GREENVILLE - It's a big addition to the new Fox Valley Technical College Public Safety Training Center.
A 727 was donated by FedEx at a ceremony at Outagamie County Regional Airport in Greenville Tuesday.
The plane will be used by emergency responders for fire, tactical and medical training scenarios.
The Boeing 727 saw its best days hauling cargo for FedEx. Now it will be used for an even more important task on the ground.
"From opening emergency exits, to pulling crew members out to shutting down systems, this is a very unique opportunity," said Bill Ewing, fire chief for Pro-Tec Fire Services, which serves Austin Straubel and Outagamie County airports.
FedEx donated the plane that will now become a training ground for emergency personnel as part of the new public safety training center partnership between the airport and Fox Valley Technical College.
"It's very difficult to simulate this setting and make it work, so we are extremely grateful to be able to provide this kind of resource in this kind of environment," said Fox Valley Technical College president Susan May.
The plane will be outfitted with seats and permanently grounded. It will be used for tactical and fire training as well as emergency medical scenarios, making it a training destination for the region and the country.
"Existing public safety personnel from the state, the region and even nationally depending on how specialized the training may be," said May.
The aircraft is still worth about $1.5 million, but first responders who will use it say the training it will provide will be invaluable.
"This is an opportunity for us to train hands on doing the things that we would do in real world scenario," said Ewing.
Making sure responders are as prepared as they can be in the event of a real local emergency.
"Any training is good training, but the level that this aircraft is going to provide us is going to take us to the next level," said Ewing.
Fox Valley Tech and the airport having been working for about 15 years on acquiring an aircraft like this one for training purposes.
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