Kevin Hillier (left)

Kevin Hillier (left)

Donation takes flight at Vernon college

Carson Air has donated a $300,000 Metroliner II aircraft to the aircraft maintenance engineering program.

A local aviation company has touched down with its second major donation to Okanagan College in as many months.

Carson Air has donated  a $300,000 Metroliner II aircraft to the aircraft maintenance engineering (AME) M-License program.

The aircraft recently landed at the college’s aerospace hangar at the Vernon Airport.

“This aircraft has served Carson Air very well and we are proud to see it put to use as a training tool at Okanagan College,” said Kevin Hillier, Carson Air’s vice-president of operations.

On Sept. 19, Carson Air also announced a donation of $125,000 to support the purchase of a flight simulator for the commercial aviation program in Kelowna.

“Support from industry plays a vital role in the college’s ability to provide high quality training experiences,” said Jim Hamilton, Okanagan College president.

Built in 1980, the Metroliner II saw service with two U.S. regional airlines before being imported to Canada in 1994 when it was converted to haul cargo.

Nearly 60 feet in length and with a wingspan to match, the 19-passenger, twin-engine turboprop has been part of Carson Air’s fleet since 1998.

The plane’s arrival in Vernon from Carson Air’s hangar in Kelowna marked the final flight for the aircraft, after more than 35,000 hours in the air over Canada and the U.S. (14,000 of which under Carson Air’s banner).

While the aircraft’s time in commercial service may be over, its utility as a teaching tool will go on for years, says Dale Martell, AME program lead.

“It will be utilized primarily for structures and electrical training,” said Martell.

“Electrical is one of the most challenging areas facing AME students, and so the hands-on experience they can get by working on an aircraft of this complexity is invaluable.”

More information about the AME program is available at