Southwest Airlines recently donated a CFM56-3B1 high-bypass turbofan aircraft engine worth approximately $100,000 to Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s (GNTC) Aviation Training Center to provide students with advanced training in troubleshooting, repairing, and maintaining industry-grade aviation equipment.

The donation of the turbofan engine will further GNTC’s ability to prepare students for a career in the fields of Aviation Maintenance Technology or Avionics Maintenance Technology.


“This is our first turbofan engine, a majority of our planes have reciprocating or piston engines,” said Jon Byrd, director of the Aviation Maintenance Technology program at GNTC. “There are so many different systems that we teach that are on this one engine so we can show students how it all goes together instead of, what we have had up until now, was individual components.”


The Aviation Training Center is located at the Richard B. Russell Regional Airport in Rome about 10 miles from the Floyd County Campus of GNTC.


According to Byrd, having this turbofan engine will also help to better prepare students to work for the major airlines upon graduation.


“All of the major airliners have planes with high-bypass turbofan engines on them,” said Byrd. “So this particular engine, which happens to be a pretty popular model, is used on many different airplanes.”


The Aviation Training Center is approximately 30,744 square feet with five classrooms and eight labs for Aviation Maintenance Technology and Avionics Maintenance Technology. The Center includes a large airframe lab, powerplant lab, five additional Federal Aviation Administration Curriculum labs, and a technical library/reference lab.


Georgia Northwestern Technical College provides quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. Students have the opportunity to earn an associate degree, diploma, or a certificate in business, health, industrial, or public service career paths. This past year, 14,151 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 7,956 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 6,195 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start.  For more information about GNTC, visit us at or contact a Student Help Center on any one of our six campus locations at 866-983-4682.  GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.