Aviation Mechanic Student Field Trip in New England – New England Air Museum

On Monday, January 20, 2020, New England NAA aviation mechanic students had the pleasure of exploring the New England Air Museum, and visiting one of NAA’s employer partners Bombardier Hartford Service Center, both in Windsor Locks, CT, at the Bradley International Airport. Of the 17 students who attended, some drove over two hours to take advantage of this opportunity on one of their no-class days and were glad they did. The museum tour offered glimpses into aviation’s past through its military and civilian aircraft collection and exhibits with historical timelines, narratives, and physical artifacts as part of a fantastic aviation collection. The museum, which has been in its current location since 1981, houses over 80 aircraft, including a Boeing B-29A Superfortress, a Goodyear ZNPK-28 Blimp Control Car, a Douglas DC-3, a Sikorsky CH-54B (S-64) Tarhe Skycrane, and a Sikorsky VS-44A Excambian all pictured with the students. The tour guide was knowledgeable and had stories to go with many of the aircraft and interactive displays. The students especially took advantage of the virtual piloting of Cessnas, and some climbed up into the plane to explore decades-old cockpits and hulls.

Then Over to Bombardier

After a break for an NAA sponsored lunch, Bombardier welcomed the students for a tour of their facility, and a Q&A session with two supervisors. No photos were allowed due to their commitment to protecting the privacy of their clients. Students were able to explore labs and shops containing painting, carpentry, restoration, and machining, as well as two hangars housing ten plus planes each under repair. Gathering an understanding of different roles A&Ps have within the company helped the students understand the entire process of plane repair at this particular company, but also grasp an understanding of what career areas NAA graduates can access within the employment field. The supervisors answered questions while on the tour and during the follow-up session to better assist students in understanding the application process. Students were surprised to discover opportunities with Bombardier, which has locations around the world, could take them to London, or even Singapore.

Thinking About the Future… 

General feedback from the students was positive. Jose A., third term student, stated: “I want to thank NAA for the opportunity and Sarah Kiepper for her efforts and the idea and organizing the trip. It was an amazing, educational trip and we learned about the history of the Bradley Int’l Airport in CT and who it is named after: a USAF pilot who lived in CT and died on a training flight. It was great to have the opportunity to go to Bombardier, which gave us an idea of how an aircraft manufacturer works. This opportunity allows me to have a better idea of where to work in the future.”