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‘Bravo’ gets an encore with Seneca’s School of Aviation with an aircraft at Peterborough airport

From left: Jake Branch, Sean Sertic, Paul Koukidis and Jeff Anderson of Seneca’s aircraft maintenance team at Peterborough Campus restored a badly damaged Cessna 172 from a writeoff to good as new. (Photo: Stan Kicak)

 

“It flies better than new. It has rejoined our fleet and been put back to use training our student pilots again.”

Dec. 16, 2020

 

An airplane affectionately known as “Bravo” by students and employees at Seneca’s Peterborough Campus has been given a second chance to take to the air.

The single-engine, four-seat Cessna 172 was part of Seneca’s fleet when it had a hard landing during a training flight in 2012. The plane was deemed a writeoff at the time, and Seneca’s aircraft maintenance team had intended to keep it for spare parts. For a few years, before the Peterborough Campus opened, Bravo spent time in an airplane salvage yard and then was stored in a shipping container at King Campus.

“This plane, if brand new, would be worth more than half a million dollars today,” said Jeff Anderson, Director of Aircraft Maintenance.

Around 2015, Mr. Anderson initiated the restoration project to bring Bravo back to life.

“It began as a side project,” he said. “It was our first time working on a project this size from scratch. While challenging at times, it proved to be very rewarding and a worthwhile endeavour.”

With a limited budget, some new parts were purchased while major structural pieces such as the wings and the fuselage were sent to a repair shop. When the pandemic hit, Mr. Anderson’s team focused their efforts on getting Bravo into shape.

“When we started the project, it was just a shell,” said Paul Koukidis, Aircraft Maintenance Engineer. “It’s a pretty big project to put a plane back together. We did almost everything, including furnishing, wiring, avionics and adding every little nut and bolt. It’s like a really big puzzle. You have to build it and make sure it all works properly.”

After five years, Bravo is now good as new and has been in service since September.

“It flies better than new,” Mr. Koukidis said. “It has rejoined our fleet and been put back to use training our student pilots again.”

Bravo aircraft dismantled
Bravo aircraft front
Bravo aircraft cockpit

The aircraft maintenance team at Seneca’s Peterborough Campus began working on Bravo, a Cessna 172, by dismantling damaged parts. From there, the team put the instrument panel back together, including routing the wires, hoses, fuel lines, air ducts and cables. (Photos: submitted)


Bravo aircraft before getting wings and engine installed
Bravo aircraft after getting wings and engine installed

With new landing gear installed, and then wings and engine, Bravo was ready for its first engine run for leak check. (Photos: submitted)


Bravo aircraft before getting stripped
Bravo aircraft after getting stripped

Bravo before and after getting stripped and repainted at an Orillia paint shop. (Photos: submitted)


Bravo aircraft flying
After five years, Bravo is flying better than ever and has rejoined Seneca’s fleet of 20 planes at Peterborough Campus. (Photo: submitted)