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Polytech grateful for Doyle's aircraft donations

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DOVER — The Polytech School of Aviation Maintenance convened its first class Monday.

But, without David Doyle, it wouldn’t have.

Prior to his sudden death last month, the Doyle’s Airport owner from Felton donated three aircraft to the program, a crucial contribution to the venture’s launch.

Simply put, Polytech assistant director for adult education Jeremy McEntire said, “We would not be able to run the program today without his donations. We have to have functioning equipment, and not having a budget for that would have made it not possible to operate.”

Mr. Doyle gifted two fixed-wing aircraft — a 1953 Piper Cub and a 1947 Stinson — plus a 1982 Rotec Rally ultralight to the Polytech cause.

Mr. Doyle made the donation in September 2022, but he died suddenly three months later, at age 87. Mr. McEntire said he had been scheduled to speak to classes, as the Polytech courses moved forward.

About the opening of those classes Monday, Mr. Doyle’s wife of 44 years, Pat Doyle, said, “If he was still with us, he would have been there, just talking to the students about the military, the airplanes, the school.

“He’s not here, but I know he must be smiling today.”

The planes had sat dormant for many years because Mr. Doyle’s advancing age meant he was “no longer (able) to serve his passion for flying,” said his daughter, Catherine Doyle.

“This donation was bittersweet for him, and we, his family, are so proud that his passion and love of planes will now be enjoyed by many students at (Polytech School of Aviation Maintenance) for many years to come.”

Also, Mr. McEntire said, Mr. Doyle donated equipment, parts and other items, all in the spirit of helping the school, located at 26 Starlifter Ave. in Dover.

When it came to transferring his aircraft from the airport to the school, Mr. Doyle was front and center with Polytech staff.

“He helped us with the disassembly every step of the way, from removing the wiring and fuel line and more,” Mr. McEntire said. “He was there turning the wrenches, and I was very impressed the way he handled himself. He kind of became part of the team.”

Mr. Doyle was a U.S. Air Force veteran, who served for nearly 40 years as a flight engineer on active and Reserve duty, and retired as a master sergeant. His career covered 10 presidencies from Harry Truman to Bill Clinton, his wife said, and Mr. Doyle worked for eight to 10 airlines.

“I think he really liked tinkering with the planes and then taking to the air,” Pat said. “It was the enjoyment from above. He loved to fly around and look at the sights, and I loved to fly with him because you could see so much that you wouldn’t see in an airplane from a regular airport.”

The first Polytech class — an Airframe and Powerplant certification prep course — will run two weeks. Two other sessions will follow, one at the end of February, the other in April.

The 30 combined slots in the three classes are filled, program coordinator John Morris said.

Another two courses, which will debut in the fall, include a pre-apprenticeship program in general aviation, as well as a registered apprenticeship program in aviation maintenance for those working in the field and seeking skill development training.

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