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Canadore College celebrates 50th anniversary of its aviation program

The school of aviation at Canadore College is flying high celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

In the hanger, Canadore aircraft maintenance student Jenna Ivanski and aircraft maintenance technician student Lachlan Purdon work together on an aircraft battery.

Canadore College aviation maintenance students Lachlan Purdon and Jenna Ivanski in North Bay. Oct. 1/23 (Eric Taschner/CTV Northern Ontario)

"The wings, I've taken off the wings and put them back on and then seeing them fly is crazy," Ivanski said.

"I hope to eventually go out west and work on helicopters or smaller bush planes."

Both students are ready to take their dreams to new heights.

"I would love to go back to Sudbury and work for a helicopter company," Purdon said.

"I was mainly interested in just fixing things and using hand tools and fixing things with my hands."

Canadore's school of aviation took off in 1973.

Over the last 50 years, the school has pumped out around 70,000 graduates from its various aircraft programs who are now working in all four corners of the world.

"Go out to the Vancouver airport or any airport across Canada, you'll find a Canadore grad or someone who knows a Canadore grad," said Canadore College President and CEO George Burton.

Voyageur Aviation, located at the other end of the runway, has taken several graduates under its wing.

David Durocher graduated from the college in 2004.

He's now a shop supervisor at the aircraft maintenance company's composites department.

"The strengths of these programs is unequal and the students comes out very well prepared," he said.

Every year, Canadore aviation students score well in provincial and national competitions.

Burton said airlines are often checking in with the school to recruit students before they even graduate.

"Especially now, we're bringing on new aircraft both on the domestic side and in the military side in the next decade and it's going to be a great growth period for this industry," he said.

Improvements to technology and flight instruments allow the school to modernize its studies every year, looking at the latest in avionics and better prepare students for the real world.

"One of our programs really takes the aircraft maintenance and adds a third year, and that's where you get into the computer side," said the school's aircraft maintenance program coordinator Brett Chadwick.

Proving from helicopters to planes that the sky's the limit.

"It's cool to see how far they've come," Ivanski said. Top Stories

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