Oct. 7, 2002
Contact Ward Mullens

EDITOR’S NOTE: University faculty, students and airport officials will be available to discuss this new degree program, Thursday, Oct. 10, at 3 p.m., at the Eagle Flight Center at Willow Run Airport. Photo opportunities include a flight training simulator demonstration and aircraft used in flight training.


YPSILANTI – Eastern Michigan University (EMU) and Eagle Flight Center, a pilot training school based at Willow Run Airport, have joined forces to create a new four-year, accredited aviation degree program to help students prepare for 50,000 new airline pilot positions that are forecast to be available in the next decade.

EMU’s new Aviation Flight Technology program is the only four-year, bachelor of science degree program available in Southeast Michigan. The program, which started this semester with 15 undergraduate students, is designed to prepare individuals for positions as entry-level professional pilots in the aviation industry.

“What a great opportunity for young people in our community,” said Lester Robinson, chief executive officer of the Wayne County Airport Authority. “To have an aviation program like this affiliated with Willow Run Airport gives our bright and ambitious youth a real shot at an exciting and prosperous life-long career.”

All flight training required under the Aviation Flight Technology program will be provided by Eagle Flight Center, a certified pilot training facility located at Willow Run. Eagle Flight Center is affiliated with the Michigan Institute of Aeronautics, which has been training aviation maintenance technicians at its Willow Run school for more than 30 years.

EMU’s Aviation Flight Technology curriculum encompasses a program of study that takes individuals from student pilots to certified flight instructors. The program also includes a number of specialized courses that incorporate aviation business and management skills, safety, crew resource management, and aviation law and regulations.

“During the next 10 years, there are going to be tremendous opportunities for entry-level professional pilots in all areas of aviation,” said Anthony Adamski, program coordinator for EMU’s Flight Technology program. “We’re happy to be able to provide students with the opportunity to become involved in this exciting industry, and we’re pleased to be partners with Eagle Flight Center and Willow Run Airport as we enter this new endeavor.”

Eagle Flight Center is conveniently located to EMU on the west side of Willow Run Airport. The school’s newly renovated facility includes classrooms, a student lounge and a pilot shop with books, supplies and charts, said Eagle Flight Center President Charles Hawes.

“Eagle Flight Center is proud to join Eastern Michigan University in this exciting new curriculum,” Hawes said. “We have assembled an experienced group of professionals to ensure all flight training required under this program is comprehensive and concise. When students complete this program, they will have the flight certifications and academic foundation necessary for a career as a professional pilot.”

While the economy and the events of September 11 have currently slowed the commercial aviation business, EMU’s Adamski said there remains a significant long-term demand for new commercial pilots. Cutbacks in military pilot training and a surge of retirements have fueled a pilot shortage, he said.

“It’s estimated that established airlines will retire 50 percent of their current pilots by 2010, creating 50,000 new airline pilot positions,” Adamski said. “The industry is looking to collegiate aviation programs to meet the demand for trained and educated pilots, and we are confident we will be able to step up and help meet that challenge.

Eastern Michigan University ( is a four-year, comprehensive metropolitan university committed to the needs of its students and communities through teaching, research and service. EMU offers more than 200 programs in the arts, sciences and professionals through traditional classroom settings, on-site continuing education classes and on-line courses. EMU is the fifth largest university in Michigan, serving 24,000 students from around the world and offers undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate programs.