(WACO) – Rick Fazollo of Waco is 5 feet 8 inches in height but is looking forward to the tall challenges looming over him in the aviation maintenance hangar at Texas State Technical College.
Fazollo, 28, an Aircraft Airframe Technology and Aircraft Powerplant Technology major, said he is eager to start troubleshooting and repairing a recently gifted multimillion dollar CFM56 high-bypass turbofan jet engine used in Southwest Airlines’ Boeing 737 fleet.
“When I was in the Marines, I worked with turbine engines,” said Fazollo, a native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. “Seeing it being brought here was breathtaking.”
The 5,500 lb. and at least 6-foot-tall engine will be used by students in TSTC’s Aircraft Airframe Technology and Aircraft Powerplant Technology programs. Southwest Airlines will give the aviation maintenance programs the engine’s instruction manuals later this fall so it can be incorporated into classes.
“It’s going to give our aviation mechanics a boost in their learning,” said Carson Pearce, TSTC’s statewide transportation division director in Waco.
Pearce and Kelly Filgo, lead instructor for the airframe and powerplant technology programs at TSTC, both said it would be impossible to purchase an engine like this for class usage. They said in the past students have only been able to see photographs of this kind of engine in theory classes.
“We are getting students in front of it with their eyes,” Filgo said. “The students are very aware of what a great gift this is.”
Christopher Scheel, 26, of Houston is majoring in the airframe and powerplant technology programs and said he has been impressed so far with the engine.
“I’ve been trying to figure out how the cooling systems work,” he said. “It’s a really good opportunity to get your hands on something like this.”
Pearce said TSTC has worked to build relationships with Southwest Airlines and American Airlines, which are both based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Pearce said Southwest Airlines has hired some of TSTC’s Aircraft Dispatch Technology students and American Airlines has employed past Aircraft Pilot Training Technology graduates.
For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.