February 12, 1998
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. -- The first group of 16 British Airways cadets will arrive in style next month for training at Western Michigan University's aviation facilities in Battle Creek.
A British Airways Concorde, the supersonic flagship of the London-based airlines' fleet, will make a rare Midwest appearance Saturday, March 7, when it lands at Battle Creek's W.K. Kellogg Airport to deliver the cadets. The visit marks the first time the Concorde has made a stop in Southwest Michigan.
The cadets are traveling to Battle Creek to begin a year of study at the WMU School of Aviation Sciences' new International Pilot Training Centre. They represent the first class of students to be trained under the terms of a two-year, $6 million contract announced by the airline and the University in December. WMU is home to the only collegiate aviation program in the United States that has been approved for pilot training by the United Kingdom's Civil Aviation Authority.
The 100-passenger plane will carry the cadets, British Airways officials and invited community and University officials, who will board the flight at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport. The world's only supersonic passenger plane, the Concorde crosses oceans and deserts at twice the speed of sound -- 1,350 miles per hour -- and has completed the New York to London run in just under three hours. For the New York to Battle Creek trip, the Concorde will fly at the lower speed levels required over populated land masses.
British Airways owns seven of the 12 Concordes in service around the world, with Air France operating the other five. Commercial supersonic flights between the United States and Britain began in 1976. The plane is 204 feet long and has a wingspan of almost 84 feet.
Exact arrival and departure times for the plane are not yet set, but it is expected that the Concorde will be on the ground in Battle Creek for about two hours. Landing and take-off times will be announced at a later date for members of the public who might wish to watch the plane.
There are a limited number of seats that may be available for members of the media who wish to board the plane in New York and fly into Battle Creek.
For more information about media seating or about the Concorde's visit to Battle Creek, persons should contact Cheryl Roland in the Office of Marketing, Public Relations and Communications at (616) 387-8412.
For more information go to the Aviation Sciences home page at http://avs.wmich.edu
Media contact: Cheryl Roland; firstname.lastname@example.org
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA