CTC aviation celebrates 10 years of 'Joy' during open house

A Boeing 727 jet with a FedEx logo sits on a snowy runway under the northern lights.
Photo courtesy of Alaskan Aviation
The FedEx Boeing 727 "Joy," delivered February 28, 2013, under the glow of the northern lights.

Visitors can tour the University of Alaska Fairbanks Community and Technical College’s 727 cargo jet, "Joy," and visit the school's aviation facility during Fairbanks Aviation Day May 20. 

The college’s aviation program is celebrating the 10th anniversary of receiving the jet and moving into its facility on the East Ramp of the Fairbanks International Airport.

The CTC aviation facility will be open to the public from 7 a.m.-2 p.m. 

CTC’s program has grown significantly since moving to its facility, and it has become an important part of Alaska’s aviation industry.

Fire personnel with hoses  stand on the wing of an aircraft with a FedEx logo.
UAF photo by Kevin Alexander
Fairbanks International Airport Police and Fire Department personnel use Joy for their aircraft rescue firefighter state certification.

Ten years ago, local and national entities stepped up to support the move. FedEx offered the Boeing 727 cargo jet, named Joy. It has been a crucial asset to the program, serving as a turn-key maintenance curriculum on three wheels.

To deliver the jet, the airport’s administration, maintenance and operations departments all assisted. Gate 6 at the main terminal was cordoned off, and a crowd was treated to a high-speed “missed approach” before the aircraft landed. Everts Air Cargo provided expertise and equipment to tow the 100,000-pound aircraft down the tiny ski-plane runway to the East Ramp.

Two students stand on metal steps beside the open cowling of a jet engine.
UAF photo by Kevin Alexander
UAF CTC airframe and power plant students inspect the igniters on an engine during an ignition systems class.

At CTC, both the airframe and powerplant and the aviation maintenance certificate programs use the 727 in classes. With two hydraulics systems, three electrical systems and turbine engines, Joy is a perfect tool for hands-on instruction and systems familiarization.

The aviation program’s mission is to train Alaskans for Alaska’s jobs, and its success is reflected in the increasing number of graduates that go on to work on large aircraft.

Joy also has been used in the Fairbanks International Airport Police and Fire Department’s aircraft rescue firefighter certification training. And the Transportation Security Administration has used Joy to train its K-9s in the smells and distractions of a real aircraft.

Fairbanks Aviation Day will return this year for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began. During the event, the public can tour the 727 and ask CTC faculty members questions about large aircraft. Children also can get accustomed to a large jet before taking their first flight.

ADDITIONAL CONTACT: Kevin Alexander, UAF CTC associate professor, kwalexander@alaska.edu, 907-455-2921