Cool Major of the Month


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have the freedom of exploring the sky, and even the world as an airplane pilot? Western Michigan University (WMU) offers a pilot training program for people with no flying experience.

The cool benefits of the International Pilot Training Center at WMU:

  • In just under a year you could have 201 hours of actual flying and simulator training experience, and be well on your way to a career as a pilot.
  • Before learning how to fly in a 'real' airplane, students are given simulator training. This simulator training mimics the performance of flying a Boeing 737-400 with virtual reality programming and 3-D surround sound. It looks, feels, and sounds like the real thing!
  • When the students are ready to fly for real, WMU offers 60 aircraft to fly, ranging in complexity and speed.
  • During flight training students may take cross country trips to Niagara Falls, Chicago, Kalamazoo and London, Ontario.
  • WMU is the only university that offers FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and JAA (Joint Aviation Authorities) training and examination. These two groups are responsible for maintaining safety in the sky above North America and Europe. Passing both of these examinations gives you more airspace to fly in.
  • Over 95% of the students pass their examinations the first time - that means you can become a pilot a lot faster!
  • WMU trains employees for three major airlines - Aer Lingus (Ireland), British Airways (United Kingdom) and United Arab Emirates Airline (Dubai) - giving their students international employment opportunities.

Ground School

Ground school consists of educating students with the basic theoretical knowledge needed to fly an aircraft. Flight and simulator training gives the students 'hands on' experience to apply what they learned in the classroom. Ground school is taught in two stages with increasing complexity, beginning with general aircraft knowledge and flight principles and ending with a more in-depth look at flight planning, navigation, and flight monitoring.

Flight School

There are five phases of flight training. In the first phase, students learn how to handle and navigate a simple airplane. In the second phase students learn how to fly at night. During the last three phases students learn to fly more complex aircraft and are trained for their Commercial Pilot Skills test. Graduates of this program may find jobs working for private or commercial airlines. What other job could offer you the power of flying a 2000 pound piece of metal far above the earth's surface, and at the same time give you world wide travel, and excellent pay? For more information on this program and its requirements click on the following site:

For students that are interested in obtaining a degree in addition to learning aviation skills, WMU also offers 4 year degrees in:

  1. Professional Pilot Program
  2. Aviation Maintenance Technology/Advanced Technology
  3. Aviation Maintenance Technology/Maintenance Management

For a list of other Aviation Schools in North America and around the world click on the following site: