CWU News

CWU Aviation and IASCO Agreement a Boon to Students, Ellensburg

There will be no increase in flight-training fees for Central Washington University aviation students next year (2015-2016), according to Stuart Thompson, director of contracts and procurement.  Recent contract negotiations between CWU and IASCO Flight Training (IFT) sustained the flight-training rate that reduced costs for students by approximately 25 percent this year.

"Our goal was high quality and lowest possible costs for students," said Thompson, adding that IFT has been slowly growing program strength since the start of the contract last fall. "IFT has been working through facilities, equipment, and personnel details and is fully engaged in the program now."

Thompson said IFT is sending up additional airplanes and providing more flying hours so that students can make timely progress in their degree programs. There are now eight Cessna 172s and 10 instructors on the flight line. A Piper Seminole is scheduled to be added to the flight line by the beginning of May and a Cessna 172RG will be added for certified flight instructor training soon after. IFT is also supplying a mechanic and upgrading its maintenance schedule.

Ethan Bergman, associate dean for the College of Education and Professional Studies, said most students will be able to complete their courses on schedule, by the end of this academic year. Bergman said, "The department and the college are developing initiatives to mitigate costs if students need to stay into the summer to complete their training."

Thompson predicted that the agreement also will be a boon to Ellensburg’s Bowers Field Airport. CWU’s Aviation department accounts for more than 70 percent of the traffic at the airport. According to Thompson, IFT’s new management wants to grow aviation business at the airport for everyone.  Provost Marilyn Levine will arrange a trip to China within the next month to open discussions about bringing a cohort of Chinese students to enroll in CWU’s aviation and flight training programs. The focus will be on growing enrollment rather than raising student fees

Bergman said the department is finalizing an agreement with Express Jet Airlines, which will provide new internship opportunities. A new Aviation Management degree was approved and will start officially fall term 2015. Students can take all or part of the program online.

“The aviation department is stronger than ever,” said Bergman, noting that there was record attendance at the flight center open house for Wildcat Day April 11. “This is great news for our students, but even greater news for Ellensburg and Kittitas County. The continued success of this program is tied inextricably with the health of our community airport. We are proud of our part in keeping Bowers Field an integral part of the aviation community in central Washington.”

Media Contact: Linda Schactler, CWU Chief of Staff/Executive Director of Public Affairs, 509-963-1384,

CWU’s aviation program enrolls about 100 students annually who collectively fly nearly 6,800 hours per year. CWU is the only public university in the Pacific Northwest that offers a bachelor’s degree in aviation and the only place on the West Coast where aviation students can experience the CRJ-200 turbo-jet trainer, airline style curriculum, and the technically advanced turboprop flight trainer.