University of Illinois Institute of Aviation

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The University of Illinois Institute of Aviation is an aviation institute affiliated with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Founded in 1946, it is located at the university-owned Willard Airport in Savoy, Illinois, United States. The institute was the first school in the U.S. to be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration to conduct all tests leading to the issuance of civilian pilot certificates.[1][2] It has a long history of providing flight training, and is particularly well known for conducting research into aviation-related human factors. For training purposes, the institute currently maintains a fleet of 18 Piper Archers, 7 Piper Arrows, 3 twin-engine Piper Seminoles and two Cessna 152s.[3]

Programs of study[edit]

The Institute of Aviation offers a B.S. in Aviation Human Factors. This program of study focuses on aircraft safety, accident prevention, and human factors psychology; the core curriculum is a mixture of flight and psychology courses. Through the flight courses, students may earn their private pilot's certificate, commercial pilot's certificate, instrument rating, and multi-engine rating. The psychology courses provide the students with an understanding of operator and machine interaction.

Some university students are interested in flight training, but would prefer to pursue a degree in another field. For these students, the Professional Pilot program is an option. In this program, the students are able to earn their private pilot's certificate and instrument rating while still pursuing a non aviation degree. Students must transfer to a different college at the University of Illinois in order to complete their bachelor degree.

Courses offered[edit]

The following is a list of both flight and non-flight course options offered by the institute for the 2009–10 school year.

Core Flight:

AVI 101 - Private Pilot I
AVI 120 - Private Pilot II (students receive private-pilot certification upon course completion)
AVI 130 - Commercial - Instrument I
AVI 140 - Commercial - Instrument II (students receive Instrument rating upon completion)
AVI 200 - Commercial Pilot I
AVI 210 - Commercial Pilot II (students receive Commercial Pilot License upon completion)
AVI 320 - Flight Instructor Airplane (students receive Certified Flight Instructor certification upon completion)
AVI 322 - Instrument Flight Instructor (students receive Certified Flight Instructor Instrument rating upon completion)
AVI 380 - Multiengine Land (students receive Multi-engine Airplane Land category rating upon completion)
AVI 381 - Crew Resource Management
AVI 090 - Orientation Refresher (completion of unfinished flight training from previous flight course, for example, AVI 320 090)

Non-core Flight (optional flight classes):

AVI 121 - Private Pilot Requalification (used to transition students who are already private pilots into institute training environment)
AVI 350 - Practice Teaching Airplane (after completion of AVI 320)
AVI 391 - Special Flight Ratings (rotorcraft, helicopter, etc.)
AVI 392 - Flight Instructor CFII and MEI (combines AVI 322 with Multi-Engine Instructor Airplane courses)
AVI 393 - Turboprop Pilot Orientation

Non-flight courses:

AVI 184 - Aircraft Systems for Pilots
AVI 225 - Aviation Weather
AVI 358 - Human Factors
AVI 384 - Jet Aircraft Systems and Ops
AVI 447 - Human Error
AVI 455 - Aviation Accident Analysis
AVI 456 - Hum Perf and Eng Psych
AVI 495 - Aviation Psychology
AVI 497 - Special Topics in Aviation

2010 review of institute[edit]

The Institute of Aviation was placed under review by the University of Illinois in spring 2010. The university faced a major budget shortfall, and was owed $431 million by the state of Illinois. Closing the institute was proposed as a means of cutting costs.[4]

Closure of institute/transfer to Parkland College[edit]

On July 21, 2011 university trustees voted 6–2 to close the institute by the 2013–14 academic year, allowing current students to finish. Marking the end of its over 60 years on campus.

However, in September 2013, the university entered a three-year agreement with Parkland College in Champaign to transfer ownership of the institute to the community college for continued flight training.[5] The Parkland College Institute of Aviation at the University of Illinois will allow students to earn a two-year associate’s degree in aviation or take courses to earn an FAA-approved private pilot certification.[6] Leasing the university’s aircraft and facilities at Willard Airport in Savoy, Parkland’s flight institute will open for the fall 2014 academic semester; applications are now being accepted.[7]


  1. ^ Staff (2005). "Faculty Obituaries: Jesse W. Stonecipher". Illinois Alumni 18 (2): 58. 
  2. ^ Flying Magazine: 10. April 1959. 
  3. ^ Institute of Aviation at University of Illinois. Aircraft page. Accessed October 31, 2009.
  4. ^ Institute of Aviation at University of Illinois. Main page. Accessed April 7, 2010.
  5. ^ Des Garennes, C. (18 September 2013). "Parkland OKs aviation agreement with UI." The News-Gazette. Web. Accessed March 31, 2014.
  6. ^ Parkland Institute of Aviation at the University of Illinois. Main page. Accessed March 31, 2014.
  7. ^ Ditman, T. (28 January 2014). "Applications available for Parkland aviation courses." The News-Gazette, Jan. 28, 2014. Web. Accessed March 31, 2014.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°02′22″N 88°15′19″W / 40.03938°N 88.25516°W / 40.03938; -88.25516