Inheriting Aviation: The Targosz Family DNA

Posted by Karli Henning on Tue, Apr 24, 2018 @ 03:07 PM

When an individual has a natural passion for something, we often say it’s “in their blood.” For WMU students Suzie and Annie Targosz, this saying can be taken literally. Aviation is generations deep in their DNA. 

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Annie, a freshman at WMU, and Suzie, a junior, are first cousins. Their fathers, Steve and Andrew Targosz, are identical twins who began flying before they could drive. Both men currently fly as Captains with United Airlines. Amazingly, Andrew and Steve both met their wives, Nancy and Tricia, while the two women were working as flight attendants. Steve calls this coincidence one of many “twin things.” Nancy also has her Private Pilot license and she and Andrew’s oldest son, Jim, was recently hired at Republic Airlines. Their youngest son, Henry, is in high school and also expresses an interest in becoming a pilot.

Steve and Andrew inherited the aviation bug from their mother. As a young girl growing up on the south side of Chicago, their mom had always wanted to fly, but did not have the money or the resources to fulfill this dream. And, not to mention, at the time females were even less prevalent in the profession than they are now. With the cards stacked against her, Steve and Andrew’s mother never got to be a pilot, but what she did do is buy her children model airplanes and share her passion with them. She saved every aviation article that she could find and even tried to memorize the nomenclature associated with airplanes. When Steve and Andrew began flight training, she drove them to and from the airport every weekend and asked to hear all about their experiences.

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The twins’ aviation careers first began when they worked with the Boy Scouts of America while attending Saint Rita High School. Steve and Andrew were a part of the Aviation Air Explorer Post that met at Chicago Midway Airport once a month. After that, the twins got the opportunity to attend Camp Chaffee in Arkansas to learn how to fly. During the two-week camp, they attended ground school taught by Army Instructors and got their first 10 hours of flight instruction. To quote Steve, at that point, “The dream was on.”

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After graduating high school, Andrew and Steve enrolled in Lewis University where they continued their dream by completing flight training and attending classes. They pledged Alpha Eto Rho during their freshman year and served as President and Vice Present during their senior year. Both Steve and Andrew also worked as line boys for RD Aviation at Lewis Lockport Airport and held CFI positions for $12.00 per hour. While at Lewis, the brothers started an Intercollegiate Flight Team. Their team took 4th place in 1977.

Both Andrew and Steve worked for other airlines after graduating from Lewis University, but eventually ended up together again at United Airlines. Andrew first started with United as a Flight Engineer on the B727 in 1985. Steve accepted the same position in 1992.

 When asked to describe their experience as pilots, Andrew explained that for him it is “something very special” to be able to fly around the world and see places “from London, to Singapore, to the Middle East to deploy troops.” He also noted that one highlight for him has been flying as Captain on the B747-400. Steve echoed very similar sentiments as his brother (that twin thing, again). He described being a Captain as “unbelievable” and said it is a job that makes the world seem like a smaller place.

“Having dinner in Singapore or breakfast in Frankfurt on your overnights is something most people rarely get to do and have to spend a lot of money to enjoy, but for pilots, it is one of the many ‘perks’ of the profession. I have also flown many military missions throughout the Middle East. Being part of this operation, and having the opportunity to serve our country is truly an honor.”

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Neither Steve nor Andrew was certain that their children would take after them and get involved in aviation, but now that its happening, they both report immense happiness and pride.

For Suzie, the aviation bug took ahold of her early. She went on her first flight when she was 8-years-old, fell in love with the feeling, and never looked back. After taking a tour of WMU during high school, Suzie was certain this was the place where she would go to school and take the next steps toward her aviation career. Suzie is now an ambassador for the College of Aviation, a three-year member of the WMU Dance Team, and a member of Alpha Eta Rho.

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For Annie, the decision to pursue aviation was a bit more difficult. While she was always interested in airplanes and loved attending Oshkosh and other fly-ins and airshows with her family throughout her life, she also had an interest in pursuing education during high school. After taking the time to do her research, talking to family members, and completing a teaching internship, Annie decided that she wanted to accomplish what her grandmother did not have the opportunity to do – become a pilot.

Now, Annie is almost finished with her first year at WMU and is already involved in Women in Aviation, Alpha Lambda Delta, and Alpha Eta Rho. Steve reported being thrilled that Annie is getting so involved at college, but jokingly mentioned he hopes his daughter stays away from the skydiving club for her mother’s peace of mind.

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baby suzieSuzie and Annie had nothing but positive things to say about the experience of attending college together. Annie described how helpful it was to have Suzie share her knowledge about WMU while she was still making her decision about which school to go to. She also mentioned how it was comforting to know Suzie when she first began classes because she did not know anyone else in Kalamazoo yet.

Suzie said she loves having the opportunity to share her insight with Annie and has been grateful to be able to see her more often around the airport as ambassadors. Suzie also expressed that she is really excited to watch Annie grow and progress through the program.

annie umbrella oshkoshBoth cousins also shared how helpful it has been to have their fathers' endless support and to be able to talk to them as they go through school and flight training. Suzie mentioned that she likes to call her dad after every flight to discuss how it went.

A favorite memory of hers is calling him to tell him she completed her Private Pilot certificate. His reaction to the good news is one she will never forget.

Annie also noted that she truly looks up to her father and hopes to be at least almost as good of a pilot as he is someday. She loves to hear his stories ask him questions about the industry. 

What’s next for the Targosz family of aviators? Simply put – they want to keep flying together! 

Steve and Andrew both expressed the hope that the next generation of Targosz pilots will be able to work together and look out for each other, just like they did. More specifically, they hope their kids can all fly with United someday. And, much like they share their DNA, Annie and Suzie share this dream with their fathers.

 

Friday Feature: Matthew Bila 

Posted by Karli Henning on Thu, Mar 22, 2018 @ 11:27 PM

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This Friday’s student feature is Matthew Bila! Matt is a 21-year-old Bronco from Goodrich, Michigan. He is currently a junior studying aviation management and operations. Matt is a member of Alpha Eta Rho at WMU and is currently an Aviation Ambassador with the CoA.

When asked about his decision to attend WMU, Matt says there were a few things that stood out to him. The biggest was Western’s location. Since he is from Michigan, it was hard for him to look outside the state when there was a nationally recognized aviation school only two hours away from his house. Matt also appreciated the size of Western. “Even though it’s a division 1 school, I still recognize faces and everything is walking distance on main campus in Kalamazoo.”

Beyond his interest in aviation management, Matt also enjoys traveling, especially during the summer and to northern Michigan. He also likes to listen to a variety of music, but his two favorite musicians are Jimmy Buffett and Zac Brown. Matt is also a huge fan of Disney and considers himself a Walt Disney history buff because he enjoys reading and learning about him. 

Matt’s favorite memory at the CoA to date is when he was able to help start the engines of our Boeing 727! He also notes that his favorite class at WMU thus far has been Advanced Aircraft Systems Lab.

After Matt graduates from WMU, he has many aspirations. One of these is working for an airline at their corporate headquarters and moving his way up the ladder. When asked to provide some advice to incoming aviation students on how to be successful, Matt says it’s never too early to begin reaching out and making connections with potential employers!

Keep up the awesome work, Matt!

The Life of a Flight Ops Intern

Posted by Karli Henning on Sun, Mar 04, 2018 @ 11:24 PM

By Dakota Neff
Aviation Flight Science 

During my flight operations internship at Southwest Airlines, I was able to experience the daily processes of a major airline during one of the busiest travel seasons. My duties varied throughout the experience. I worked rigorously with fatigue-risk management, aviation safety action program (ASAP), flight data analysis program (FDAP), and safety assurance to ensure the overall safety of each pilot at Southwest. From analyzing fatigue factors, to observing pilot candidate interviews, my experience at Southwest Airlines was genuinely amazing.

dakotablog4.jpgI applied for the internship in October of 2016 thinking my chances of receiving a call were very slim. However, two months later I receive an email stating that a campus reach recruiter would like to schedule a phone interview with me regarding a flight operations intern position for the summer of 2017. I was quick to reply and the interview was setup shortly thereafter. After the initial phone interview, I was invited to an onsite interview for further questions and a tour of their headquarters in Dallas, TX. The interview consisted of a campus recruiter and three managers from flight operations safety, pilot hiring, and procedures. Leaving the interview, I was reluctant to say it went well. However, the following day I received a phone call from the campus recruiter offering me the position in the flight operations safety department and without hesitation, I accepted the offer.

The internship began in May and lasted nearly four months. My first day of the internship was exciting dakotablog1.jpgand I couldn’t wait to hear my responsibilities for my position. I was introduced to several people throughout flight operations and was struggling to remember the countless names of coworkers I had just met. However, the networking opportunities that arose from a simple handshake were endless. Flight operations safety and procedures work closely with each other and therefore the departments are located right next to each other. I was consistently working with pilots from each department that have flown various aircraft throughout their career. Many of these pilots had prior military experience including Air Force, Marine Corps, Air National Guard, and Navy. They were responsible for the flight operations manuals, checklists, and standard operating procedures for the airline. Needless to say, the amount of flying knowledge these pilots had was intriguing and I was fortunate enough to work with them everyday.

As a safety intern, I worked on many projects for the department. That said, the most memorable project was creating educational material for pilots regarding flap over-speeds. This was a safety hazard that the airline wanted to eliminate. I was tasked with creating educational pieces to display on crew IPads, crew lounge monitors, and posters throughout the training department. However, this was a learning experience for me due to the extensive research involved and the crucial mistakes leading to an over-speed. This project in particular truly identified what crew resource management is and how it can prevent catastrophic events from occurring.

The aviation safety action program (known as ASAP) is the primary source for pilots to report their mistakes or anything they believe is a hazard to the flight. This program is voluntary in nature and pilots were not required to participate. The program was designed primarily to prevent pilots filing NASA safety forms. I was able to read confidential reports that pilots submit on a daily basis and submit a summary of what happened to the ASAP manager. This program sparked my interest because if enough reports were filed over one topic, ASAP would target the issue and make changes to manuals, checklists, and procedures if necessary. I learned a lot from this program because it was designed to improve aviation safety for all, not just for Southwest Airlines.

dakotablog3.jpgThroughout my internship, I had several mentors. However, the standards office at Southwest Airlines was a group of pilots I really connected with. They demonstrated what it means to be a professional in the airline industry and what it takes to make it to Southwest. Maintaining the expectation that you will go above and beyond when nobody is watching was one of the most important values they taught me and customer service was one of the highest regarded values they wanted to maintain. The value of being a professional at all times was an expectation that the airline hopes you will meet. I was able to spend a week with pilot hiring and experienced firsthand their search for professional pilots. Each interview consisted of a human resources portion, logbook interview, and a line operating interview. I was expected to act as a “fly on the wall” during each of their interviews. Some of the values they look for in each of their candidates is a passion for flying, integrity, and professionalism. They also search for a candidate that will fit with the Southwest Airlines culture. It was a great experience and was very interesting to be on the other side of the table.

Networking was a huge part of my internship at Southwest Airlines, a quality I lacked throughout my freshman and sophomore years at Western. However, I worked with chief pilots, check airmen, standards office, and the training department throughout my time as an intern. I quickly outgrew the introvert status I had as a student and became an extrovert as an intern. For example, I was working with the training department on curriculum for new hire classes when I was told by a coordinator to go introduce myself to the standards office down the hall. I was quick to do so, and found that just by simply introducing myself, they needed my assistance for updating their advanced qualification program (AQP) or otherwise known as recurrent for their pilot group. I was shocked at the connections I had made in such a short amount of time. For the next few weeks, I worked in the simulators with check airmen testing their recurrent training modules. It was a surreal experience and I look forward to flying with them in the future.dakotablog2.jpg

My internship at Southwest allowed me to realize what it takes to become a pilot at a major airline. I understand the values, expectations, and rules you have to abide by in order to become a professional in the industry. I was able to witness how crucial CRM is and how to apply it to my flight training now. I also witnessed pilot hiring interviews, which was extremely beneficial for my career aspirations. I hope I can one day be on the other side of the table interviewing for a more permanent position at Southwest Airlines.

Bravo for Bravman: How Two Internships Led to One Outstanding Career

Posted by Karli Henning on Mon, Feb 26, 2018 @ 11:32 PM

Landing one major internship was not enough for Bronco alum, Justin Bravman! During his time at WMU, Justin worked as an intern for two back-to-back semesters – first for Alaska Airlines and then for Southwest Airlines – two big names in in the aviation industry. Now, only two years after he graduated, he works for Southwest Airlines doing big data analytics in their Supply Chain Management Department. We asked Justin to tell us about his internship experiences and how they lead to where he is today.

Bravman grew up in New Jersey and started college at WMU in 2012 in the aviation science and administration program (now the management and operations program). He graduated with his BS in the Spring of 2016. Justin also was part of the Lee Honors College where he completed a thesis that compared the operational performance and other key indicators between Southwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines.

justin alaska.jpgWhen he first arrived at WMU, Justin wanted to do air traffic control, but the FAA regulations changed and he had to switch routes. After this change, he saw that Alaska Airlines had an internship with their regional airline, Horizon Air, during the summer of 2015 in Portland, OR. The internship was within the Supply Chain Management department of Horizon under the materials support team, which means it was mainly inventory control. Justin says he knew that applying to a three-month position across the country was a risk, but it was one he was willing to take. He describes himself as “always pretty adventurous.” Luckily, the skill set Horizon needed matched Justin’s and he was offered the internship. In June of 2015, he jumped on a must-ride non-rev ticket with two bags, ready to take on Portland.

Justin’s second internship was the following semester with Southwest Airlines, in the Fall of 2015. Bravmanjustin sw1-1.jpg was already ahead in his studies at WMU. He was supposed to graduate in Fall 2015, but decided he would take the semester off if he were offered the Southwest internship. After Justin applied for the position in the summer and completed a phone interview, Southwest flew him out to their Dallas Headquarters for a face-to-face. About five minutes after this interview, he got on the shuttle to go back to the airport and got a phone call extending the offer. In reflecting on this moment, Justin says, “To say I was happy is an understatement. I was ecstatic, speechless, just really way too happy.”

At the Southwest internship, Bravman once again worked in a Supply Chain Management role, but hisposition was more specific andintense. He was a part of a SCM Powerplant team where he wojustin fan.jpgrked on two sub-teams. One was operational and supported both CFM56-3/-7 and APU on all the 737-300, 500, 700 and 800 aircraft Southwest operated at the time. The other was a strategic sourcing team where he developed numerous Excel models to figure out what parts they had or did not have contracts with. The goal of this team was to develop a master list so that they could save money on the Repairs and Overhauls.

When asked about his favorite parts and best memories of his internship experiences, Justin had a lot to say. At Horizon, he says he was able to get a taste of the real world and once again fell in love with aviation. He realized that the airline industry was the industry he wanted to go into. Working at Southwest cemented this idea for him. Also at Horizon, Justin was able to partake in a delivery flight of a brand new Boeing 737-900ER direct from the Boeing 737 Delivery Center at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington! He says this was super memorable and an experience he wishes everyone could have. And, with Horizon, Justin was able to explore the entire west coast including Alaska, where he went up to Barrow, the most northern city in America. When it comes to fond memories at Southwest, Justin remembers having fun taking a tour of the Dallas MX shop, meeting many executives of the airline during happy hours, working with numerous other departments, attending Southwest’s famous Halloween party, and the list goes on and on!justin MAX8.jpg

Over the course of both internships, Justin says he was able to figure out what he wanted in a company and how he wanted to be valued. “I wanted to be part of a ‘WE’ culture. We all know how overused the ‘There’s no I in team’ statement is… but it is true.” Bravman also developed a great relationship with his former internship leader at Southwest, who became a mentor that he meets with regularly to discuss life and work.

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After Justin graduated in the Spring 2016, he moved down to Texas to work for Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Controls in Grand Prairie, TX, where he did logistics planning and manufacturing planning. There, Justin built many of the data analytic skills like SQL, Advanced Excel, and Tableau. When an opening at Southwest popped up, he applied and was offered the position. It has been an amazing fit for him so far.

Bravman says that in the future, he hopes to become a Sr Analyst on his team. He also says he might become a Leader or just a Business Consultant at Southwest. He feels that he will stay at Southwest for the long haul because what is offered to employees is unbeatable. “It’s honestly just one of the best places I have ever been, everyone is over-the-top nice, friendly, and helpful. They want you to succeed not only for yourself, but also by helping the airline succeed. This is one reason why we’ve been profitable for 44 years, which is unheard of in the Airline industry!” 

When asked what initially drove him to complete his two internships, Justin explained, “An internship is like a three-month job interview because you’re not guaranteed a position with the company you work for, but having at least one internship can give you the edge you need when hunting for your first job out of college.”

 

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WMU Aviation is proud of all that Justin has accomplished in his internships, his schoolwork, and his career. We can’t wait to follow this Bronco on his next adventures!

Friday Feature: Dr. Gail Rouscher

Posted by Karli Henning on Fri, Feb 23, 2018 @ 06:39 PM

This Friday’s faculty feature is Dr. Gail Rouscher! Dr. Rouscher has more than 25 years of experience in the field of aviation and has been an instructor at WMU since the fall of 2008. In addition, she recently rouscher2.jpgfinished her PhD at WMU! She says that she will happily take any opportunity to represent Western and the CoA - from football, to the Air Race Classic, to community events, etc. We asked Dr. Rouscher to give us some insight into her background, her favorite classes to teach at WMU, and to give advice to aviation students.

Dr. Rouscher’s first jump into aviation was as a member of the U.S. Navy. She was an aircraft engine mechanic, stationed in Rota, Spain and here in Michigan at Selfridge Air National Guard Base.  After separating from the Navy she went to school to get her A&P Certificate.  Dr. Rouscher has been in Battle Creek for a little over 20 years and she loves the slower pace.  She is currently working on a textbook for aviation learners and research in the area of military and veterans in academia.

During A&P school, Dr. Rouscher worked as a contractor for American International Airways. She worked with DC8's, L1011's mostly and performed weekend checks/inspections.  She then came out to Battle Creek for Kal-Aero – now known as Duncan Aviation – which is part of the corporate world of aviation maintenance.  Dr. Rouscher started in the interior shop and spent one year there before she had the opportunity to move to the structures department.  From there, she became part of the avionics department as a structures mechanic - installing avionics, entertainment, and communications equipment. Dr. Rouscher was heavily involved in composite work and cross-trained for avionics. She was a department and company trainer at Duncan Aviation and trained those from all departments in structural processes.  Then, she came to WMU CoA in the fall of 2008. 

Dr. Rouscher has taught in all of WMU Aviation’s programs with intro courses and corresponding labs, with a main focus on the maintenance courses. Currently, there are three structures courses she teaches at the college, all of which are in different semesters, along with other maintenance courses.

Dr. Rouscher explains that she picked Western Michigan University for its premier aviation training, locally grown talent, and because she did not have to move.  “Because I was a part of the community, I spent a lot of time at the airport for both work and pleasure.  It was my dream to teach and my experience is mostly in aviation. It’s different every single day.” 

rouscher3.jpgWhen asked about her favorite class to teach, Dr. Rouscher names Advanced Structures and Composites. She says it is fun watching the students experience the newest aviation has to offer.  Part of the lab takes them from making a casting, through the entire mold making process, and then to the end result – a cool airplane they can take with them.  She says the material aspect of the class and all the different exposure makes each day something totally new.  

Dr. Rouscher considers working with the students, both at the college and with extra curricular activities, to be the most rewarding part of her career.  She has had the opportunity to work with and mentor students in many of the aviation RSO's and is involved with Women in Aviation and The Association for Women in Aviation Maintenance. This provides her a chance to get to know the students outside of the academic arena.  “Connecting them with community for volunteer services, providing introductions for networking, working with them for a scholarship, these are all exciting and rewarding pieces.”

Then, she explains, there is the students’ graduation. “Often I am taken aback by the changes from when I met them as first year students to the culmination of their degree.  Then they come back as alum and tell their stories, ask for advice, provide advice, and show how much they have grown since the early days as a freshman and look to share their new knowledge with those just beginning.  Helping the students succeed, whatever it takes, is why I am here. “ 

rouscher1.jpgThe advice Dr. Rouscher gives incoming students is to follow your passion and get involved.  She explains that at the CoA, instructors begin to help the students build a foundation with their knowledge and skills, but they cannot teach everything and it is important for them to continue learning. “Aviation is fluid and always changing.  It should be exciting, provide a feeling of purpose and enjoyment.  Networking is key for following dreams - never to early to start that, even as a freshman.  Those connections are invaluable when students seek a career post-graduation.”

WMU Aviation thanks Dr. Rouscher for all the outstanding work she does at the CoA and in the community! Go Broncos!

Topics: WMU Faculty

Friday Feature: Kelly Erdmann

Posted by Karli Henning on Fri, Jan 26, 2018 @ 12:20 PM

This Friday’s Student Feature is Kelly Erdmann! Kelly is from Detroit, Michigan and is a currently a senior at Western Michigan University. She is double majoring in Aviation Flight Science and Aviation Management and Operations with a minor in Business. Kelly decided to attend WMU because of how exceptional the flight program is. Also, it is not too far from her home in Detroit.
KellyErdmann-1.jpgBesides aviation, Kelly loves hiking, backpacking, and kayaking. She loves basically anything outdoors and usually spends a few weeks over the summer going on solo hiking trips to push herself to the limit.

Kelly is  heavily involved in the College of Aviation. She is a senator in the Western Student Association for Women in Aviation. Additionally, she is the secretary for Alpha Eta Rho and serves as the College of Aviation Representative for the Sustainability Grant Allocations Committee. Kelly is also on the Aviation Safety Committee as a student representative. She is the 2018 Fly-In coordinator and works part-time at the airport as a flight scheduler.

When asked about her favorite memory at the College of Aviation so far, Kelly says that going on her first team ride was a fun and different experience because she was flying with someone other than an instructor.

Kelly’s advice for students beginning their education in aviation is to be active in an organization. She states, “You’ll not only make many great connections, but it will help you build up leadership and communication skills that are incredibly valuable in our industry.”

After graduating, Kelly hopes to move out West and do some canyon and mountain flying. She says she could see herself moving to Anchorage, Alaska to work for Alaska Airlines.

Faculty Feature: Jeremy Hierholzer 

Posted by Karli Henning on Fri, Jan 19, 2018 @ 02:20 PM

This week WMU Aviation is featuring faculty member Jeremy C. Hierholzer. Jeremy started as a faculty specialist in the fall of 2012. This is his second stint with Western Michigan University as he was an aircraft maintenance technician and a WMU faculty member from 1998-2003. He teaches aircraft systems for mechanics and pilots, reciprocating engine overhaul, propellers, and advanced maintenance practices and troubleshooting.

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Jeremy earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Technology from WMU and went on to earn a Master of Arts Degree in Career and Technical Education from WMU. He is an FAA Certified Airframe and Powerplant mechanic with Inspection Authorization who also holds a private pilot certificate. Jeremy previously worked at Southern Illinois University and Purdue University teaching composites, turbine engines, electronics, and aircraft systems. He has experience performing heavy maintenance on the Pratt and Whitney JT8D turbine engine. Jeremy also has extensive experience maintaining single engine and light twin engine aircraft.

Jeremy chose to teach at WMU for several reasons. First, as an alumni, WMU feels like home to him. He states, “I have worked in industry and taught at other institutions, but nothing comes close to the feeling of teaching at your alma mater. I enjoy the college atmosphere with all the events on and around campus, especially Bronco sports. Also, teaching allows me to make an impact on people’s lives whether it’s developing a future aviation professional, showing someone how to build a home budget, or talking about work-family balance.”

There are two classes that Jeremy especially enjoys teaching. The first is AVS4965, Advanced Maintenance Practices and Troubleshooting, which only runs in the summer II semester. This is a class that meets 3 days a week for 8 hours each day. It is mostly practical/lab work, so there is an abundance of interaction with the students. The class allows the students to apply what they have learned from all their previous aviation classes. His second favorite class is AVS3070, Advanced Systems for Pilots. Jeremy enjoys this class because it is one of few where he gets to interact with flight science and management students. Also, he gets to talk about the entire aircraft from engines to hydraulics and environmental systems.

When asked to give advice to those entering the aviation industry, Jeremy says, “Network, network, and network some more. Get involved in students organizations. Go to College of Aviation and industry events. Get an internship. Apply for scholarships.” He also stresses the importance of students forming relationships with faculty in order to get recommended for jobs when the industry calls.

Jeremy reports that one of the most rewarding parts of his career is seeing students graduate and start successful careers. In addition to this, he says that being an advisor for SkillsUSA has allowed him to watch students compete and excel in state and national contests in aviation maintenance and leadership. Also, there are the lifelong relationships that develop among students and between students and faculty. But, most important to Jeremy is the flexibility that comes with being in education that allows him to spend time with his wife and two boys.

On behalf of WMU Aviation, thank you for all that you do, Mr. Hierholzer!

Friday Feature: Abimbola Ogundare

Posted by Karli Henning on Fri, Jan 12, 2018 @ 10:38 AM

Abimbola Ogundare

January 12th, 2018: Every other Friday, WMU Aviation is featuring one of our outstanding students. The students that get chosen to be featured are recommended by faculty members and demonstrate excellent effort, participation, and growth in their classes and extracurricular activities. This Friday’s feature is Abimbola Ogundare.

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Abimbola Ogundare is an international student from Nigeria, Africa. His major is Aviation Maintenance Technology. Abimbola Ogundare decided to attend WMU because of its reputation as a top aviation program. He was also impressed with the diversity at WMU.

In addition to his schooling, Abimbola Ogundare is interested in art and drawing. He is also on the WMU rugby club team and is a part of the recently formed track club. Abimbola Ogundare is a member of the Bronco African Student Association (BASA) on campus as well.

In regards to his favorite memory at the CoA so far, Abimbola Ogundare says that he was impressed and surprised with Aviation Outlook Day. He states, “I was overjoyed with the amount of information I got and the kind of people I had the opportunity to speak with. Being able to meet people from different companies was the best. I am still waiting for an event that will top that.”

After he graduates, Abimbola Ogundare does not have an exact plan, but he hopes to find a good aviation job. He also hopes to improve his artwork and go to graduate school.

Topics: Aviation, aviation maintenance, WMU

It's a great day to Gear Up With Gold

Posted by Eric Epplett on Fri, Sep 22, 2017 @ 01:15 PM

It's a great day to Gear Up With Gold.

Matt Bila
Aviation Management and Operations

Probably the most common question I get when I conduct tours and talk to prospective students and their families is, “What sets WMU apart from other collegiate aviation programs?”FW pic 2017.jpg My answer is always resources and the quality of education. Almost every week, regional airline companies visit the College of Aviation at Western Michigan University in search for potential new hires from all three of our majors. There is a reason that they come to us and why 94% of our students find a job upon graduation. The quality of education and the resources available are hard to beat. The College of Aviation consistently ranks top three in the nation and we recently introduced our largest incoming freshman class!

In 2019, the College of Aviation will turn 80 years old. That means not only are we well established within the industry, but we have been able to accumulate a lot tools and equipment over the years. We have several aircraft that are used strictly for hands-on learning and excitingly this past spring, I had the opportunity to help start the engines of our Boeing 727, something that will really be a once in a lifetime experience! Days like that only solidify my decision of attending WMU and the College of Aviation. 

The College of Aviation offers three programs, one of which is Aviation Maintenance Technology. This is a program that is really taking off and as a new partnership with Delta TechOps begins, there are endless opportunities. During their coursework, students will have the ability to rebuild an engine, take apart and reassemble an airplane, create an airfoil using carbon fiber, and much more!

For those looking to pursue a career in aviation management, our program is designed to expose you to as many aspects of the field of aviation as possible. Whether that is studying meteorology or taking an aircraft power plants class, our goal is for you to feel confident no matter what career path you take. In addition, students will take classes at Western’s Haworth College of Business, which was recently named a “top-tier business school” by U.S. News & World Report! 

Our flight department utilizes the Cirrus SR20 as our primary training aircraft. All of them come standard with the Avidyne R9 glass cockpit and SkyWatch traffic avoidance system. The College of Aviation is a part 141 flight school, so we have similar operational components to an airline or corporate flight department. For example, we have a full service dispatch and a supervisor of flight that is always on call whenever there is a training flight being conducted. On top of our aircraft, five state of the art flight simulators bring additional training opportunities.

wings.jpgThe College of Aviation is a community within itself. Since we are the smallest college at Western, we are also the most personable. I have never felt as if I was just a number. You will get to know your professors and it is not uncommon to have a college wide BBQ. If you are thinking of joining an aviation registered student organization while on campus (something that I highly recommend), there are several to pick from such as Alpha Eta Rho, National Gay Pilots Association (NGPA), Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, and Women in Aviation to name a few. Joining an RSO is just another way of getting your name out to potential employers while spending time with your friends.

The College of Aviation is entering an exciting few years. Not only are we continuing to grow our fleet, but beginning this January, we will be embarking on a multi-million-dollar expansion and renovation to our facilities at the Battle Creek airport. The construction will be completed in mid-2019 and will add additional

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classrooms, an updated/expanded simulator bay, a new main entrance foyer, and much more. If you’ve already toured our facilities and thought they were impressive, just wait, the best is yet to come! This comes off the exciting opening of our new campus in Punta Gorda, Florida, where we have entered our first semester of instruction.

As you can see, the College of Aviation at Western Michigan University is always adapting to best educate the future of aviation professionals. Whether you are an inspiring pilot, maintenance technician, or manager, you will find a home here. I have met some amazing friends at Western and as I am entering my third year, I could not have imagine going to school anywhere else. I look forward to welcoming you to our college and as always, it is a great day to Gear Up with Gold!

Go Broncos!

Matt Bila

WMU Aviation Ambassador

Topics: Aviation, WMU, Western Michigan University, WMU Aviation

Corporate Eagle Awards Scholarship to Support Western Michigan University Aviation Students

Posted by Tom Thinnes on Wed, May 17, 2017 @ 12:08 PM

The Corporate Eagle Aviation Excellence Scholarship awards $3,000 to an enrolled College of Aviation student

2017 Corporate Eagle Scholarship - Moriarty, Joel-940385-edited.jpgWATERFORD, Mich., May 8, 2017–– Corporate Eagle, a provider of premium, membership-based fractional and managed business aviation programs based at Oakland County International airport, announced today that it has awarded its first College of Aviation scholarship to a Western Michigan University (WMU) student. Corporate Eagle President and CEO Rick Nini made the announcement.

This is the first year Corporate Eagle has offered the $3,000 Corporate Eagle Aviation Excellence Scholarship, providing tuition assistance to one enrolled College of Aviation student who is seeking his/her Multi-Engine Flight Instructor rating.

“Western Michigan University’s aviation program is one of the largest and most respected programs in the nation, and we are fortunate to have this world-class professional aviation program in our backyard where we recruit many of our pilots from,” said Nini. “As part of Corporate Eagle’s value in continued education, we have connected with local grade school classes to introduce the science of aviation through tours and hands-on learning, provided summer internships for high school students, and are excited to now partner with WMU to provide this scholarship each year to deserving students enrolled in the College of Aviation.”

To be eligible, applicants had to have a minimum grade point average of 3.0, write an essay as part of the application process discussing his/her interest in pursuing a career in corporate aviation, provide a letter of recommendation from Chief Flight Instructor and a professional resume.

Selected internally by the WMU College of Aviation scholarship selection committee, the 2017 recipient of the Corporate Eagle Aviation Excellence Scholarship is

WMU senior Joel Moriarty, who has completed 830 flight hours. Moriarty is passionate about becoming a corporate aviation pilot to use it as a platform to enrich the lives of everyone he encounters. He is a Canton, Michigan resident who attended Detroit Catholic Central High School.

About Corporate Eagle

Founded in 1982, Corporate Eagle is southeast Michigan's largest and longest serving provider of premium, membership-based fractional and managed business aviation programs. Based at Oakland County International Airport, Corporate Eagle's team of 57 full-time, experienced, committed and passionate professionals are dedicated to delivering exemplary experiences for the region's industry leading corporations and business leaders. With a mission specific fleet of 15 meticulously maintained aircraft, best in class industry safety standards and certifications and unmatched attention to every detail, without compromise, Corporate Eagle offers its southeast Michigan members a premier, seamless and flexible solution to their private aviation needs. For more information visit www.corporateeagle.com.

Topics: Scholarships, Flight Instructor, Flight training

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