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New Aviation Program Approved by the FAA


Approval confirms program facilities, equipment and curriculum meet agency standards

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (July 12, 2023)¬–Kirkwood Community College’s new Aviation Maintenance Technology program has received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval to become a certified aviation maintenance school. The certification, in conjunction with approval from the Iowa Department of Education, signifies that the program can officially enroll students and classes can begin this fall.

The announcement follows a lengthy application process originally started in late 2021. In addition to the necessary paperwork, the FAA held an on-site inspection of Kirkwood’s equipment and facilities, including the college’s hangar at the Eastern Iowa Airport. The agency also determined that the program curriculum aligned with its Airman Certification Standards, which the FAA uses to measure performance for certifications or ratings. With the approval, program staff can now begin registering students for classes beginning with the fall semester.

To Kirkwood President Lori Sundberg, the FAA approval was the last major hurdle to making the Aviation Maintenance Technology program a reality.

“We’re very excited that we just received FAA approval for our new program,” said Sundberg. “Without it we would not have been able to move forward, even if we had met all other requirements. Now that we have it, the final steps are being taken and we can start to address this major industry and workforce need. With air travel demands now at pre-pandemic levels, the sooner we can make an impact, the better.”

Currently, the college’s hangar is undergoing renovations designed to accommodate the program. Once finished, the facility will feature lab and classroom space in addition to an updated building infrastructure such as HVAC, restrooms and other contemporary features. With construction expected to run through the remainder of the year, the program will begin by holding classes at the Kirkwood Continuing Education and Training Center, located just north of the college’s main campus in southwest Cedar Rapids. Another hangar located adjacent to the one currently under construction will be temporarily utilized as well. The project is scheduled to be completed in time for the start of the spring 2024 semester.

According to Sundberg, it has taken a lot of time, energy and dedication to get to this point.

“This is not your average program,” said Sundberg. “A lot of different pieces needed to fall into place in order to make it possible. From working with the Eastern Iowa Airport, to getting both public and private funding, to finding the right hangar and renovating it, to getting the approval of both the Department of Education and the FAA, it’s been a challenge for sure. But, this is what we do at Kirkwood. We see a need in our community and we find a way to address it. I am extremely proud to see this finally happening, and I can’t wait to see our graduates make a huge difference in the aviation industry.”

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