West Michigan Aviation Academy sees 100th pilot

Kent County

CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The latest batch of pilots from West Michigan Aviation Academy will soon be hitting the skies, and the school reached a milestone this year: its 100th FAA certified private pilot.

The WMAA is located on the grounds of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport.

After just ten years of existence, it’s 100th pilot is passing through its doors.

“I’m always the guy that stays after school and talks to everyone or hangs out in the building,” said Aidan Nacke, WMAA’s latest private pilot. “And flying here is such a great opportunity. I can’t wait.”

Until today, Nacke was still in high school.

“It is awesome,” the 17-year-old said. “What an honor.”

After graduating, he’ll attend Grand Rapids Community College and plans to take his skills a step further and become a professional pilot.

“Hopefully when he gets up every day to go to work, it won’t be work,” said Dick DeVos, WMAA founder and board president. “It’ll be what he wants to do — it’ll be what he’s born to do.”

Nacke is the 100th pilot from the public charter school that has a student population spanning seven counties, each pursuing excellence in aviation.

“They have tremendous capability,” said DeVos. “And what we need to do is fuel that capability. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do today.”

As they say, the sky is the limit, but there’s no ceiling on commitment.

“It’s good to be flying,” said Nacke. “And the moment I land, it’s sad because I just want to get back in the air again.”

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