Thursday, December 18, 2014
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AVC awarded $20,000 grant for aircraft programs

A scope designed to test the integrity of composite materials used in aircraft is among the additions to Antelope Valley College’s aeronautics programs following the award of a $20,000 grant from the California Community Foundation.

“The money was for anything we could do to improve flight safety in aviation,” said instructional assistant Jack B. Halliday, who wrote the grant request.

With the increased use of lightweight composite materials in aircraft, students working on aircraft need the ability to identify defects that occur under the surface of composites, according to Halliday.

Thus, the college purchased a BondaScope with the majority of the grant money.

“It’s an ultrasonic tester. It shoots a sound wave into the material and you can find defects that you can’t see with your eyes through disruptions of the sound wave,” Halliday said.

“The purchase of test equipment is something that – especially in these budget times – we’d not be able to justify this type of specialized equipment,” said Maggie Drake, dean of the Technical Education Division. “We’re really giving students an experience with this type of test equipment.”

The BondaScope is expected to be used primarily in the college’s aircraft fabrication program, which includes instruction in composite materials.

The remaining money will go toward refurbishing the college’s Aero Commander, a non-flight-worthy plane that is used by students in the airframe and powerplant program as a learning tool.

Halliday said by replacing some of the flight critical equipment such as fuel lines and magnetos on the plane, students would gain valuable experience.

“Trying to keep the Aero Commander in good condition is really, really tough on a community college budget,” said Drake.

“This type of equipment and access for students helps our program retain one of the best reputations in the state,” she said.