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Airline Chairman donates his private airplane to Coleg Cambria engineering students

The Executive Chairman of airline Jet2.com has donated a former RAF training jet to Coleg Cambria to help students get a hands-on experience of working on an aircraft.

Philip Meeson, whose nephew is completing an aerospace apprenticeship with Cambria and Broughton-based wingmakers Airbus, donated his own Jet Provost T5 aircraft to the college’s Deeside Campus.

Nick Tyson, Assistant Principal and Director of Learning, said the plane will add another dimension to the award-winning department’s innovative delivery of work-based learning.

He thanked Mr Meeson for the gift, and added: “Having the Provost T5 on campus is a major selling point for our engineering courses as it gives students hands-on experience of working on an airplane.

We can use it to train our aerospace apprentices – of which we have more than 180 every year – and those studying on our higher education programmes and summer school qualifications.

They’ll be able to look at structures, carry out live aircraft function testing and work out aircraft processes directly, so it will be incredible training for them.

I would like to thank Mr Meeson and for his kindness, we all appreciate his generosity and look forward to many years of working on the jet plane.”

The Provost was used by the Royal Air Force from 1955 to 1993 as a British training jet before later being developed into a more heavily armed version for ground attack missions.

With a maximum speed of almost 440mph, the aircraft is around 40ft long with a wingspan of 35ft.

The Jet Provost donated to Coleg Cambria was the fifth production T.5 built by BAC out of 110 ordered by the RAF. It emerged from BAC Warton’s factory in the summer of 1969 and formally released ready for RAF service on 16th September the same year.

Philip Meeson said: “I am very proud and pleased to donate my Jet Provost aircraft to Coleg Cambria and that it will be used to train Airbus apprentices.

I know the college provides a fantastic start for the Airbus engineers of the future and I am delighted to have been able to make this contribution.”

The addition of the jet comes after the Engineering department hosted the prestigious two-day EEF (Engineering Employers Federation) conference at Cambria’s new £10m Bersham Road facility in Wrexham.

Up to 25 further education lecturers came together for a packed programme of workshops and activities centred on best practice and innovative learning methods, including an advanced manufacturing visit to Airbus.

Top pic: Geoffrey Peacocke (Airbus apprentice and Mr Meeson’s nephew) with Airbus apprentices, Weald Aviation and Mark Kiberd, an Aerospace lecturer at Coleg Cambria. This team effectively dismantled , transported and re-assembled the aircraft at Deeside.

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