Bergen Community College receives donated airplane for its aviation program

From flight simulators to drones and high-altitude balloons, Bergen Community College has distinguished itself as a hub for aviation-related study. And now, thanks to donor Woody Saland, its fleet includes an airplane.

Saland personally constructed the “Onex,” a 16-foot, single-seat plane, from a kit produced by Sonex Aircraft. Completion took 1,500 hours over two years. Saland spent the last year searching for a nonprofit organization that could benefit from his handiwork. Bergen’s focus on aviation education drew him to the institution.

Bergen Developed Nationally Recognized STEM Curriculum

“Bergen has developed a nationally recognized STEM curriculum that responds to workforce needs and prepares students for entry into the best research institutions in the nation,” said Dean of Math, Scidence and Technolity, PJ Ricatto, Ph.D..

“The institution has also received considerable support from grants, foundations and individuals like Woody Saland. Their generosity enables the College to raise the bar even further, which is very exciting for our students.”

The Bergen Community College Foundation officially accepted the Onex at the main campus in December.

Independent appraisers have valued the aircraft at $65,000. Saland also donated a trailer that will enable the College to bring the plane to local events such as parades and high school “college nights,” according to Ricatto.

Plane to Provide Hands-On-Training

Aside from its status as a showpiece for the