Aviation school names flight director



A legal professional and former airline captain is assuming the flight controls at a university in the region.

Western Michigan University announced recently that Capt. Russell Kavalhuna has been named executive director of flight operations for the College of Aviation located at W.K. Kellogg Airport in Battle Creek.

The appointment

Kavalhuna replaces former director Stephen K. Jones, who recently retired from the role. Jones had served as director of flight operations since 2007 and part of the College of Aviation’s leadership team since 2003.

His background

Prior to joining WMU, Kavalhuna served as a federal prosecutor in the Western District of Michigan as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. He also has experience teaching third-year law school courses on forensic evidence in criminal cases as an adjunct law professor at WMU Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

Kavalhuna is a certified airline transport pilot, a certified flight instructor and a former airline captain for U.S. Airways. He was appointed to the Michigan Aeronautics Commission in 2009 by former Gov. Jennifer Granholm and reappointed in 2013 by Gov. Rick Snyder. During his time with the commission, Kavalhuna has served as chairman and vice chairman, and is also the chairman of the Air Service Committee.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in aviation science from WMU’s College of Aviation in 2001, and graduated from WMU Cooley Law School in 2007. Kavalhuna also serves on the College of Aviation’s Advisory Board.

The college

WMU’s College of Aviation has provided four-year degree courses in aircraft maintenance technology and management, aviation flight science, and airline management since 1939. The College of Aviation’s campus is located on 20 acres at the W.K. Kellogg Airport in Battle Creek. WMU is also currently pursuing an expansion opportunity for the College of Aviation in Charlotte Harbor, Florida, near the Punta Gorda Airport.

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