Our News

9 September 2011

Cardiff and Vale College set to fly high with a new aircraft

Cardiff and Vale College’s International Centre for Aerospace Training (ICAT) took delivery of a new aircraft during the summer.

The Jetstream 31 was decommissioned by the Royal Navy in March this year and was transported around 200 miles from RNAS Culdrose in south west Cornwall. ICAT staff Allan Higman, Jon McGee and Leighton Marson were helped by two ex-Navy BSC Aerospace Engineering students, spent roughly 250 man hours preparing the plane for its journey to Cardiff Airport.

They had to remove the wings, undercarriage and propellers, as well as removing smaller items, to ready the Jetstream for its journey. “We filmed ourselves taking the aircraft apart so we can use the videos as a training aid when we come to put it back together,” Allan explained.

Doing the job remotely over such a distance meant all activities had to be planned out well in advance. All the tools for the job were designed specifically for the work needed and manufactured locally, and specially fit the aircraft.

Manoeuvring the aircraft into ICAT’s hanger caused a few tense moments as there was only six inches clearance between its tailplane and the top of the hanger door. 

The twin engine turboprop was used to train Navy navigators and electrical engineers and will now be used to train ICAT’s Aero Engineering students. Passenger versions of the aircraft carry 19 people, making it the largest plane ICAT has ever had.

It also came with all its ground safety equipment, creating a safe environment for the students to work in, making the craft unique for aerospace training in Wales.

“The aircraft will be available for duty free and pleasure flights next summer, if anyone can provide us with two engines for it,” ICAT Head of Department Jeff Moore said.