Firefighters at the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport and the region's first responders will soon have a new place to train, thanks to FedEx. The world's largest express transportation company has donated one of its aircraft to the airport.
After 33 years in service, a FedEx cargo jet made its final flight Wednesday to the Buffalo Airport where the retired Boeing 727 will be stripped of its logos and instruments and converted into a training tool for first responders.
It's the 59th plane FedEx has given away over the years to fire departments, museums and technical schools, according to Managing Director David Sutton.
"This aircraft donation symbolizes the community spirit of FedEx Express and its employees" said Sutton.
Buffalo Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting Chief Chris Putney says the plane will be instrumental in training not only his 35-member department but other fire companies and law enforcement.
"Somebody once asked me, what are you going to do with the airplane? I say, what am I not going to do with it?," said Putney.
Local volunteer firefighters will also benefit according to Erie County Commissioner of Emergency Services Dan Neaverth.
"Even just from a basic information survival standpoint for individuals...to know how you work around that environment," said Neaverth.
The old 727 should be ready for its new role by the first of the year and Chief Putney said outside agencies will likely be training on it at the airport 2-3 times a week.