75 Year Celebration

Western Michigan University's College of Aviation is celebrating 75 years of aviation education! WMU has been involved in aviation education since 1939. On this 75th year within the field of Aviation, the Western Michigan University College of Aviation would like to invite you to join us as we celebrate this great milestone.

View our 75 year E-book here!


Thank you to everyone who has donated to the 75 Year Gala fund. If you would like to donate please visit here.

Over $2500


Dr. Alain Fabi

Other Donors

$75- $275
Pilot Aeromedical Consulting
Dace Copeland
Scott Austin
Tracey and John Kauppila

Up to $75.00
Battle Creek Federal Credit Union
Spring Field Do-it Center
Martin and Emily Coaker
Dennis Furlong
Dr. Robert Gordon
Kyle Johnson
Nicole Johnson
Captain Steven Jones
Cynthia Kresge
Alex Myers
Tom and Stacy Thinnes
Scott Warner
George Wasinsky the 3rd
Other donors
Blair Balden
Alan Berlinberg
Robert Bunday
Felix and Mary Beth Esquibel
Captain Albert Glenn
Tom and Teri Grossman
Renae Hatton
Willem Homan
Andrew Kanous
Miguel del Rosario
Captain Derek S. Martin
Dennis McFall
Tom McLaughlin
Terry Michmerhuizen
Mitchs Aero Service
Dominic Nicolai
Phil Perry
Captain Dave Powell
Annie and Harry Quardokus
Vladimir Risukhin
Gail and John Rousher
Gil Sinclair
Col. Richard Sperling
Raymond Thompson
Megan and Adam Turner
Sharon Van Dyken
Captain Richard T. Wheatley
Jim Whittles



WMU's foray into aviation education began in 1939 when the Department of Vocational Aviation is formed and WMU begins to offer a two-year aviation mechanics program. In 1941, WMU begins teaching ground school classes, while the flight training portion is conducted by contracted fixed based operators. WMU establishes a new four-year bachelor's degree curriculum called air transportation in 1947.

In 1955, WMU begins its own flight training program using Piper J-5 aircraft. The training takes place at the Plainwell, Mich., Airport. In 1958, a bachelor's degree in aircraft engineering technology is offered. Both the two-year and four-year programs prepare students for the Airframe and Power plan certificates and offer flight courses as options. The fleet consists of the Cessna 170B, Piper PA-12, J-3 and J-5 aircraft. In 1959, flight training moves back to the Kalamazoo Airport.

Between 1972 and 1981, Piper J-5s are replaced with Cessna 150s, a twin engine Cessna 310 is added to the fleet to enable students to earn their multi-engine rating and a new 200-hp Piper Cherokee Arrow is added to the4 fleet in order to satisfy the new Federal Aviation Administration's "high performance complex" training requirement, and WMU enters into an aircraft leasing arrangement with Cessna to add new state-of-the-art airplanes for flight training. New aircraft include Cessna 152s and 172 and 182 RGs that replace the Arrow.

In 1995, aviation becomes the School of Aviation Sciences and in 1999 becomes WMU's seventh college-the College of Aviation. During 2005-06, the college takes delivery of the new Cirrus advanced technology aircraft to replace its Cessna 172R models and supplements its flight programs with state-of-the-art Cirrus and CRJ Regional Jet simulators. In 2010 the college adds Avidyne R-9 avionics to its fleet of Cirrus. Today the Cirrus fleet is equipped with two Air Data & Altitude, Heading Reference Systems.

In 2011, the college receives a donation from FedEx and the Organization of Black Airline Pilots of a Boeing 727, which it uses for research, training, and recruitment purposes.

The Aviation Science and Administration program changes its name to Aviation Management and Operations in 2013 to better reflect the focus of the program. It concentrates on aviation-related management subjects as well as business-related groundwork.

In 2014, the college partners with WMU's Haworth College of Business to offer a MBA with an aviation concentration. The first classes will be offered during academic year 2014-15.

All programs in the college are accredited by the Aviation Accreditation Board International.

In this 75th year of aviation education and Western Michigan University, the College of Aviation would like to invite you to join us as we celebrate this great milestone. In addition, we would like you to join us in celebrating the future of the College of Aviation. This year alone we have received a donation of a Israel Aircraft Industries Westwind corporate jet, and $19 million in building additions to accommodate the growth we are experiencing in our enrollment have been placed in the number one position on WMU's capital outlay priority list. Our enrollment growth has also prompted the purchase of an additional Frasca Cirrus SR20 flight training device, or simulator, the projected purchase of an additional Seminole twin engine aircraft and the modernization, and expansion of the Powerplant lab in the maintenance education area.

Calendar of Events

May 12-17: WMU's Sky Broncos participate at the SAFECON 2014 national competition held at The Ohio State University

May 24:  Aviation Maintenance Technician Day

June 7: 4th Annual College of Aviation Golf Outing at Cedar Creek Golf Course, Battle Creek

September 27: College of Aviation Fly-In (contact Pat Langworthy for more information)

October 24: 75th Anniversary Celebration Gala

Calendar events will be updated periodically.

Congratulation Letters


College of Aviation
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5314 USA
269-964-6375 | 269-964-6473 Fax