Where Attitude Meets Altitude
West Michigan Aviation Academy (WMAA) is a tuition-free public charter high school for grades 9-12. We are located on the campus of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, MI.
Our vision is to provide an innovative, professional and welcoming environment that inspires growth and ignites a passion for lifelong learning. With a curriculum rich in aviation, STEM (science, technology, engineering, math), and robotics, WMAA provides a unique educational opportunity for students to focus specifically on high-growth employment fields during their high school education. This better equips them to pursue higher education or technical degrees, and find employment in their chosen field.
Aviation & STEM Focus
West Michigan is home to many engineering, computer science, robotics and aviation corporations. These companies need and want local talent to fill their employment pipeline. All of them are facing shortages. We are equipping students to pursue these career fields through hands-on experiences in our aviation and STEM programming.
WMAA students have a virtually unmatched opportunity to explore aviation and STEM, including resources such as:
- Multiple Cessna 172 aircraft for flight training
- Build a Plane class, in which students are building a Carbon Cub EX2 plane
- Redbird LD simulator
- Eight Jaybird desktop flight simulator stations
- A radio-controlled airplane club
- DJI Inspire 2 Drone
- VEX robotics teams
- Access to 19 3D printers
- More than a dozen engineering courses
- The first high school-level biomedical engineering class in the county
- Advanced computer science courses
- A fully-outfitted engineering fabrication lab
- Mentoring from local industry experts
Aviation in Action!
WMAA is one of only a few high schools in the nation where a student can earn a private pilot license as part of the high school curriculum. Our students are also qualified to take the FAA Licensing Test after completing our Unmanned Aerial Systems (“drone”) courses.
In addition to the courses offered on the WMAA campus, students can also explore other aviation-related opportunities through Kent County Technical Center (KCTC), such as courses toward an Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) certification.
In the fall of 2021, we opened a new Flight Training Center across from our main building. This building houses many of our aviation and aerospace courses, including ground school, flight training, Build a Plane, and more. It also provides hangar space for our school airplanes, and space for industry partner Mayday Avionics.
This addition of the Flight Training Center allowed us to allocate more space in our main campus building to engineering and STEM courses. We now have dedicated robotics space, a larger computer science lab, shared access to our 3D printing lab, and much more. We continue to evaluate opportunities for expanding and diversifying our STEM courses.
Our students enjoy opportunities for business internships, mentorships and job shadows that help them explore career opportunities while still in high school. In addition, our faculty places intense emphasis on real-life, hands-on projects that incorporate multidisciplinary learning, design thinking, and many more business-level skill sets. Through these experiences, students can create a more specific and informed plan for post-secondary education or training.
Engineering Teacher Mr. Abissi
Key Business / Industry Partnerships
- Delta Air Lines
- GE Aviation
- Mayday Avionics
- Michigan Business Aviation Foundation
- Kent Career Tech Center
- Western Michigan University College of Aviation
Capacity and Enrollment
WMAA opened its doors in 2010 with 75 students. The school grew rapidly and reached its chartered capacity in 2016. We routinely draw students from 40-50 school districts, typically within a seven-county area.
WMAA is open to any Michigan student. Our charter limits enrollment to 620 students (155 per grade). If we have more applications than we do available spots, we conduct a lottery to determine who is eligible to attend. You can find the application form here.