Student's aviation career set for takeoff

Contact: Erin Flynn

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—As a child, Logan Brown looked forward to road trips. He could look out the window, stare up at the planes streaking across the sky, and dream of one day soaring in one of those magnificent machines. 

Now, as he stares down graduation, the Rochester Hills native is realizing those dreams and ready to take his career as a pilot to new heights.

Logan Brown is excited for his career as a pilot to take off.

"I've been fascinated by the intricacy of the aviation industry for as long as I can remember," says Brown, a double major in aviation flight science as well as aviation management and operations.

Family vacations to West Michigan had introduced Brown to the area as a child, and when it came time to start visiting colleges, WMU felt like home.

"It's hard to deny that a school is the right place to be when you find one of the nation's top schools for your program in a town you're already familiar with that comes with in-state tuition," Brown says. 

Getting involved

Brown, an honors student, has racked up quite the resume at WMU, honored as a Medallion Scholar and Presidential Scholar as well as taking on various leadership roles in the Western Student Association, including senator, campus sustainability chair and student body vice president.

"As a freshman, I'd never have believed I'd have the chance to meet one-on-one with the president of the University to advocate for students or that I'd have the chance to address the board of trustees on behalf of the student body," says Brown. "I'd never have believed that I would be able to observe a flight from the cockpit of a 767 as it crossed the Atlantic on the way to Barcelona, Spain. However, these are all things that I got to experience during my time at WMU."

According to WMU's 2017-18 Post-Graduation Activity Report, 93% of graduates completed some sort of experiential education. Brown spent the summer between his sophomore and junior years at Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C., where he worked as a flight operations intern at United Airlines. An alumni mentor, who is currently a captain for United, introduced him to the program.

"It was the experience of a lifetime. I was able to see firsthand the day-to-day operations of one of the largest airlines in the world, and it offered unmatched networking opportunities with pilots and senior managers," says Brown.

Ready to soar

In January 2018, Brown became a flight instructor for the College of Aviation. Just a few months later in May, he started teaching commercial pilot applicants on the school's multi-engine training aircraft, the Piper Seminole. After graduation he will continue his work as a flight instructor while he finishes up the 1000 flight hours required to become an airline pilot. One possible opportunity on the horizon involves the Delta Propel Pilot Career Path Program, which gives aviation graduates from WMU and seven other college an accelerated path to becoming a pilot.

"I'm currently in the interview process with several regional airlines and am beginning to field job offers," says Brown, whose ultimate goal is to become a captain at a major national airline flying long-haul international routes and eventually take on a leadership role.

"While I never want to be done flying, I want to be able to use my experiences to make my airline a better place to work through a job as a chief pilot or other management position."

Ultimately, Brown credits his well-rounded education at WMU for his ability to fly high above the field of aspiring pilots.

"I leave here with so much more knowledge than simply how to fly a plane," says Brown. "We pride ourselves on being a school of opportunity, and I believe my experiences here are a testament to the fact that if you seek out opportunities, work to improve yourself and work to improve this University, you can accomplish more in your time here than you ever imagined was possible."

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