The West Michigan Aviation Academy (WMAA) recently opened a new Flight Training Center at 4151 Aviator Way, on the campus of Gerald R. Ford International Airport.
The Flight Training Center includes an overall 33,200 square feet of permanent, owned hangar space to support flight operations, additional classroom space for STEM/robotics programs, simulation labs and an open construction bay for projects and courses such as Build-a-Plan.
“At WMAA, we have learned that when you open doors, amazing kids walk through them,” said Dick DeVos, WMAA founder and board president. “The Flight Training Center will open even more opportunities for our students to soar, literally. No one else in the country is doing what WMAA is doing.”
The training center is part of a larger project that also includes a third plane, student scholarships for flight training, existing school building upgrades, programming supports and more.
WMAA is a tuition-free public charter school where high school students can earn a private pilot license. Since 2014, 115 WMAA students have earned a private pilot license, and other students have pursued other career opportunities. A total of 765 students have earned a high school degree at WMAA. The new center is currently open for the fall semester.
“For us as students, it’s more than a building,” said WMAA senior flight student Devon Christner. “It’s everything we dream about and are working toward. I am so grateful to have this resource as a high school student.”
“I’ve been working for three years on my dream of becoming an Air Force fighter pilot,” Cooper Marcukaitis, a fellow senior flight student, said. “To be able to finish my high school career in a building where I’m surrounded by aviation is unbelievable. This facility is awesome, and it brings my dream to life.”
The multifunctional facility also will serve as a business operation space for Mayday Avionics, which specializes in custom avionics installations, autopilot, custom avionic services and custom avionics modifications for fixed-wing and rotor-craft aircraft.