The West Michigan Flight Academy was founded in 2007 by Patrick Johnson a former dancer with a long and prestigious career saw the need for quality Math and Science programming for students in the inner-city public schools of West Michigan, Patrick searched for answers and realized that he only needed to search within himself and WMFA came to be. With a commercial pilot rating and 15 years of flight experience, he saw that he could make a difference in the lives of children using aviation as the tool to get them excited about Math and Science.
In 2008 Ginger DeVillers, nine-year veteran of the United States Air Force, eleven years as an Aerospace Technician, and twelve years to present as a certified Biology, Chemistry, and Physics Teacher was also searching for a way to bring her varied skills together in a comprehensive program for youth. She formed Aviation Summer Camp at her home located on Newman’s Field in Oshtemo Township just outside of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Newman’s Field is a grass strip runway and air-park community.
Steve Chanter joins the team in 2014 and is currently the Operations Manager. Steve started flying in 2000 and achieved his flight instructor certificate in 2003. Since that time he has added his instrument and multi-engine instructor certificates.
Patrick and Ginger joined forces later in 2008 and together have formed programs that include working with:
STEM Public School Systems both in-school and after-school programs bringing life to math and science through hands-on year-long programs in both Urban and Rural schools
Aviation Summer Camp Programs where students learn the basics of flight through building projects and flying with a Certified Flight instructor in small aircraft.
Youth Flight and Applied Science Program where students 4th -12th grade attend ground school and work with a Certified Flight Instructor to earn their Private Pilot’s License.
WMFA is the only organization in the country using our unique approach. We are not just teaching kids to fly like a few other organizations in the country, but we are exposing our students to the many opportunities in aviation and aerospace. More importantly, we help them position themselves to take advantage of those opportunities.
With their combined experience of over 30 years in the performing arts, aviation and aerospace, education and working with youth in many communities across the United States Patrick and Ginger have amassed a vast knowledge and network of individuals they can call upon to provide special expertise in many fields.
Working with schools and community organizations WMFA gives access to aviation, motivating students to learn and apply any facet of math, science, technology, and engineering as it correlates to Aviation and Aerospace. In our innovative learning environment, students gain critical thinking, problem-solving, teamwork, and communication skills, through presentations, lab experiments and field trips all with a strong focus on careers in Aerospace.
This program could not exist without the support of private donors, volunteers both lay and professional, in the industry and the community. Thank you to all of them.
Mission Statement: Provide aviation programs for urban and rural youth and the greater West Michigan community from all socio-economic status while promoting the necessary steps for those youth to finish high school and pursue a highly advanced technical career opportunity related to the Aviation and Aerospace industries.