Home Business $900K aircraft is donated to PSC

$900K aircraft is donated to PSC

Pensacola State College has announced the donation of a Fairchild Merlin IV aircraft appraised at $900,000.


The 1982 Metroliner was donated by Don Bishop, InDyne CEO and President, who is also chairman of the board and CEO of InDyne’s Reliance Test & Technology.

The aircraft will be used in the College’s Aviation Airframe Mechanics and Aviation Power Plant Mechanics (A&P Mechanics) Program. Students enrolled in the program will have the unique opportunity to work on a Metroliner, which is a larger aircraft than programs typically have at their disposal.

“This aircraft will give students access to aircraft maintenance logs and training opportunities unlike those seen in traditional college programs,” said Pensacola State President Ed Meadows during a press conference on June 11 at ST Engineering’s airframe maintenance facility at the Pensacola International Airport.

“The PSC family thanks you for your generous gift of this aircraft. It will give students the opportunity to build their confidence and the skills needed to pursue a gratifying high-wage career.”

Pensacola State College’s program is a partnership with ST Engineering, Triumph Gulf Coast, the City of Pensacola and Santa Rosa County Economic Development. The state’s local legislative delegation ─ Sen. Doug Broxson and Reps. Alex Andrade and Michelle Salzman ─ secured much of the funding for the program.

On hand for the announcement were representatives of the legislators and Pensacola Mayor DC Reeves, along with members of the College’s Board of Trustees and PSC Foundation Board of Governors.

Former Pensacola mayors Ashton Hayward and Grover Robinson IV also thanked Bishop and applauded the College for the A&P Mechanics Program.

In a prepared statement, ST Engineering North America thanked Bishop for donating the aircraft.

“This aircraft will significantly enhance our Aviation Airframe Mechanics and Aviation Power Plant Mechanics programs, providing students with invaluable hands-on training opportunities. Our partnerships with Triumph Gulf Coast, the City of Pensacola, and the Santa Rosa County Economic Development play in driving educational excellence and exemplify the profound impact of industry and education working together to equip students with the skills and confidence needed for successful careers in aviation, directly contributing to the growth of our local economy,” the statement said. “Mr. Bishop’s donation is a gateway to endless possibilities for students, enabling them to gain the experience necessary to excel in the aviation industry and beyond.”

Pensacola State and its partners are excited to provide students the opportunity to graduate as certified aviation mechanics in a program aligned with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations.

Meadows said the program will allow Pensacola State students to receive “direct-to-industry” employment due to the program and partners.

“Thanks to Mr. Bishop’s donation, we now have an invaluable resource for aspiring aviation technicians,” said Meadows, who noted how vital the aircraft will be to instructors who can now provide hands-on instruction to help students develop the skills necessary to pass FAA exams.

InDyne and InDyne’s Reliance Test & Technology also support the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Space Force, Missile Defense Agency and NASA.

The companies support specialized major ground test and operations facilities, radars and radar cross-section facilities, space and satellite systems, engineering, cyber, warfighter training, test and evaluation for major weapon systems, and unmanned and counter-unmanned aircraft.

Also, InDyne and InDyne’s Reliance Test & Technology support major defense locations worldwide that ensure our national security, including the U.S. Department of Defense Major Range and Test Facility Bases at Eglin Air Force Base; Patuxent River, Maryland; and Fort Huachuca, Arizona; and supported both the Eastern and Western Launch Ranges.

“We are very pleased to provide the Merlin IV-C Metroliner to Pensacola State College for the benefit of the students and the community. It will bring a new dimension to the opportunities afforded PSC and its students for years to come,” Bishop said.

Andrea Krieger, PSC’s Executive Director of Institutional Development, expressed her gratitude to Bishop.

“Your authentic excitement and desire to help aspiring aviation mechanics is admirable,” she said. “It has been a joy getting to spend time with you as you worked through how you might help us enhance our program with your gift.”

When notified of the gift, the College’s A&P Mechanics instructors said the Metroliner would be a great addition to PSC’s fleet of baseline aircraft and allow the College to train new aircraft technicians on all systems.

“This will enable us to taxi and accomplish crucial engine runs on larger aircraft, not to mention completing jacking, towing, gear cycling, and avionics checks/inspections. Being able to work on the Metroliner sets us apart from the normal operations of an FAA CFR part 147 school that teaches the required turbine- PT6 engines and reciprocating Lycoming engines,” the instructors said in a prepared statement.

“This donation allows PSC to give future technicians hands-on experience with aircraft maintenance and flightline operations with the same type of aircraft they will see in the industry,” said Michael Listau, PSC’s Dean of Workforce Education.

“Adding this aircraft will strengthen our ability to produce a valuable, well-rounded graduate with real-world experience that will undoubtedly become a staple of the ever-growing aviation community.”

For more information, contact Sheila Nichols, PSC Executive Director of Marketing, at 850-484-1428 or snichols@pensacolastate.edu.

InDyne CEO and President Don Bishop donated a 1982 Fairchild Merlin IV airplane o Pensacola State College’s Aviation Airframe Mechanics and Aviation Power Plant Mechanics Program. Pictured at the announcement held Tuesday at ST Engineering are, from left, Tim McBride, president of ST Engineering North America; Ed Meadows, PSC President; Bishop, who is also chairman of the board and CEO of InDyne’s Reliance Test & Technology; Sherry Bowles, InDyne Senior Business Development/Capture Manager; Tim Davis, Chief Operations Officer InDyne and InDyne Reliance Test and Technology; Alvin Bass, Senior Vice President and General Manager ST Engineering; and PSC District Board of Trustees Chairman Dr. Troy Tippett.

Don Bishop, InDyne CEO and president, donated this 1982 Fairchild Merlin IV airplane to PSC’s Aviation Airframe Mechanics and Aviation Power Plant Mechanics Program. The Metroliner aircraft is valued at $900,000.