Humans only learned to fly about 100 years ago. Since then we have been refining the science and always will. Those who are at the forefront of aviation can look forward to being at the vanguard of the 21st century. The best aeronautics and aviation programs will most likely have strong co-op or internship opportunities where you can learn hands on everyday. Visit College Majors 101 to learn more about aviation/aeronautics.
To prepare leaders who are sought after by the aerospace industry, and engage in meaningful research that advances the knowledge base.
The College of Aviation will be recognized as the premiere aerospace education and research institution in our diverse global society.
The College of Aviation offers the only comprehensive aviation program at a public university in Michigan, and with over 700 undergraduate students, is one of the largest aviation programs in the nation. Backed by over 60 years of history and our industry reputation, the College of Aviation is a powerful force in the future of aviation training.
The College of Aviation's vision is to establish and maintain state-of-the-art, world-class professional aviation programs that are among the best in the world. We are examining the very ways we teach and pioneering revolutionary new methods of instruction designed to improve a pilot's ability to fly and to work efficiently with a crew. The College of Aviation produces graduates who think critically, communicate effectively, and participate meaningfully and ethically in the dynamic field of aviation.
The College of Aviation's ability to deliver this comprehensive education is enhanced by its state-of-the-art facilities in Battle Creek, Michigan.
Located at W.K. Kellogg airport, the College occupies 92,000 square feet on 20 acres on the field. The Flight Operations Building is the former airport terminal and tower. Its space is now devoted to administrative offices, flight planning areas, and flight briefing/debriefing rooms. The Aviation Education Center next door features, in addition to several classrooms, a computer laboratory, a library, a lounge and faculty offices.
The College also uses three main storage hangars and the Aviation Maintenance Building, which includes six engine test cells and four laboratories for instruction and research. The Simulator Lab is located adjacent to the Main Maintenance Hanger and houses a Level 5 CRJ-200 flight training device, two Cirrus SR-20 Advanced Flight Training Devices (FTD's), and a Redbird full motion multiengine simulator.
The College of Aviation evolved from the School of Aviation Sciences, which was established at Western Michigan University in 1995 with roots going back to 1939. Since then it has provided four-year degree courses in Aircraft Maintenance Technology and Management, Airline Management, as well as Aviation Flight Science which includes flight training up to the FAA Commercial Pilots License with Instrument Rating and Multi-Engine endorsements.
The School operated as a traditional academic flight program, with flying and associated ground training spread over a four-year degree study period. Intern instructors provided the bulk of the flight instruction as a means of building their hours to qualify for the regional and then the major, United States airline carriers.
By the early 1990s, the school had outgrown its existing facility squeezed between two runways at the regional airport in Kalamazoo, Michigan. However, the W.K. Kellogg Airport in Battle Creek had capacity to spare and the City was seeking opportunities to utilize those excellent facilities. Through the combined efforts of Western Michigan University, the City of Battle Creek, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Federal Government, a new aviation campus was constructed at Battle Creek. The School of Aviation Sciences moved to its new home in July 1997, and in July of 1999 became the College of Aviation.
WMU works closely with the aviation industry to ensure that our graduates possess the skills and abilities required by employers. We continue to break new ground with modern training techniques and state-of-the-art facilities and equipment. At the College of Aviation our goal is your success!
Some institutions offer a flight training degree; however, they lack the experiences that only a real University can give a student--student life, athletic events, residence hall experiences, and many other benefits that a diverse University campus, like WMU's, has to offer.
The WMU College of Aviation is very well received in the aviation/airline industry. The COA has developed many corporate partnerships with companies such as Aerodynamics Incorporated (ADI), Cirrus, Duncan Aviation, Express Jet, American Airlines, Pinnacle Airlines, and many others. Our students have the ability to transfer classroom and flight training knowledge into successful aviation careers. With agreements we have with various airlines, flight Science students have the opportunity to move straight into the airlines after graduation.
Our students not only take aviation courses, but they also complete communications courses, mathematics courses, physics courses, and more, all in line with the University structure to complete a Bachelor of Science degree. Therefore, we provide students a well-rounded education with which to enter the work force.
Our students get a personal feel for our instructors as well as plenty of one-on-one instruction in their upper-level aviation courses.
The College of Aviation occupies 92,000 square feet on 20 acres at the W.K. Kellogg Airport in Battle Creek, Michigan. The airport is equipped with three runways, (including two parallel runways), and a state of the art Air Traffic Control tower. The largest runway at the airport is over 10,000 feet long, making it the second longest runway in the state of Michigan.
Our fleet includes Cirrus SR20's, Piper Seminoles and Arrows, and a Piper Super Cub float plane.
Our location in Southwest Michigan is a major advantage for our students. Training in a wide variety of weather conditions provides necessary experience that is not easily attainable in an arid climate. At WMU, our students are exposed to nearly every weather phenomenon possible, from rain to ice, clear blue skies to thunderstorms. Since we fly during all four seasons, our pilots are more prepared for inclement weather situations.
WMU's NIFA flight team, the WMU Sky Broncos, has won the regional championship in all but one year since 1993 and has placed among the top three in the nation for 15 consecutive years including several national championships.
WMU has bridge agreements in place with several regional carriers, including Mesaba and American Eagle, allowing WMU graduates to obtain an interview at a lower number of flight hours than a non-WMU graduate. We also have cooperative agreements with Duncan Aviation and L-3 Communications that enable our students to have opportunities to "earn as they learn".
WMU's College of Aviation continues to strive to provide students with better educational experiences, continuously improving and introducing innovative training methods, procedures, and an enhanced holistic University experience.