Bering Air recently made a donation to the University of Alaska–Fairbanks Community and Technical College: a 1978 Beech 200 airplane.
Charley Fox, as the former air ambulance is called, was donated to the college after Bering Air found little interest from potential buyers, causing them to re-think where they wanted this plane to end up. Bering Air’s president, Jim Rowe, says that Bering Air feels it best to keep the plane in Alaska. He hopes that will encourage its young people to consider a career in aviation.
“Well, we do want to have homegrown pilots, mechanics, in all of our departments. We have 130 employees, and probably the vast majority of them are local.”
This donation looks like it will be beneficial for Nome. Rowe states that Bering Air has had some recent difficulty hiring locally.
“It’s kind of frustrating at times to have to look far and wide to find people when there’s a good, stable, year-round job with lots of benefits right here in Nome.”
Arvid Weflen, the director of aviation at UAF, seems optimistic that this donation will allow for more job flow into Nome through Bering Air. He says that he knows of a few students who have already expressed interest in coming to the area to work in aviation.
“I’m fairly confident they’re gonna wind up going out to Nome, because they got a little excited by it.”
According to Rowe, Bering Air receives two spots in UAF’s maintenance program each year. With this, the airline can to choose to send a current employee who wants to work in maintenance. They can also allow someone from one of the surrounding communities to be trained for a job in aviation.
With the new cohort set to start the program in August, Charley Fox, the donated plane, could be put into use very soon.
Image at top: At Fairbanks International Airport, University of Alaska–Fairbanks representatives stand in front of the 1978 Beechcraft King Air 200 donated by Bering Air to UAF’s Community and Technical College. UAF photo by JR Ancheta; used with permission.