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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Donation boosts involvement in local aviation community

June 18, 2013

Blue Cessna Plan Donated by SJVC of Aviation Committed to the core value of Community in our mission statement, SJVC has recently added recycling and reusing to the list of ways we serve the public, and in the best way possible.

In 2011, after several years of use SJVC donated a 1968  Blue Cessna 150 to the Castle Air Museum (CAM) in Atwater, California.

The Castle Air Museum is a non-profit organization where restored war planes from the Korean, Vietnam, and World Wars are on display to be enjoyed by the public.

“The museum began in June of 1981… and today it is the largest air craft museum between Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon,” says Executive Director of CAM, Joe Pruzzo.

The plane was donated to SJVC’s aviation campus by a privately owned organization and was used by aviation students for general training with airframes, patchwork, and interior repairs.

As the plane was thoroughly used by the aviation program in Fresno, it reached a state where it had seen much better days.

“I am friends with Joe Pruzzo, CEO of the Castle Air Museum, and we were walking around the campus and I mentioned to him that we were probably going to scrap it for metal because it was falling apart, and he suggested that we donate it to the museum and make it kid friendly,” explains aviation Campus Director Jack Macfarlane.

Once the fate of the Cessna was decided, it was disassembled by the aviation students and transported all the way to Atwater on a flatbed trailer.

Today, the 1968  Blue Cessna 150 is fully restored, and children can explore the plane’s cockpit and experience what it would be like to fly it. Regarding the new state of the plane,

“We are very proud of it,” Macfarlane proclaims.

The donation of this plane is not where community involvement stops for these aviation students.

“We have already had a few past students who have donated their time at the museum to help restore aircraft there… I believe seeing us donate items to the museum and seeing items given to us to rework gives our students a sense that the Aviation Maintenance community takes care of each other because we all have the same passion, working on airplanes,” says Jason Alves, the Academic Dean of Aviation.

Along with donating their time to work on the planes, many students are able to support the museum by attending their fundraisers. Some of which include the family friendly Labor Day Weekend Open Cockpit Day, and a musical concert at the Merced Theatre on August 3rd.

As Mr. Pruzzo and the Castle Air Museum are able to have parts and planes restored for display, our students are given hands-on experience and an easy way to get involved in the community.

“We want to work collaboratively with the aviation students. The goal is to have students come up and work on the aircraft to earn some sort of credit,” states Pruzzo.

When asked about the symbiotic relationship SJVC has with the great people at the Castle Air Museum Macfarlane says,

“It is a wonderful relationship we have.”


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