Top executives from FedEx Express were on hand at SUN ’n FUN Friday to dedicate the newest “classroom” on the SUN ’n FUN campus on Lakeland-Linder Regional Airport (LAL) in Florida.
The donated Boeing 727, delivered in February to the SUN ‘n FUN campus, held a place of honor on the flightline during this year’s airshow.
The Boeing 727-200F will become an interactive classroom, allowing students from the Central Florida Aerospace Academy and Polk State College to have hands-on learning opportunities for required courses.
SUN ‘n FUN CEO and President John “Lites” Leenhouts commented that, “It is truly an honor for SUN ’n FUN to be recognized by the aviation industry giant FedEx as a credible air and space education center promoting the growth of aviation careers around the world. Their investment in SUN ’n FUN’s extensive year-round education programs that create pilots and mechanics is a testament to FedEx’s commitment to the future of flight. We at SUN’ n FUN and Central Florida Aerospace Academy are proud to be their partner in this ambitious endeavor.”
“Donating this 727 aircraft for aviation training here in Polk County promises solid returns through the hands-on skills that will benefit many aviation students who one day will fill important jobs in our industry,” said Paul Cassel, senior vice president of FedEx Express Flight Operations. “I am proud that FedEx sees the value of aviation programs and is able to give back to the communities where FedEx people live and work.”
This marks the 62nd FedEx donation of a Boeing 727 aircraft to various organizations for educational purposes since 2000. Before its final flight, the aircraft provided FedEx with more than 20 years of service transporting packages to destinations throughout the United States.
At SUN ‘n FUN, the 727 will remain fully functional, allowing students on aviation career paths to explore the cockpit or the mechanical aspects of the plane. The Florida Air Museum Center for Innovation and Exploration will be greatly enhanced by the Boeing 727 with two Pratt Whitney engines, noted Lori Bradner, executive director of education at SUN ‘n FUN.
“This is a new era for STEM education and we are thrilled by the collaborative partnership with special permission given by FedEx to retain their name and colors on the aircraft alongside the SUN ‘n FUN logo,” she said. “The aircraft is not only a learning tool, but an inspiration for students of all ages in the Central Florida aviation corridor.”
Educators can schedule field trips through the 727 by calling 863-644-2431 or at Sun-n-Fun.org.