CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Future aviation mechanics at Del Mar College received a million dollar gift to help learn how to work on jet engines.
Rolls-Royce donated a F405 Spey engine to the Aviation Maintenance program at the college. The engine is used in training jets flown by air crews at Naval Air Station Kingsville and around the county.
Chief of Naval Training Rear Admiral Robert Westendorff said that the donation will help students jumpstart their careers and get valuable aviation experience.
"This is so encouraging for me to be able to come to an event like this where the college is partnering with industry," Westendorff said. "Where we're not looking at our individual business interests, but we're supporting the broader goal and broader mission to support Naval Aviation."
When you think of the name Rolls-Royce, most people think of the luxury car brand, but the company has been involved in aviation since the 1940's. According to Coby True, head of operations for the Rolls-Royce F405 Program, his previous experience as an Air Force veteran helps him to relate to students in the aviation program.
"They're learning a new career," True said. "They're entrusted to maintain and build an engine that is going to put a pilot into the air. And to be able to relate to them on that and calm those fears, calm those nerves, and really show them the pride and ownership of what they do."
In a growing industry with a high demand for aviation mechanics, students like Reece Nunez can expect many job prospects upon graduation. Nunez plans to join the Navy after college and credits his preparedness to the aviation program.
"It really shows how much they care about their future employees," Nunez said. "Notice how I said future employees cause one day we will be working there. And for them to donate a modern engine that we can actually work on and then after we get out of here work on again, it really familiarizes us with our futures."
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