Airline Donates Plane to University for New Program


SkyWest Airlines recently entered into a partnership with the University, one that will allow students to pursue careers as an aviation technician through SFU’s soon-to-be-launched Aviation Maintenance Program.

Last month, SkyWest donated a CRJ200 airframe to the school for this program. Students who enroll in the program will be able to work on this plane’s frame, gaining hands-on skills in the process.

This new program was announced last October after the University received a $1 million grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC).

“The aircraft’s complexity allows students to troubleshoot, repair and test anything from its environmental systems to its avionics and more,” said Brother Marius Strom, a lab instructor in the University’s Engineering Department who will lead the new program.

Students will be able to complete the program in under 18 months.

SFU already offers an Aviation Specialization Program that is unique. This program allows students to earn a pilot’s license while also working toward an undergraduate degree. Students can obtain both a private pilot and a commercial pilot license in just under three years.

Through the partnership with SkyWest, SFU students in the field of aviation will develop strong contacts with those working at a leading airline, while also developing the skills to succeed in the field.

The new maintenance program will also help fill a void in the industry – there is currently a shortage of aircraft maintenance technicians across the nation.

“We’re glad to partner with Saint Francis University and for the students to get real-world, hands-on experience with a commercial airframe and components,” said SkyWest Vice President of Maintenance Joe Sigg in an interview with SFU’s Communications and Marketing Office.

Students who complete the Aviation Maintenance Program will be mentored by experienced mechanics and will be guaranteed an interview for employment at openings at SkyWest.

“It is a real opportunity for students to get involved and help do their part to combat the maintenance technician shortage,” said former SFU student Will Guzic, a flight instructor at Nulton Aviation Services.

Nulton will also partner with SFU and SkyWest in the launch of the Aviation Maintenance Program.

Coursework in the new program will be completed at the John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport.