But Moving The Airplane Across The Street Was A Major
American Airlines donated a retired MD-80 jet to George T.
Baker Aviation School Friday, making it one of the only accredited
aviation schools in the country to have a commercial airliner on
But there was a slight problem. The 39-ton plane had to be
moved from Miami International Airport (MIA) to the nearby Aviation
School. The job required lifting the plane over State Road 112 and
LeJeune Road, using a 500-ton crane equipped with a 400-foot
telescoping boom, and then hauling the plane to the school.
"Moving the airplane was truly an engineering feat, requiring
extensive collaboration between American, Odebrecht and almost a
dozen companies and government agencies," said Peter Dolara,
American's Senior Vice President based in Miami. "It was a tough
job, but we couldn't be more thrilled for the students at George T.
Baker, who will get invaluable hands-on experience with a
The move took place around 0100 Friday. Miami-Dade County and
airport officials had to close a runway and surrounding roads,
remove light poles, trees, and fencing, as well as build a
temporary gravel road to transport the plane to the school, located
adjacent to MIA.
"This is the kind of challenging project we eagerly meet
head-on," said Gilberto Neves, President and CEO of Odebrecht USA.
"You can't just fly an MD-80 into a school parking lot. It takes a
lot of planning and careful execution."
The students at George T. Baker have already gained experience
with the MD-80, prepping it for the move by taking off the wing
tips and jet engines.
"Here at George T. Baker Aviation School, we pride ourselves on
graduating students that are ready to excel in the aviation
industry from day one," said Principal Sean Gallagan. "Thanks to
this incredible donation from American Airlines, I can say with
confidence that our students are getting some of the best training
in the country."
American is gradually phasing out its MD-80 series for more
fuel-efficient aircraft such as the Boeing 737-800.