Research and Industry Training

  • Research Contributions
    College of Aviation Dean, Dr. Raymond Thompson pictured with industry colleagues at the Aviation Education Center

    Shaping the future of aviation

    Research Focus 

    Aviation Workforce Development

    Western Michigan University's College of Aviation contributes to industry research that promotes a flexible, innovative, and effective workforce system that prepares students to become aircraft pilots, technical operations specialists, unmanned aircraft systems operators, and leaders across the breadth of aviation operations.


    Aviation Workforce Development is supported by the professional development of collegiate level instructors and instructors from the K-12 school system. It includes but is not limited to the use of state of the art and cutting edge equipment, tools, facilities, techniques, and procedures to push students to learn the current and future skills needed to quickly integrate into the Aviation industry.

    The College will consistently assess efforts to ensure alignment of workforce development efforts and topics with current economic development efforts.

    Sub-Areas of Focus 


    • Augmented Reality/ Virtual Reality/ Mixed Reality 
    • Artificial Intelligence 
    • Simulations
    • Unmanned Aircraft Systems 
    • Air Mobility
    • Software solutions on personal electronic devices to enhance training
    • Innovative, cutting-edge equipment & tools enhancements


    • Air Mobility 
    • Lecture, Labs, Curriculums
    • Scenario-based training
    • Externships/ Internships
    • Experiential Learning

    Human Factors

    • Mental Health
    • Resilience
    • Emotional Intelligence
    • Checklist Usage
    • Optimal Performance



  • the federal aviation administration seal

    The FAA's Centers of Excellence

    Western Michigan University's College of Aviation partners with other recognized institutions to further the aviation industry knowledge base through two Centers of Excellence sponsored by the Federal Aviation Administration. Western Michigan University's College of Aviation serves as both an Affiliate University of PEGASAS and a Core University Partner of the COE TTHP.

  • A graphic of an orange airplane with the letters PEGASAS behind it


    The mission of the Partnership to Enhance General Aviation Safety, Accessibility and Sustainability (PEGASAS) is to amplify general aviation safety, accessibility, and sustainability by partnering the FAA with a national network of world-class researchers, educators and industry leaders. Western Michigan University's College of Aviation supports this mission as an Affiliate University of PEGASAS.

    Click to learn more about PEGASAS

  • A graphic of a grey airplane with the letters COE TTHP behind it. "Center of Excellence for Technical Training & Human Performance" is written under the graphic in grey


    As a Core University Partner associated with the Center of Excellence for Technical Training & Human Performance (COE TTHP), Western Michigan University's College of Aviation is a recognized aviation education institution offering state-of-the-art facilities and technologically advanced training equipment. Our contributions include performing basic and applied research, education, and training tasks through various analyses, development, and prototyping activities.

    Click to learn more about COE TTHP