Aviation mechanics program gets big donation

Reporter: Michelle Alvarez Writer: Matias Abril
Published: Updated:

A helicopter, an airplane, and engines. Those are just a few of the donations to the aviation mechanics program at Lorenzo Walker Technical College.

The Federal Aviation Administration now requires aviation mechanics programs everywhere to have modern, air-worthy equipment.

Students from Lorenzo Walker Technical College celebrated the donations on Wednesday.

“My whole life, since I was a kid, I’d always point out the sky like, oh, there’s a plane, and like, I’d always be so excited,” said Bella Dearo, a student at Lorenzo Walker Technical College.

The Robinson R-22 helicopter, the 1973 Beechcraft King Air C-90 airplane, and two operating Pratt & Whitney PT-6 engines were on display for everyone to see.

“And you know, they’re not cheap at all, so, I mean, it was a huge surprise for us, and they’re really great to work on and be more hands-on instead of just in the textbooks,” Dearo said.

Serge Renaud is the lead instructor of the aircraft maintenance program. He loves connecting with his students.

“I want my students to really be good mechanics, good, reliable mechanics, and to try as they come out of this program, to make their life easier to translate into the real world,” Renaud said.

These high-demand jobs pay well with an average starting salary of $65,000. Lorenzo Walker Technical College is the only educational institution in Lee and Collier County offering this kind of program.

“The pay is great as soon as you’re out, but then also, it’s just a fun job to have. It’s different. and, you know, instead of just working on cars get to work on something that flies. It’s awesome,” Dearo said.

The donations were a result of Collier County residents making a difference through the work of the Collier Community Foundation and are collectively valued at more than $1 million.

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