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Aviation Associates Policy

To meet specific needs, Western Michigan University (“University”) established positions designed to attract and retain aviation mechanics and certified flight trainers. The people holding such positions will be known as aviation associates and are required to hold airframe and/or powerplant licenses (aviation mechanics) or be certified flight trainers with certification satisfactory to the University for all times during their employment with University.

Aviation associate positions are normally twelve-month, full-time positions. To keep aircraft in peak operating condition, aircraft and equipment mechanics perform scheduled maintenance, make repairs, and complete inspections required by the Federal Aviation Administration. They also supervise work performed by non-certified individuals. Certified flight trainers offer ground, simulation, and flight training for University students and others as approved by the University to facilitate their achieving aircraft ratings.

Aviation associates are employees at will and as such have no property interest in the continuation of such employment. Aviation associates may be terminated without cause and without prior notice, and no reasons are required or must be stated for termination of employment.


While aviation associates may be eligible to attend meetings of the department(s) and the College of Aviation, they do not participate in governance at the department, college, or University level.


The rate of compensation is established at the time of appointment or any subsequent written amendment to that appointment. Any adjustment to these rates is not automatic or included in any across-the-board raises that may be applicable to other University employees.

Certified flight trainers

The following compensation guidelines apply to certified flight trainers and follow a step-rate system based on billable instruction hours completed by the trainer at the University. These positions are non-exempt.

Internal Trainer

  • Billable hours of training: Less than 350 hours
  • Trainer rate: $18.00/hr
  • Duty time flat rate: $15.00/hr

Regular Trainer*

  • Billable hours of training: 351 hours or more
  • Trainer rate: $24.00/hr
  • Duty time flat rate: $15.00/hr
*A regular trainer must have acquired the instrument instructor rating on his/her flight instructor certificate.

Aviation mechanics

Aviation mechanics are non-exempt positions governed by the University's staff compensation system pay structure. Aviation mechanic pay minimum, midrange, and maximum pay rates will be commensurate with Grade 16 on the staff compensation system pay structure and follow any changes to the pay structure as they happen.


Aviation associates are provided the same leave from work benefits as provided to clerical-technical staff and are subject to University approvals. In addition, they will receive a Bronco identification card, parking permit, and health insurance, with the same requirements and contributions as required of clerical-technical staff. Aviation associates are not eligible for (1) life insurance, (2) disability insurance, (3) the University's retirement plan, (4) University-paid health insurance upon retirement, (5) University retiree status, or (6) payoff of sick leave upon termination of appointment. It is expected that annual leave will be used before the appointment terminates. To be benefits-eligible, a singular position must be .69 FTE or greater.


Benefits eligibility is determined upon the FTE of a singular appointment. An aviation associate position shall not exceed 1.0 FTE.

Individuals appointed as aviation associates may have had limited or no professional employment prior to the appointment.

Employment as an aviation associate at WMU shall not exceed three years either in a singular appointment or by three consecutive one-year appointments.

Working conditions

Aviation mechanics usually work indoors but may also be required to work outdoors in adverse weather conditions. They often work under time pressure to maintain the availability of the equipment. Frequently, mechanics must lift or pull objects weighing more than 70 pounds. They often stand, lie, or kneel in awkward positions and occasionally must work in precarious positions.

Loud noise, vibration, and other uncomfortable working conditions are common. Aviation associates have a tremendous responsibility to maintain safety and other required standards, and one qualification for aviation associates is to be able to successfully handle and perform this tremendous responsibility to ensure safety of persons and property.

It is recognized that aviation associates may at times be required to work on the weekend or other times that the University may be generally closed.

Aviation mechanics



Certified flight trainers



Other requirements

In instances where policies, requirements, and procedures are not addressed herein, aviation associates are subject to those published in the Employee Handbook for non-bargaining unit employees and other policies and requirements established by the University and/or the College of Aviation.

Effective 09/03/10