Red River College President Paul Vogt accepted the keys to a $1-million Jetstream aircraft this morning, at a ceremony held to celebrate the history of Alberta's Swanberg Air, and the company's generous contribution to staff and students at RRC.
The British Aerospace Model Jetstream 31, along with associated equipment, manuals and training aids, was donated by the Swanberg family of Grande Prairie, Alta., and Fort St. John, B.C., in memory of company founder Sylvan Swanberg and his wife, Dorothy.
The Swanbergs' daughter, Ann Sawyer, together with her son Konnor and employees of Swanberg Air (now Landsman Properties), were on hand at RRC's Stevenson Campus to announce the donation, made in support of the College's Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) program, which trains students in the maintenance, repair and overhaul of fixed-wing planes and helicopters.
“Our family is very proud to be able to support the next generation of aircraft maintenance engineers,” said Sawyer. “Continuous education and hands-on training is so important in the aviation industry, and we’re happy the donation of the Jetstream 31 to Red River College will have a positive impact on students and industry.”
Vogt says the Jetstream will allow RRC to continue meeting the labour needs of the aerospace and aviation sectors.
“There is an increasing demand in the aviation industry for highly skilled graduates, and with Manitoba being home to the third largest aerospace sector in Canada, this working aircraft will enhance training opportunities,” said Vogt.
“We are grateful to the Swanberg family for their impactful donation, which allows students to train on state-of-the-art equipment and become leaders in their field.”
Sylvan Swanberg’s career in the transport industry spanned more than 50 years. After achieving success in the trucking industry, he founded Swanberg Air in Grande Prairie in 2000. The company offered cargo, scheduled and charter passenger services in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. The decision was made to cease operations in the wake of Sylvan's death in April 2011.
Since Dorothy's death in June 2012, the Swanberg family has donated aircraft to three other post-secondary institutions in Canada, including Jetstream 31s to both Okanagan College and Northern Lights College in B.C., and a 601 Challenger to SAIT Polytechnic in Calgary.
Shown above (from right): RRC President Paul Vogt; Ann Sawyer (nee Swanberg); Konnor Sawyer; Neil Lavoie, Chair, RRC Stevenson Campus. Back row: Janet Gibb and Laurie Friesen, employees of Swanberg Air/Landsman Properties.