American Airlines donated a retired MD-80 jet to George T. Baker Aviation School today, making it one of the only accredited aviation schools in the country to have a commercial airliner on school grounds.
American partnered with Odebrecht to move the 39-ton plane from Miami International Airport (MIA) to the Aviation School. The job required lifting the plane over State Road 112 and LeJeune Road, using a 500-ton crane equipped with a 400-foot telescoping boom, and then hauling the plane to the school.
“Moving the airplane was truly an engineering feat, requiring extensive collaboration between American, Odebrecht and almost a dozen companies and government agencies,” said Peter Dolara, American’s Senior Vice President based in Miami. “It was a tough job, but we couldn’t be more thrilled for the students at George T. Baker, who will get invaluable hands-on experience with a commercial aircraft.”
The move took place around 1 a.m. today. Miami-Dade County and airport officials had to close a runway and surrounding roads, remove light poles, trees, and fencing, as well as build a temporary gravel road to transport the plane to the school, located adjacent to MIA.
“This is the kind of challenging project we eagerly meet head-on,” said Gilberto Neves, President and CEO of Odebrecht USA. “You can’t just fly an MD-80 into a school parking lot. It takes a lot of planning and careful execution.”
The students at George T. Baker have already gained experience with the MD-80, prepping it for the move by taking off the wing tips and jet engines.
“Here at George T. Baker Aviation School, we pride ourselves on graduating students that are ready to excel in the aviation industry from day one,” said Principal Sean Gallagan. “Thanks to this incredible donation from American Airlines, I can say with confidence that our students are getting some of the best training in the country.”
American is gradually phasing out its MD-80 series for more fuel-efficient aircraft such as the Boeing 737-800. The MD-80 donation was made possible thanks to the efforts of the following partners:
- Federal Aviation Administration
- Florida Department of Transportation
- General Crane USA
- Miami-Dade County
- Miami-Dade County Public Schools
- Miami-Dade Expressway Authority
- Miami-Dade Aviation Department
- Miami-Dade Fire Rescue
- Miami-Dade Police Department
- Transportation Security Administration
- T.Y. Lin International
About American Airlines
American Airlines, American Eagle and AmericanConnection® serve 250 cities in 40 countries with, on average, more than 3,400 daily flights. The combined network fleet numbers more than 900 aircraft. American's award-winning Web site, AA.com®, provides users with easy access to check and book fares, plus personalized news, information and travel offers. American Airlines is a founding member of the oneworld® Alliance, which brings together some of the best and biggest names in the airline business, enabling them to offer their customers more services and benefits than any airline can provide on its own. Together, its members serve nearly 700 destinations in more than 130 countries and territories. American Airlines, Inc. and American Eagle Airlines, Inc. are subsidiaries of AMR Corporation. AmericanAirlines, American Eagle, AmericanConnection, AA.com, We know why you fly and AAdvantage are registered trademarks of American Airlines, Inc. (NYSE: AMR)
Founded over six decades ago, Odebrecht has grown to be a global leader in engineering and construction services, laying the groundwork for positive, sustainable change on five continents. Today, the Odebrecht Group is a worldwide leader in providing engineering & construction, petrochemical and bio-energy services. As part of the Odebrecht Group, Odebrecht USA opened its Coral Gables, Florida, office in 1990, and since then we have successfully delivered projects throughout the United States. Some signature projects completed include the American Airlines Arena, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, the Golden Glades interchange of Interstate 95, South Terminal at Miami International Airport and the Florida International University stadium. Odebrecht has a particular emphasis on public-sector infrastructure projects of vital importance.