Aeronautics students at Sacramento City College have a new toy to play with - a Boeing 727 jet.
More than 100 people gathered Friday at McClellan Airport to watch the final landing of the plane that was donated to the school by FedEx.
"We are so excited," Sacramento City College President Kathryn Jeffery told the group, which included FedEx staffers. "Thank you, thank you, thank you."
The plane was scheduled to land at 9 a.m. sharp but arrived nearly an hour late. When it finally touched down, onlookers gawked and snapped photos of the jet as it was being sprayed by water cannons - a tribute to the plane's long service.
Until Wednesday, the 37-year-old aircraft had been crisscrossing the country delivering packages, carrying up to 38,000 pounds at a time. The jet, which logged 55,481 flight hours during its service, will be used to teach 120 aeronautics students enrolled at the community college.
"Whether its a package or an aircraft, we will be delivering to a community we call home," David Sutton, FedEx's aircraft acquisitions managing director, told the crowd. "Train well."
The delivery company's aircraft donation program started in 1995, when FedEx began retiring its fleet of old, inefficient aircraft. The 727 given to Sacramento City College today was the 64th plane donated by FedEx.
Aeronautics student Yaroslav Karashchuk, 19, was looking forward to working on the 153-foot-long beauty.
"There's no room for errors," he said, describing the maintenance procedures for aircraft.
Working on a plane in real life is much different from reading about it in a textbook, said Phil Cypret, the college's aeronautics department chair. Cypret applied to the Fed Ex program 2 1/2 years ago. The company has received more than 300 donation requests from schools, government agencies and museums over a span of several years.
"Our school trains aircraft mechanics that go on to work for FedEx," Cypret said, noting that it was a no-brainer for the company to donate the 727 to the college.
The jet - worth at least $3 million - will become the crown jewel in the school's aircraft collection. The donation coincides with the 80th anniversary of the aeronautics program.
"Boeing is the No. 1 product," Cypret said, pointing to the plane, parked only a few feet away. "If you train on this, you train on all Boeings."
The plane will never be flown again, but its components - hydraulics, power and electricity - will remain operational for students to use and train on.
"The only problem is I won't have a chance to work on it," said student Seongwook Jeon, 22, who is graduating soon.