FedEx donates jet to Kansas school district
Liberal A retired FedEx jet has found a new home and purpose as a classroom for Liberal students to learn math and science in southwest Kansas.
The donated Boeing 727, which was built in 1979 and also had a career as a passenger jet, will be called the Liberal Learning Jet. The High Plains Daily Leader reports that the jet named “Alina” arrived Thursday at the Mid America Air Museum, a former World War II training base.
The aircraft will be converted to a classroom with space for 30 to 60 students. The focus will be on teaching science, technology, engineering and math skills to elementary through high school grades.
The project is collaboration of organizations including the city, school district, the Mid America Air Museum Foundation and the Seward County Community College and Area Technical School.
Janese Thatcher, dean of the career and technical education at the community college, said the jet would give students a learning experience that connects them with a practical application in industry and science.
“We especially want to provide role models for women and minority students, as often they underestimate their ability to succeed in technical career areas,” she said.
The jet will be deactivated with only certain systems related to classroom learning still functional. Future plans include simulators that students can use to learn about subjects such as weather and aviation.
Delvin Kinser, president of the Liberal school board, said the jet would offer a new service to local students and the surrounding communities.
“She will inspire future engineers, technicians and aviators with a promise of a career that can only be secured with the development of steels and math and science,” Kinser said during the jet’s arrival.