WMU News

Engler to greet British Airways cadets in New York, join them for Concorde flight to Battle Creek

March 2, 1998

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. -- British Airways cadets traveling to Battle Creek, Mich., for a year of pilot training will get a special welcome Saturday, March 7, when Michigan Gov. John M. Engler joins them for the final leg of their journey.

Engler will travel to New York with Western Michigan University and community officials to board a British Airways Concorde bringing that firm's first class of cadets to Battle Creek for a year of pilot training. The group will board the plane at New York's John F. Kennedy airport, joining an official party that will include executives from British Airways, the cadets and members of the media for a 90-minute flight to Battle Creek.

The Concorde, the supersonic flagship of the London-based airlines' fleet, will land at Battle Creek's W.K. Kellogg airport at 1:15 p.m. following a pass over the WMU campus in Kalamazoo. The plane will remain on the ground for two hours and will take off at 3:15 p.m. for a return trip to New York.

The 16 British Airways cadets coming to Battle Creek will begin a year of study at the WMU School of Aviation Sciences' new International Pilot Training Centre. They represent the first class to be trained under the terms of a two-year, $6 million contract announced by the airline and the University in December. WMU is home to the only collegiate aviation program in the United States that has been approved for pilot training by the United Kingdom's Civil Aviation Authority.

Joining the governor and cadets for the New York to Battle Creek leg of the journey will be three members of the Michigan Legislature: Sen. John J.H. Schwarz, Rep. Donald H. Gilmer and Rep. Mark Schauer. University officials on the flight will include: Dr. Diether H. Haenicke, president of WMU; Birgit M. Klohs of Grand Rapids, a member of the WMU Board of Trustees; and Keith A. Pretty, vice president for external affairs and general counsel. Kalamazoo Mayor Robert B. Jones and Portage Mayor Gary Brown also will travel to New York to offer their communities' welcome. Battle Creek Mayor Ted Dearing will be waiting in Battle Creek for the flight's arrival to extend a welcome from his city.

Also on board the New York to Battle Creek flight will be other officials from the city of Battle Creek, Battle Creek Unlimited and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation as well as staff members from the School of Aviation Sciences and a number of other University units. A similar group of passengers will make the return flight to New York.

An official welcoming ceremony will take place at the School of Aviation Sciences' large hangar on the airport grounds, immediately after the Concorde lands. That ceremony will be attended by invited guests.

The general public is welcome to watch the Concorde as it lands and takes off. While there will be no public tours of the plane, there will be portions of WMU's aviation field property dedicated to public viewing.

For more information or to arrange for credentials to cover the Concorde visit and ground events in Battle Creek, persons should contact Cheryl Roland in the Office of Marketing, Public Relations and Communications at (616) 387-8412.

For more information on WMU's School of Aviation Sciences and the Concorde, go to the Aviation Sciences home page at <http://avs.wmich.edu>.

AUDIO ADVISORY: Recorded comments from Joseph H. Dunlap, director of WMU's School of Aviation Sciences, regarding the significance of the Concorde's visit to Battle Creek are available by calling the WMU newsline at (616) 387-2032 and selecting option (2) from the main menu

.Media contact: Cheryl Roland; cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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