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Rolls-Royce donates F405 Spey jet engine to Del Mar College Aviation Maintenance Program to train steady stream of technicians

Hands-on experience to prepare students for Coastal Bend’s workforce in the aviation industry

Article by: Rosa Linda Reynoso

Around the globe, Rolls-Royce is most associated with top luxury cars. But, did you know they also produce engines that power the T45 Goshawk training jets used to train naval aviators at Naval Air Station (NAS) Kingsville, Meridian and NAS Pensacola?

Del Mar College (DMC) unveiled an F405 Spey jet engine donated by Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust to the Aviation Maintenance Program to train technicians with the skills to work on these aircraft as well as the hands-on experience needed for the Coastal Bend’s workforce in the aviation industry.  

The F405 Spey engine is similar to those used in the T45 Goshawk, a single engine, tandem seat jet trainer manufactured by McDonnell Douglas/British Aerospace. 

Named after the Spey River in Scotland, the F405 engine weighs 4,000 pounds and is 131 inches in length and 43 inches in diameter with thrust equating to 12,000 pounds and utilizes a high bypass turbofan.

Rolls-Royce is one of Del Mar College’s industry partners supporting our Aviation Maintenance Program. The recent donation of the F405 Spey engine will be used to expose our students to other types of jet engines similar to those used in the Navy’s T-45 Goshawk strike trainer. The support of our aviation industry partners allows the program to provide relevant training representative of the real world.

Albert “Ron” Agnich, DMC Program Director of Aviation Maintenance

Rolls-Royce made the donation to support the Chief of Naval Air Training’s (CNATRA) long-term goal of maintaining air training at the highest level of readiness which means having the maintenance workforce to support that effort. CNATRA’s goal will require a steady flow of new maintenance technicians for a number of years, and Del Mar College will train that workforce to meet that need.   

Scholarships are also a vital part of getting more Coastal Bend residents into college and the workforce. During the event, the DMC also recognized the Tres Grace Family Foundation for $50,000 for Aviation Maintenance student scholarships. 

During the event, two Aviation Maintenance Program majors spoke about the hands-on training they now have with the donated jet engine. Both Xavier Grady, age 26, and Reece Nunez, age 20, found the College’s Aviation Maintenance Program as their answer to entering the industry and are planning to graduate in Summer 2022.

“Your contribution has provided an outstanding opportunity to expand our hands-on learning,” Grady told Rolls-Royce representatives. He added that the College’s Aviation Maintenance Program is run by faculty who have years of experience in the industry. “Their experience, facilities and equipment make a really good learning environment for students,” noted Grady. 

Nunez, previously took taking courses in the medical field to become a dentist. However, he soon became interested in the aviation industry. Regarding the jet engine, Nunez said, “I’m grateful to Rolls-Royce for thinking about us, the students, and for their contribution to our career training. It gives us a real world aspect of the engines that we will be working on after our training.”

Aviation and powerplant technicians are currently listed on the regional targeted occupation list with 1,000 jobs in this career field available just in the Coastal Bend. The College’s training program provides skilled maintenance technicians that support South Texas employers such as Amentum, Vertex Aerospace, Rolls-Royce, Halo Flight and the Corpus Christi Army Depot, among others. Technicians in the field earn an hourly wage of $32.22/hour or $67,202 annually. According to several industry studies, an estimated 769,000 aviation maintenance technicians will be needed nationally through 2034. 


About Del Mar College

Del Mar College empowers students to achieve their dreams. We offer quality programs, individual attention, outstanding instruction through faculty with real-world experience and affordable costs to credit and noncredit students in Corpus Christi and the South Texas Coastal Bend area. Nationally recognized while locally focused, we’re ranked in the top two percent of community colleges in the country granting associate degrees to Hispanic students (Community College Week). Del Mar College focuses on offering our students programs that match current or emerging career opportunities. Whether students are interested in the fine arts, sciences, business, occupational or technical areas, students get the education they need for the future they want at Del Mar College.