February 24, 2012

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Westminster’s Aviation School Earns AABI Accreditation

Press Release

February 24, 2012

Westminster’s aviation program in the Bill and Vieve Gore School of Business has earned accreditation from the Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI). The accreditation, along with a completely re-designed curriculum, will position Westminster’s aviation students at the forefront of a changing industry.    

In the fall of 2011, Westminster’s aviation program implemented curriculum changes in advance of an expected overhaul of federal regulations prompted by a deadly crash in Buffalo. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently ruled inadequate training contributed to the crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407 that killed 50 people one year ago. Federal investigators found the pilots weren’t properly trained to handle a flight warning, nor were they able to recover the plane once they lost control. The NTSB has since recommended sweeping changes to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations that impact pilot professionalism, fatigue, and training.

Westminster’s flight operations program has incorporated additional training in crisis decision-making and has created two new capstone courses in anticipation of meeting the new requirements before the regulations are mandated. The curriculum changes build in opportunities for aviation students to make critical decisions during emergency scenarios and experience more realistic flying situations. The new curriculum also takes full advantage of class B airspace where students share air space with commercial airliners. Westminster’s unique and challenging training environment, along with its newly designed courses, takes aviation students beyond FAA requirements in what is an ever increasingly competitive industry.

On February 17, 2012, the AABI board granted Westminster’s aviation school accreditation after a lengthy application process demonstrating the school’s quality and high learning standards. The accreditation not only assures employers that Westminster graduates possess complex skills with a broad background in the aviation industry, it also strengthens faculty connections to industry professionals. Westminster is now one of just 30 elite colleges accredited by AABI worldwide.

“AABI accreditation assures students that they are receiving a high-quality, comprehensive flight education,” said Gerry Fairbairn, director of Westminster’s aviation studies program. “Students who attend accredited institutions can feel secure knowing that their flight program receives thorough and systematic evaluations from outside educational and industry experts.”

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