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Swanberg Family Jetstream donation lands at Okanagan College
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Swanberg Family Jetstream donation lands at Okanagan College
To the students of Okanagan College's Aircraft Maintenance (AME) M-License program in Vernon, it was more than good news: it was golden. That is how student Eddie Fossum described the announcement that the College had received a Jetstream 31 aircraft for training purposes.

The British Aerospace Model Jetstream 31, valued at nearly $700,000 was donated by the Swanberg family of Grande Prairie & Fort St. John, in memory of Sylvan and Dorothy Swanberg. The aircraft represents the most valuable single gift of equipment for program support that the College has received to date.

Sylvan and Dorothy's son Loran Swanberg
 was joined by his wife Tanya, sisters Joan and Sharon, Brother-in-Law Charlie, niece Katie, and Laurie Friesen of Landsman Properties Ltd. to announce the donation.

The Swanberg family gifted the aircraft in support of the College’s Aircraft Maintenance Engineering (AME) M-License program, which trains students in the maintenance, repair and overhaul of fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.

Swanberg shared his father's history as a pioneer in the transport industry in B.C. and Alberta during a career that spanned 50 years and saw Sylvan found multiple businesses, including Swanberg Air in 2000; the company ceased operations after Sylvan's passing in 2011.

“Our family is very proud to be able to support the next generation of Aircraft Maintenance Engineers,” says Swanberg. “Continuous education and hands-on training is so important in the aviation industry.

“We are delighted that this aircraft, donated in honour of my parents, has found a wonderful home at Okanagan College, where it will inspire and enrich the learning experience for students for years to come.” 

Swanberg presented the keys to the aircraft to Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton, who noted that the value of the aircraft as a teaching tool far exceeded any dollar value that could be ascribed to the plane.

“This gift will enrich the training experience for our students for years to come,” said Hamilton. “On behalf of Okanagan College, I want to express our sincere gratitude to the Swanberg family for this support.” 

The family has previously donated aircraft to three other post-secondary institutions in Canada, including Jetstream 31s to Red River College in Winnipeg, and Northern Lights College in Dawson Creek, and a 601 Challenger to SAIT Polytechnic in Calgary. 

The Northern Lights connection was important to note, as the College's AME students train for 48 weeks at the College’s hangar in Vernon and then complete the final 14 weeks of the program at Northern Lights College.

“We hope that link resonates with the students,” adds Swanberg. “Our family is very excited about the legacy behind these aircraft and the connection between them."

It is with great honour & pleasure that the Swanberg family is able to donate this aircraft in memory of Sylvan & Dorothy Swanberg. It is our hope that students will be able to learn and train on this aircraft."

He added: "
I believe it is [our family's] hope that for years to come, many AME’s will cross paths and quite often they will be heard to say: 'I trained on a Swanberg Air Aircraft when I was in school, too.'”

Joining the Swanbergs and representatives from Okanagan College and the Okanagan College Foundation at the unveiling ceremony were current students and alumni of the AME program, instructors, and dignitaries including Vernon Mayor Akbal Mund who thanked the Swanbergs on behalf of the City of Vernon for supporting education in the Okanagan.

Read the full story in the press release.