American Airlines Donates MD-80 To George T. Baker Aviation School


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American Airlines Donates MD-80 To George T. Baker Aviation School

Shane Nolan

May 21, 2010 - American Airlines donated a $6 million, 140-passenger MD- 80 aircraft to the George T. Baker Aviation School in Miami, making it one of the only aviation schools in the country with a commercial airliner on school grounds.

The MD-80 was transported in the early hours Thrusday from the airport to the school which is about a quarter mile away. This engineering feat involved closing roadways, runways, removing light poles, trees, fencing and building a temporary gravel road.

The project consisted of lifting the 39 ton plane from the ramp at Miami International Airport over State Road 112 and LeJeune Road, using a 500-ton crane equipped with a 400-foot telescoping boom. The plane then was hauled to the Aviation School.

George T. Baker Aviation School is located at 3275 N.W. 42 Avenue, adjacent to the Miami International Airport. The school is a public, tax-supported institution authorized by the Florida Department of Education and operated by the Miami-Dade County Public School System.

The Baker school is accredited by the Council on Occupational Education (COE) and the National Center for Aircraft Technician Training (NCATT) and is certificated by the Federal Aviation Administration under Part 147 of the Federal Aviation Regulations.


Baker Aviation currently prepares approximately 1,000 high school and adult students for careers in aviation.  For high school students, the school offers instruction in aerospace technology, electronics, avionics, and aircraft maintenance (airframe and powerplant). For adult students, the school offers instruction in electronics, avionics, and aircraft maintenance (airframe and powerplant).


The donation of the MD-80 will allow students for the first time the chance to work on a large commercial airliner and utilize the technologies onboard. American is gradually phasing out its MD-80 series for more fuel-efficient aircraft such as the Boeing 737-800. Both high school and adult students, upon completion of their respective course of study, may receive certificates issued from the NCATT, FCC, and FAA.  Baker Aviation is one of two schools in Florida accredited by the NCATT and the only school in the country to offer NCATT accredited courses to high school students.

The aviation program began in 1939 at Miami Senior High School. In 1942 the program moved into the unfinished Roosevelt Hotel.  In 1943 the building became known as the Technical High School and several other programs moved into the facility. In 1947 the building was renamed the Lindsey Hopkins Education Center. Classes were held there until 1958 when the aviation program moved into its present quarters adjacent to Miami International Airport. In 1961 the building was dedicated as George T. Baker Aviation Maintenance Technician School to honor Mr. George T. Baker who, until his death, had been president of National Airlines, and had donated the land to the School Board of Miami-Dade County.

Partners include: Federal Aviation Administration, Florida, Department of Transportation, General Crane USA, Miami-Dade, County Public Schools, Miami-Dade Expressway Authority, Miami-Dade Aviation Department, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, Miami-Dade Police Department, Odebrecht, Transportation Security Administration, C3TS and T.Y. Lin International.
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