Franklin Tech hires aviation instructor

Greenfield resident Michael McIntyre, pictured with a small plane, has been hired to be Franklin County Technical School’s aviation instructor.

Greenfield resident Michael McIntyre, pictured with a small plane, has been hired to be Franklin County Technical School’s aviation instructor. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Greenfield resident Michael McIntyre, pictured with former President George W. Bush in the White House while he was serving as Marine One crew chief, has been hired to be Franklin County Technical School’s aviation instructor.

Greenfield resident Michael McIntyre, pictured with former President George W. Bush in the White House while he was serving as Marine One crew chief, has been hired to be Franklin County Technical School’s aviation instructor. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

By ERIN-LEIGH HOFFMAN

Staff Writer

Published: 06-18-2024 2:01 PM

TURNERS FALLS — Progress toward the opening of Franklin County Technical School’s aviation program this fall has taken another step forward, with Michael McIntyre, a pilot who serves on the School Committee, being hired as an instructor.

McIntyre has more than 20 years of experience in aviation, earning aircraft maintenance certifications from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and racking up commercial and military flying hours. He was the Marine One crew chief during the George W. Bush administration and has spent time working with Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. to build aircraft in Westfield.

Prior to being hired, McIntyre said he took time to visit the Westfield Flight Academy to see what students there are being taught, and spoke with his colleagues to gain an idea of what to bring to Franklin Tech in the fall.

“There’s a lot of life lessons I think that aircraft maintenance really teaches you,” he said. “The most successful mechanics that I’ve worked with in the past are very honest. They’re not always the best mechanics, they’re not always the best at fixing things or troubleshooting, but they know when they don’t know and they ask for help.”

Franklin Tech’s program will focus on several core areas of aviation education from a foundational level that can provide students with basic knowledge ahead of pursuing secondary aviation education.

McIntyre will work closely with the FAA to monitor students’ progress ahead of their certification tests in their senior year. As part of this new aviation program, Franklin Tech will join the three existing aircraft maintenance technician schools, called Part 147 high schools, in Massachusetts that educate students “in the knowledge and skills required for careers in the aviation maintenance industry,” the FAA website states.

“You’ve got to just make sure that everything is done by the book,” McIntyre added, “especially with the kids going through the program because once they graduate, they’ll be able to take their tests for their airframe power and plant maintenance certification, which is a very big deal.”

McIntyre will begin teaching at the start of the school year in September as the Aviation Maintenance Technician Program begins. The aviation program was born out of a $4.2 million state grant the school was awarded in 2022.

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Superintendent Richard Martin explained that during the hiring process, McIntyre, a Greenfield resident, stood out due to his level of certification and experience in aviation, but his interpersonal skill with the students was the “biggest advantage” McIntyre had over other candidates.

“We really hit the jackpot,” Martin said.

School Committee Chair Richard Kuklewicz said he is excited for his school board colleague to make this transition to aviation instructor given his background.

“I’m excited to see he is taking this opportunity on,” Kuklewicz said. “We are all looking forward to that.”

Erin-Leigh Hoffman can be reached at ehoffman@recorder.com or 413-930-4231.