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Boeing 727 aircraft gifted to WMU College of Aviation

by Cheryl Roland

Sept. 7, 2011 | WMU News

Photo of Boeing 727-200 freighter donated to WMU.
Boeing 727-200 freighter donated to WMU.
BATTLE CREEK, Mich.--FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. and the world's largest express transportation company, was joined today by the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals in the presentation of a Boeing 727-200 freighter to Western Michigan University's College of Aviation to support outreach efforts and training for aviation students.

The aircraft was presented in a formal ceremony after it was flown in and landed at WMU's W.K. Kellogg Airport facility. In addition to the FedEx and OBAP officials, other attendees at the event included community, university and airport officials, and WMU students, faculty and staff.

"As we retire this 727 from our fleet, we are proud to give back to the aviation community," said David Sutton, managing director of aircraft acquisition and sales for FedEx. "The donation of this aircraft by FedEx is just one example of the many ways we support educational endeavors, reflecting the community spirit shared by all FedEx employees in the communities where we live and work."

Sutton also noted the "hands-on training value" the large freighter will provide to the university's aviation program students.

Since 2000, FedEx has donated more than 47 of its Boeing 727 aircraft to various organizations for educational purposes. Before its final flight, aircraft 727-200 TAIL NUMBER N258FE provided FedEx with 20 years service transporting packages to destinations throughout the United States.

"FedEx has been an ardent supporter and champion of OBAP programs for over 31 years, and this donation continues that support of Project Aerospace with Western Michigan University, an OBAP partner since 1998," said OBAP Chairman Albert Glenn, who is a captain with FedEx Express. "We see this as an incredible gift to the Michigan community and to the Historically Black Colleges and University Aviation Consortium. As with other FedEx/OBAP community-service programs, there are numerous success stories resulting from our partnership.

"Our programs support building an aerospace work force and as a result, we have individuals who have been mentored through programs under Project Aerospace at FedEx and from Western Michigan working in sales, information technology, engineering, aircraft maintenance and as pilots," Glenn continued. "On behalf of myself and the other 700 OBAP aerospace professionals, thank you for your continued trust and faith in OBAP's mission to serve our communities."

Photo of WMU's Boeing 727-200 freighter and Cirrus SR-20.
Boeing 727 joins WMU's fleet.
Shown with one of WMU's Cirrus SR-20s
"This is a wonderful gift and the mark of a collaboration that truly is aimed at enhancing the education and credentials of future aviation professionals," said Dr. John M. Dunn, president of Western Michigan University.

"We're delighted to be part of a new partnership with FedEx and to continue our long relationship with the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals. Our students will benefit from having this 727 as an educational resource, and the airline industry will reap the benefits of the lessons our students learn."

WMU College of Aviation

The College of Aviation boasts enrollment of nearly 700 students in three programs—aviation maintenance technology, aviation science and administration, and aviation flight science. The college's mission is to prepare leaders who are sought after by the aerospace industry and to engage in meaningful research that advances the knowledge base. The college's vision is to serve as the premier aerospace education and research institution in a diverse global society. Founded in 1939, the college has operated since 1997 from the W.K. Kellogg Airfield in Battle Creek.

About FedEx Express

FedEx Express is the world's largest express transportation company, providing fast and reliable delivery to more than 220 countries and territories. FedEx Express uses a global air-and-ground network to speed delivery of time-sensitive shipments, by a definite time and date with a money-back guarantee.

About FedEx Corp.

FedEx Corp. provides customers and businesses worldwide with a broad portfolio of transportation, e-commerce and business services. With annual revenues of $39 billion, the company offers integrated business applications through operating companies competing collectively and managed collaboratively, under the respected FedEx brand. Consistently ranked among the world's most admired and trusted employers, FedEx inspires its more than 290,000 employees and contractors to remain "absolutely, positively" focused on safety, the highest ethical and professional standards, and the needs of their customers and communities.

About OBAP

OBAP is a nonprofit organization founded in 1976 to enhance, advance, and promote educational opportunities in aviation. From the outset, OBAP has focused its greatest emphasis on preparing young people to realize a successful future and highlighting the exciting potential available in aviation. To be certain, an aviation-oriented group representing African-American and minority concerns was neither new nor unique. Years earlier, the Tuskegee Airmen Inc. and Black Wings in Aviation had been formed with similar goals and both continue to be very active today. OBAP's unique approach to the concept was to build on the progress made in the military and general-aviation arenas by expanding the cause within the airline industry.

For more information, contact Cheryl Roland, WMU, at (269) 387-8400; Jim McCluskey, FedEx Express, at (901) 508-2077; or Diane Larche, OBAP, at (404) 273-3227.