About Us

The year was 1903, and two seemingly unconnected events were unfolding. The institution, which would eventually become Western Michigan University, was founded in Kalamazoo, Mich, while down in Kitty Hawk, NC, two inventors from Dayton, Ohio were destined to revolutionize the transportation industry. Although education and aviation seemed worlds apart, in 1939 those two worlds blended into one when aviation maintenance was added to the curriculum offerings at Western State Teachers College.

Fast forward 80 years, and the genesis of the aviation program in 1939 at Western Michigan University can be viewed in its current state. As the program expanded and evolved, the aviation program added flight training and aviation management to its curriculum offerings, to complement the established aviation maintenance program.  As it continued to grow, the program was eventually established as a stand-alone college within WMU, and in 1999, was renamed the Western Michigan University College of Aviation.

Over the course of its 80 year history, the College of Aviation has grown into a world renowned program with a prodigious industry reputation. With over 1150 resident undergraduate students, the College of Aviation is recognized as one of largest aviation program in the United States and with its fleet of 28 Cirrus SR20s, is home to the largest flight school in the mid-west. Additionally, the College of Aviation offers the only comprehensive aviation program at a public university in Michigan, making the College of Aviation a powerful force in the future of aviation training.


To prepare leaders who are sought after by the aerospace industry, and engage in meaningful research that advances the knowledge base.


The College of Aviation will be recognized as the premier aerospace education and research institution in our diverse global society.

Core values

  • Accountability
  • Diversity 
  • Excellence
  • Integrity
  • Respect
  • Safety

The College of Aviation is committed to maintaining its state-of-the-art, world-class professional aviation programs and curriculums, to ensure they are continued to be viewed  among the best in the world. Believing in the continuous improvement model, the College of Aviation constantly examines its pedagogy, investigating its approach to teaching and pioneering revolutionary new methods of instruction. All of which is designed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of aviation professionals to work within a team or crew. Crew Resource Management isn’t just a concept, it is a foundation. The College of Aviation produces graduates who think critically, communicate effectively, and participate meaningfully and ethically in the dynamic field of aviation.

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