20:58 PM

Donated business jet is early holiday gift for nearby school

Retired Learjet is first business aircraft at George T. Baker Aviation Technical College

George T. Baker Aviation Technical College will get an early winter holiday gift delivered to its doorstep from Miami International Airport, in the form of a retired Gates Learjet 25D business jet.

The unflyable aircraft, which would be valued at approximately $1.5 million if it were made airworthy, has been left abandoned in a hangar at MIA since 2013. Last December, iAero Tech, the new owners of the hangar, agreed with the Miami-Dade Aviation Department (MDAD) that the plane would have more worth if it were donated to George T. Baker and used for student training. This is the first private jet aircraft at the college, providing invaluable, hands-on learning opportunities for the school’s future aviation mechanics.

The jet’s one-way trip from MIA to George T. Baker started with a tow from the MIA airfield to N.W. 36th Street via an MDAD SUV driven by MIA Director and CEO Lester Sola. The Learjet then made a “connection” to a Miami-Dade County Public Schools vehicle for the last leg of its journey across LeJeune Road to its new home.

Ciro R. Hidalgo, the principal at George T. Baker Aviation Technical College, and some of his students were there to welcome the Learjet with open arms after its “landing.”

The cost of completely overhauling the aircraft and making it ready to fly would easily exceed the value of an airworthy Learjet. As an aircraft, its value is only what the scrap metal would be, but as a learning tool for our local aviation students, the value of this jet is priceless.
Lonny Craven, MDAD Airside Division Director