Kavalhuna reappointed to state aviation commission

contact: Jeanne Baron
| WMU News
Photo of Russell A. Kavalhuna.


KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Gov. Rick Snyder Aug. 18 announced the reappointment of a Western Michigan University pilot to the Michigan Aeronautics Commission.

Russell A. Kavalhuna, executive director of flight operations in WMU's College of Aviation, will serve a four-year term expiring May 27, 2021, subject to advice and consent of the Senate.

The nine-member commission has rule-making authority for the state's aviation infrastructure and receives $100 million in appropriations. Housed in the Michigan Department of Transportation, it governs all airports, flight schools and other aeronautical activities within the state.

"Russ has years of aviation experience and I am confident he will continue to be a positive asset to this commission," Snyder said in announcing the reappointment.


Kavalhuna was an airline pilot for US Airways Express for five years and also has been a certified flight instructor at WMU. He earned a bachelor's degree in aviation flight science from the University and a law degree from the WMU Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm appointed him to the Michigan Aeronautics Commission in 2009, and Snyder previously reappointed him in 2013. During his time with the organization, Kavalhuna's fellow commission members have twice elected him to serve as chairman.

A licensed attorney, he has a professional background that also includes service with the U.S. Department of Justice as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Western District of Michigan and as senior law clerk to Justice Michael Cavanagh with the Michigan Supreme Court.

Kavalhuna has taught courses in criminal law and aviation law at the WMU Cooley Law School and serves WMU as the aviation college's director of safety. In that role, he administers a collegewide internet-based safety management system called the Collegiate Aviation Safety Reporting System.

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