WMU News

WMU launches new accelerated pilot training program

March 10, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University's College of Aviation has merged its international training capabilities with its growing domestic enrollment and has launched a new Certified Accelerated Training Program designed to attract prospective pilots for both domestic and international air carriers. The program will be located with the rest of the College of Aviation's facilities at W.K. Kellogg Airport in Battle Creek, Mich.

The College of Aviation, over the past several months, has reacted to economic troubles in the international aviation industry, by adjusting its training programs and staffing levels to accommodate its growing domestic student population while it keeps its international training capabilities intact and ready to respond when the international market comes back. While the international pilot training market has faced severe cutbacks, WMU's U.S. enrollment has continued to climb, causing the college's overall enrollment to increase by 5 percent in fall 2002.

"The College of Aviation has a proud history of aviation education and is an international leader today" says WMU Interim President Daniel M. Litynski. "WMU's program has reached new levels of excellence and continues to be a good partner with the Battle Creek community. We have been carefully evaluating several options that will allow us to maintain our leadership position, restructure in the light of changed economic realities and remain prepared to take advantage of future international opportunities. The results should be clear in the next few months."

"Like any organization adjusting to the changing business climate, we've looked at our staffing levels and, with our domestic enrollment growing rapidly, we integrated our domestic and international faculty and staff," says Robert Aardema, interim dean of the College of Aviation. "The new structure allows us to focus on our nearly 1,000 U.S. students, but still keep our international options open."

The new Certified Accelerated Pilot Training program has been launched and follows the model perfected by the college in previous training contracts with international and domestic carriers. Instead of being a separate entity within the College of Aviation as the earlier international training program was, the new CAPT program has been integrated into overall college programming. The CAPT program follows the same 13-month intensive training model used in earlier international training at the college. The program has certification from the Federal Aviation Administration and is expected to be certified by the FAA's European equivalent.

WMU's College of Aviation, which has educated aviation professionals since 1939. entered the international training arena in 1997 and has had contracts with British Airway, Aer Lingus, Emirates Airlines and European Pilot Selection and Training. The last of those contracts will expire this spring, and with an international downturn in the aviation industry, airlines have chosen to suspend training until their need for new pilots returns.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 269 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
269 387-8400