About the Institute

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

Our Bachelor of Science in Aviation Human Factors degree students are using a high tech modern facility for their study and are flying a fleet of orange, blue and white Piper Aircraft. The class C airspace at Willard airport with full time air traffic control service and integration with commercial operations provides an optimal environment for flight training. Our graduates are well known and respected by the aviation industry all over the country and the world.

The Institute of Aviation aircraft fleet is cared for by our FAA Diamond Award winning Aircraft Maintenance Department.

Willard Airport offers 7 commercial flights a day for university and business travelers. With an FAA Tower, this small but bustling commercial airport provides an excellent training environment helping to prepare students for their future careers.

Looking Forward to the Future!

Tom W. Emanuel, Ph.D.
Director of Academic Affairs
Institute of Aviation


The Mission of the Institute of Aviation is to provide:

  • excellence and leadership in human factors research thus fostering the development of human centered technology for the future;
  • excellence in graduate human factors education through the Master of Science in Human Factors degree program and through collaborative, interdisciplinary efforts involving faculty, doctoral students, and masters students from across campus;
  • excellence in undergraduate education preparing aviation's future leaders through the Bachelor of Science in Aviation Human Factors degree program and quality flight education; and
  • to the community, the state and the nation, leaders who will improve the productivity, safety and quality of life in the 21st century.