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Engine donation
Denver West High School aviation instructor Dave Yuskewich talks with students about the flow of air through the J-69 jet engine, shortly after the Air Force Academy donated it to the school. (U.S. Air Force Photo/John Van Winkle)
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Academy donates jet engine to Denver Public Schools

Posted 9/16/2011   Updated 9/16/2011 Email story   Print story


by John Van Winkle
Air Force Academy Public Affairs

9/16/2011 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- DENVER - The Air Force Academy added a little jet power to Denver Public Schools Monday.

The Academy donated a YJ-69-T-9 turbojet engine to Denver's West High School and Emily Griffith Technical College. Both of these are part of Denver Public Schools, and are partners in an aircraft maintenance program that prepares students for future careers in aviation.

"We are clear in our absolute goals in the Denver Public Schools, for every student to graduate ready for college and career," said Tom Boasberg, superintendent of Denver Public Schools. "I think this gift and partnership with Emily Griffith (Technical College) really captures that very strongly. We are thrilled with this opportunity."

The engine has been cut in half along its length and is mounted on a rolling stand. It was transferred to the Denver Public Schools as surplus scientific equipment to enhance the study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and as a continuing part of the Academy's STEM outreach efforts.

"STEM education plays a huge part in our nation's capabilities for today and the future," said Col. Brent Richert, the Academy's chief scientist and director of research.

"I'm an educator by heart, a physicist by trade and and an Air Force officer by profession, and I can say that our mission is at the Air Force Academy is to develop leaders of character. I think we share that responsibility with the Denver Public Schools, as they are looking for leaders for the future with this program."

The J-69 turbojet engine was the powerplant for the T-37, a jet trainer aircraft used by the Air Force from the mid-1950s until 2009.

"The T-37 was known as the Tweet, the aircraft was also affectionately known as 'the converter,' as it would convert jet engine power into noise," said Richert. "You should be happy to know that the engine we have here today is not a functioning jet engine so you won't have to wear earplugs around it."

By having the jet engine cut away and on display, the students will be able to trace the airflow through the jet engine, learn about the fuel combustion and how that converts thrust - and not just noise - and how it drives the entire aircraft for jet engine flight," he added.

The engine went to immediate use with West High School Dave Yuskewich instructor, who took questions from students about the engine shortly after it was unveiled.

"The J-69 engine will be of great benefit to our program," said Yuskevich. "It's going to allow our students a chance to practice their math and physics skills, as well as increase their knowledge in the theory, design and operation of turbine jet engines."

The J-69 engine was used at the Air Force Academy in propulsion classes for more than 30 years. While this particular engine has a legacy of instruction behind it, its design also has a legacy of durability, said Lt. Col. Colin Tucker, an assistant professor in the Academy's Department of Aeronautics.

"It is so durable, they would throw walnut shells in the engine to clean out carbon deposits," he said.

Aviation's eternal battle with FOD won't be part of the curriculum for the students, but they will be able to earn high school and college credits in aviation maintenance technology and powerplant maintenance, courtesy of a little STEM outreach from the Air Force Academy, and this new partnership between the Air Force Academy and Denver Public Schools.

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