CWU Aviation Program is looking to lift off again in fall 2021


Though it’s faced turbulence, CWU’s Aviation department has accepted new applicants fall.

Justin Zabel, Staff Reporter

While some wondered if CWU’s aviation program was going to close for good, the Aviation Department has accepted 70-75 new applicants for the fall 2021 program. 

In an announcement made on June 16, 2020, the Aviation program rescinded the acceptance for students going into the CWU Aviation Program for fall 2020. 

“The program was never closed, it was to take a pause. Particularly in the heart of the coronavirus chaos. And to determine whether and how the program should succeed into the future. And that’s a fairly healthy thing to do. Every program should be re-evaluated from time to time,” CWU Director of Flight Operations, Dan Petree said. 

There were many applicants that the Aviation department looked at for this program. They can only take a small number of applicants due to the capacity and limited amount of aircraft materials, along with the number of instructors and administrative staff. However, the department hopes to grow this program in the next two years, so the majority of applications can be accepted.

In the statement last year, Associate Dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies, Heidi Henschel Pellett, released the deficit for the Aviation program. For the fall 2020 academic year, the projected deficit was $1.83 million, and more previous projected deficits from past two years.

“We really had to analyze where we were with our budget and being able to look at [the] number of instructors we had, the administrative staff, and having that knowledge of going back to looking at the number of flight hours and so forth. As we are moving forward to this year, we’ve had that opportunity to really analyze our budget,” Pellett said. “We are looking to break even in the next two to three years.”

The Aviation program has closed applications for fall 2021. If a student drops out, the program will look at letting other applicants who are already on a waitlist in. The application process for fall 2022 will begin soon.

Petree said the flight side of the Aviation program is full, but the aviation management could potentially have some spots available in the near future.