WMU aviation college names new flight operations director

Contact: Cheryl Roland
Photo of Capt. Russell Kavanhuna.


BATTLE CREEK, Mich.—An alumnus who is an established aviation and legal professional has been named to the leadership team of the Western Michigan University College of Aviation.

Capt. Russell Kavalhuna has been named executive director of flight operations for the college which is located at W.K. Kellogg Airport in Battle Creek.

Capt. Russell Kavalhuna

Kavalhuna holds an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate and is a former airline captain and flight instructor. He also is a licensed attorney and comes to WMU having served since 2009 as a federal prosecutor in the Western District of Michigan.

Former Gov. Jennifer Granholm appointed him to the Michigan Aeronautics Commission in 2009, and Gov. Rick Snyder reappointed him in 2013. He has previously served as chairman and is currently serving as vice chairman of that commission. He also is chairman of the commission's Air Service Committee. As a commissioner, he is one of five appointed citizens responsible for overseeing infrastructure spending, airport and flight-school licensing, and the promulgation of aviation regulations. 

Kavalhuna graduated from WMU’s College of Aviation in 2001 with a bachelor's degree in aviation science. He earned a Juris Doctorate from the Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School, graduating in 2007. He has served as an adjunct law professor there, teaching third-year law school courses on forensic evidence in criminal cases.

Kavalhuna replaces Stephen K. Jones, part of the leadership team since 2003 and director of flight operations since 2007. Jones recently retired.

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