WMU News

WMU and Delta make 'top news' in aviation industry

Feb. 2, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- The new partnership between Delta Air Lines and WMU's College of Aviation is one of the "top stories" in commercial aviation, according to AviationNow, the online edition of the premier aviation magazine Aviation Week & Space Technology.

The article by Aviation Week's Jim Ott, "Delta Pushes Pilot Diversity With University Program," details the Jan. 9 announcement of Delta's $1.65 million commitment to WMU for pilot education aimed at increasing the number of women and minority pilots in the nation's commercial aviation cockpits.

The following three excerpts are taken directly from the AviationNow article and describe why WMU's College of Aviation was uniquely suited for the partnership to train more women and minority pilots.

The Atlanta-based major carrier [Delta Air Lines] has established ties with Western Michigan University, which has a track record of producing pilot candidates in a European training program known as "ab initio." Under that program, approved by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, trainees with no flight experience are prepared to become first officers for commercial carriers.

Western Michigan University launched its ab initio program in 1994 when it was becoming clear that a pilot shortage was looming. WMU's College of Aviation is also home to the International Pilot Training Centre, which has 70 cadets sponsored by international air carriers.

In 1995, a W.K. Kellogg Foundation grant launched a program at the College of Aviation to boost the number of women and minorities, providing early flight experience and scholarship resources. The enrollment of women and minorities has more than tripled since 1997.

Click here to read the full story. This links you to the AviationNow article, which is not on the WMU Web server. If the link does not work, it is likely that the article is no longer available.

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

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