WMU News

WMU seeks students for accelerated pilot training

March 2, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University is accepting applications for 14-month, professional pilot programs beginning in May and October that have been endorsed by Delta Air Lines and are designed to produce graduates who are well positioned for pilot openings at regional carriers such as the Delta Connection carriers.

Each intensive ab initio course will have up to 18 students enrolled, a portion of whom will receive scholarships funded by Delta. The remaining positions in each course will be filled by students who are self-sponsored or who can find alternative scholarship funding.

The courses, which will be offered at WMU's College of Aviation facilities in Battle Creek, Mich., are designed for students who already have earned a bachelor's degree.

Since the mid-1990s, WMU's ab initio or "from the beginning" training regimen has been taking students with no previous flight experience through a complete program that prepares them for employment as first officers at commercial airlines. The course is approved by the Federal Aviation Administration as well as the European Joint Aviation Authority. WMU has been using the method to train cadets for British Airways, Aer Lingus and Emirates Airlines since 1998.

Earlier this month, Delta announced a partnership with WMU's College of Aviation through which WMU will offer scholarships in professional pilot training. Delta funded these scholarships as a way of encouraging diversity in the aviation industry. Using these scholarships WMU hopes to diversify the number of pilots at the University and in the industry. With $1.65 million in Delta scholarship funding, WMU will train candidates who will then be qualified for consideration for pilot positions at smaller commercial carriers like Comair and Atlantic Southeast Airlines.

The self-funded students who enroll in either the May or October classes will train side-by-side with the students on Delta scholarships and, at the end of the program, will be equally well positioned in the job market. Both Comair and Atlantic Southeast Airlines have expressed interest in considering successful graduates from WMU's program for possible employment as first officers. WMU also expects interest from other carriers as well.

For more details on the course and information about how to apply, costs of the program and living arrangements, contact Tony Dennis, director of recruitment, WMU College of Aviation, at (616) 964-4831 or <tony.dennis@wmich.edu>.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 616 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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