KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Broncos at Western Michigan University will soon be soaring to new heights in an updated aircraft fleet.
The College of Aviation at Western Michigan University has been approved a $20 million loan to purchase over 30 new training aircraft, including a Super Decathlon training aircraft.
The west Michigan university announced that a loan from the WMU Foundation would allow the department to expand’s training capabilities.
“When we acquired our previous fleet of Cirrus aircraft, Western stood out for the type of training and skills students were able to develop because of the quality of the planes and the high level of technology we equipped them with,” stated Dr. Raymond Thompson, the dean of Western’s College of Aviation. “It was essential to moving us up to a top three aviation program in the country. This next fleet will take us to the next level.”
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Western Michigan University’s aviation program has been ranked as the No. 2 aviation college in the nation by FLYING Magainze. The Michigan aviation program is one of the largest in the United States and was founded in 1939. The University of Oklahoma has been ranked as No. 1 in the United States. The university has many connections within the aviation industry including AAR, Delta, SkyWest and United Airlines.
“This investment means we will continue to attract the best and brightest students to apply to Western Michigan University’s aviation program because we make these kinds of investments in equipment and educational experiences,” stated Thompson. “At the end of the day, it’s hard to beat the look on the face of a student who’s going to be the first one in one of these new airplanes. That’s an exciting moment.”
Currently, the aviation program has 28 Cirrus SR20s. The first round of new aircraft will arrive at the Kalamazoo campus in 2024.