Major gifts to SAIT’s School of Transportation help
shape the future of aviation education


Students gain real-world experience through elevated practical training.

Calgary, AB (Oct. 3, 2023) — The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) has received two generous gifts to support aviation programming at the School of Transportation. During a media event at the Art Smith Aero Centre, Eagle Copters Ltd. unveiled a 1975 Bell 206 MSN 1682 Helicopter. Additionally, Marty Abbott, donor and former Royal Canadian Air Force pilot, gifted the school a Jetstream 41 aircraft flight compartment.

These donations will enhance hands-on learning for SAIT students and support innovative, future-focused aviation training. As students graduate to embark on their careers, they will be equipped with the skills to succeed in aviation as industry-ready professionals.

Since 1930, the School of Transportation has worked with industry partners to offer aviation education in Alberta. Beginning with eight students enrolled in Aeronautics, SAIT has adapted to meet the needs of industry to ensure future aviation professionals are highly skilled and job-ready when they enter the workforce.

With the creation of new lab spaces and equipment and through the Government of Alberta's targeted enrolment expansion program, SAIT's aviation programs increased available seats in 2023. This recent expansion, in combination with these generous gifts, will attract the talent needed to elevate Alberta's aviation sector.

Left to right: Lynda Holden, Dean, School of Transportation, Marty Abbott, Donor and former Royal Canadian Air Force pilot, Mckynna Furgala, Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Technology student and Joshua Bonderoff, Planning Manager, Eagle Copters Ltd. 
The two gifts on display at the Art Smith Aero Centre.

“We are thrilled to announce the Eagle Helicopter donation and the J41 Jetstream flight compartment trainer and celebrate our close industry partnerships that make SAIT graduates the most sought-after aviation maintenance graduates in western Canada. We are training the next generation of leaders, thinkers and doers to be industry-ready professionals who keep our economy moving forward.”

Lynda Holden, Dean, School of Transportation, SAIT.

“This collaboration between Eagle and SAIT can lead to internships, job placements, and partnerships that benefit both students and industry. It also helps align the curriculum, ensuring that graduates are well-prepared for the workforce. This donation helps to ensure that students receive high-quality education and training to meet the demands of the industry, and we are excited to play our part in developing these individuals.”

Joshua Bonderoff, Planning Manager, Eagle Copters Ltd

“Aviation is now a burgeoning business throughout the world, and Alberta has become a world leader in aviation. SAIT has a role to play as a leader in this growing industry. Graduates from this program will be the people who serve this field. And that is why I want to help, to make sure students today and tomorrow have the equipment and tools they need to gain those valuable skills.”

Marty Abbott, Donor and former Royal Canadian Air Force pilot

About SAIT

Established in 1916, SAIT was the first of its kind, publicly funded technical school in North America. As a global leader in applied education and research — serving nearly 40,000 students annually — SAIT offers certificate, diploma, post diploma, apprenticeship and applied degree programs, baccalaureate degrees, corporate training and more than 1,000 continuing education courses, along with four dedicated, award-winning areas of research and capacity for new and emerging research. Curriculum and research priorities are developed through industry partnerships to ensure graduates have the skills and knowledge required to fulfill the demand for talent. SAIT is honoured to be recognized by Mediacorp Canada Inc. as one of Alberta’s Top Employers for 2024, and to be ranked sixth by Research Infosource Inc. in the Top 50 Research Colleges in Canada for 2023. CEOWORLD Magazine ranked the SAIT School of Business #49 on the list of Best Business Schools in the World for 2024, and the School of Hospitality and Tourism placed #14 on their list of Best Hospitality and Hotel Management Schools in the World for 2024.  

Connect with us: | |

purple background

Stay up to date with SAIT

Visit our Media Centre to access our media kits, expert biographies and most up-to-date news.

Media inquiries

Jill Purdy, Manager, Strategic External Content 

a view of the moutains and stream in between

Oki, Âba wathtech, Danit'ada, Tawnshi, Hello.

SAIT is located on the traditional territories of the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot) and the people of Treaty 7 which includes the Siksika, the Piikani, the Kainai, the Tsuut’ina and the Îyârhe Nakoda of Bearspaw, Chiniki and Goodstoney.

We are situated in an area the Blackfoot tribes traditionally called Moh’kinsstis, where the Bow River meets the Elbow River. We now call it the city of Calgary, which is also home to the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3.