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Aviation college, Pentastar host Detroit-area students

Jan. 8, 2010

KALAMAZOO--A flight in a business aircraft, discussions with aviation professionals and a presentation from a U.S. Air Force legend are just some of the planned activities when Western Michigan University and Pentastar Aviation team up to showcase aviation careers Jan. 13 for 50 Detroit-area high school students.

Aviation Day, a school-to-career program, will bring 50 students from Detroit's Davis Aerospace Technical High School to Pentastar's Waterford, Mich., facilities Wednesday, Jan. 13. There, they will interact with representatives from Pentastar and WMU's College of Aviation for a daylong promotion of aviation education and the careers that can result from such education.

Keynote speaker, Col. Harry T. Stewart, a retired U.S. Air Force officer, will share his inspiring story at the event. One of the original Tuskegee Airmen, Stewart had to overcome many challenges to realize his dreams. This will be his second appearance at a Pentastar-hosted school-to-career program.

For many students, a flight around the Pontiac area will be the highlight of the program. Flight instructors from WMU will fly several aircraft to Pentastar, and, weather permitting, they will take students on 20- to 30-minute flights during the day.

Rick Maloney, president and CEO of Pentastar and former dean of WMU's College of Aviation, brought his passion for aviation education to Pentastar in 2007. Since then, the company has been committed to bringing high quality educational programming to the local community.

"We have impressive operations, an incredible facility and a staff of employees that understand the importance of inspiring students with career goals in the field of aviation," Maloney says. "Our goal is to equip these students with an increased knowledge of a variety of career paths in aviation, help them understand the education they will need to achieve their goals and then support them as they pursue those goals."

Throughout the event, students will have the opportunity to attend presentations by aviation professionals as well as current and former WMU aviation students. They'll be able to ask questions about the details of aviation education and careers.

"We want to pave the way for students from Davis to attend Western's College of Aviation and get them excited about the next step in their education," says Capt. Dave Powell, dean of the college. "Our graduates and current students--some of whom previously attended Davis--will paint a picture for these students of what it is really like to go through classes and flight training at the next level."

Pentastar's partnership with the WMU College of Aviation is growing after a donation of funds and equipment or more than $40,000 in October 2009.

"I believe the College of Aviation at Western is one of the premier programs in the United States," Maloney said. "Pentastar's commitment to supporting the college is based on the mutual standard of excellence shared by our organizations."

For more than 45 years, Pentastar Aviation has been a leader in the business-aviation industry. Pentastar provides award-winning aircraft maintenance, aircraft management services, aircraft charter, avionics design/install/repair and knowledgeable aviation advisors. Their repair station received Airframe Class 3 and 4 Ratings from the Federal Aviation Administration in January 2009. Pentastar's world-class flight facilities provide exceptional customer service and amenities. Its location at Oakland County International Airport was voted the No. 1 Flight-Based Operation in the nation in 2008.

WMU's College of Aviation boasts enrollment of nearly 700 students in three programs--aviation maintenance technology, aviation science and administration, and aviation flight science. The college's mission is to prepare leaders who are sought after by the aerospace industry and to engage in meaningful research that advances the knowledge base. The college's vision is to be the premier aerospace education and research institution in a diverse global society. Founded in 1939, the college has operated since 1997 from the W.K. Kellogg Airfield in Battle Creek, Mich.

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Media contact, WMU: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu
Media contact, Pentastar: Danielle Tanner, (248) 666-8221

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400