If you’re going to start an Aviation Technician Maintenance Program to train future aircraft mechanics, it stands to reason you need an aircraft on which students can do hands-on work.

Thanks to Northrop Grumman Corporation, Anne Arundel County Public Schools now has just that. Northrop Grumman officials today officially transferred ownership of a 1972 Sabreliner N160W jet to the school system, which will move it to Tipton Airport on Fort George G. Meade so that students interested in airframe and powerplant maintenance careers can use it for instruction.

“The aviation industry continues to break barriers in the skies both for military and commercial applications,” Superintendent George Arlotto said. “Our students want to be a part of that innovation, we want to help them be a part of it, and our partnership with Northrop Grumman and Tipton Airport is a key part of making that a reality. Our students thrive when we and our partners provide opportunity and access.”

The mid-sized, twin-engine aircraft was retired from service as a test aircraft in 2018. Prior to that, it was used as a detection target for radar system testing.

“This particular Sabreliner has both historical significance to Northrop Grumman and practical applications as a training aid for AACPS – so its preservation is a win-win for us and the County,” said Northrop Grumman Mission Systems Vice President of Operations Jeanie Wade. “N160W has played a role in every significant Northrop Grumman air-to-air and surface-to-air radar development program for the past 30 years. We’re glad to see AACPS adopt it to train the next generation of aviation technicians.”

Northrop Grumman will also donate parts and equipment to AACPS for the program, which will be available to Center of Applied Technology – North students beginning in September. AACPS is pursuing Federal Aviation Administration approval of the course so that the training program will prepare students for the FAA’s written, oral, and practical Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) mechanics certification tests.

“We talk often about creating opportunities for all of our students, and this is a golden opportunity made possible by the generosity of Northrop Grumman and Tipton Airport,” Dr. Arlotto said. “Through this program, we will literalIy be training the next leaders of the aircraft mechanic industry in our schools and our county. I could not be more excited.”

Students who take part in the program will be able to continue their studies and earn additional aviation mechanics certificates through Anne Arundel Community College.