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Alcona Students Tour Kalitta Air Maintenance

December 19, 2023 – Kalitta Air Maintenance hosted 11 juniors and seniors from Alcona High School for a talent tour. Students arrived and gathered in the conference room for an informational presentation about the apprenticeship program. Angel Melendez, Apprentice Program Manager and his crew explained that it takes about 2 ½ years to get through the apprenticeship program, working side-by-side with trainers and instructors through hands-on training, on-the-job training and classroom training.   


Students then boarded the bus and drove out to the flight line and to see where they house the large aircrafts for maintenance. Kalitta Air Maintenance has over 500,000 square feet of aircraft hangar and engine shop space full of the state-of-the-art tools and technology. 


In the first aircraft hangar many apprenticeship personnel were making parts for the planes and taking parts apart to rebuild them or do routine maintenance on them. Students were in awe at the vastness of space and wondered how an airplane could fit in one of these buildings. The second aircraft hangar had a 747 DHL aircraft in for repairs. Students were able to see how that plane actually fits in the hanger and how many workers were in action fixing issues from fuel leaks to landing gear problems. Everyone, including the teachers, were able to go up into the aircraft and see the cargo holding area, as well as sit in the pilot and copilot seats in the cockpit. From there, students went out to see where they actually tear down the aircraft engines and rebuild them.      


Students got to see the aircraft engine fully disassembled and then fully reassembled, as workers were working on the engine at multiple stations. The processes of rebuilding sheet metal, seeing parts made, observing the engine disassembly and reassembly, as well as watching the apprenticeship personnel work on the aircrafts were some highlights for the students.


As students departed the engine hanger, they drove past the bone yard - where expired aircraft await for disassembly of parts to be reused on other aircraft. Once all usable parts have been gleaned from those expired aircrafts, the rest of the planes are destroyed and broken into smaller parts for transport to their permanent homes.


About half of the students on the tour mentioned that either their dad, grandfather, uncle, or other relative worked for Kalitta, and they enjoyed seeing their family members during the actual tour. Highlights students shared were the surprise of how large the planes were, how interesting the cockpit was, how intense the engine shop was, the differences between the different hangars, and the realization that many did not want to be a pilot. Students enjoyed the tour and asked many great questions, including “where can we go on another Talent Tour!?”


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