewis is one of 31 institutions in the country certified by the FAA to offer the Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative Program.
For more information, visit Lewis University’s website www.lewisu.edu.