United Aviate Pilot Development Program

Western Michigan University is partnering with United Airlines under terms of the company’s new pilot career development initiative called Aviate. The partnership will put WMU College of Aviation students accepted into this new program on a fast track to a career at the airline. With the aim of hiring more than 10,000 pilots in the next decade, United is positioning itself to hire the best and brightest through the progression of Aviate.

Aviate will be another option for individuals interested in becoming a pilot with United Airlines. The program will complement existing pilot pathways, looking for candidates who:

  • Reflect United’s leadership qualities, including the ability to model character, think creatively, deliver results and foster teamwork
  • Share the company’s commitment to the principles of "core4" service behaviors: Safe, Caring, Dependable and Efficient
  • Demonstrate a passion for the industry and a lifelong dedication to excellence and achievement

The program consists of five steps a student must take in order to successfully arrive at United Airlines. Once students have been accepted into the program, they must gain experience teaching as a certified flight instructor at an Aviate partner university. Once they have accumulated the minimum number of flight hours to earn their restricted airline transport pilot’s license, the candidate will expand their experience flying with a United Express Aviate partner: Air Wisconsin, ExpressJet, Mesa Airlines or CommutAir. After a minimum service requirement of 2,000 flight hours and 24 months with a United Express Aviate partner, the candidate will be able to transition to United as a first officer.

Interested students must:

  • Complete two semesters of full-time coursework at a partner university,
  • Pursue an approved aviation major, resulting in R-ATP eligibility,
  • Maintain a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA and uphold the university’s student code of conduct,
  • Hold a minimum of a private pilot certificate.

Learn more about Aviate