Michael Mower

Executive Director of SUU Aviation / Chief Flight Instructor / FAA Designated Pilot Examiner


Specializes in pilot training, FAA regulations, advanced/aerobatic helicopter flight, aviation safety, search and rescue, and lobbying



Michael Mower is the executive director, chief flight instructor, and FAA Designated Pilot Examiner (Helicopter DPE) for Southern Utah University's aviation program. Mower brings his years of service in the United States Air Force to the classroom, enriching discussions and interactions with current students.

During his time in the Air Force, Mower worked in the fuels and cryogenics lab and was the lead instructor for the Honor Guard detachment at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho. After leaving the Air Force, Mower started a research and development company specializing in advanced metals and cutting-edge heat-treating protocols. Through this research, Mower has authored or co-authored multiple patents.

In 2013, Mower started SUU's aviation program with a small staff and 30 students. Under his leadership, the program has grown to 75 instructors, 25 aviation maintenance technicians, 30 administrators, and 1,000 students. He has a skilled and diverse team that can offer instruction on aircraft safety, maintenance, fixed-wing, and rotor wing. The recent growth of the aviation program has made Cedar City Regional Airport the second busiest airport in Utah. The Iron County Sheriff's Air Operation Division is operated by SUU's pilots. The program's instructors assist in aerial surveillance, pursuit, drug interdiction, and search and rescue efforts.

As a veteran, Mower understands the needs of his student veterans and advocates on their behalf. As an active lobbyist for veterans' rights in Washington, D.C., Mower understands the value of developing mutually beneficial relationships and assembled a team of key senators and representatives. The team Mower has assembled successfully defended veterans' educational benefits for almost a decade and has two pieces of legislation signed into law by the President of the United States.

Mike Mower trained under Chuck Aaron of Hollywood and Red Bull Fame and is now one of the few pilots in the United States that can perform aerobatic flight in a helicopter. These skills have advanced the curriculum for SUU Aviation students and elite pilots from around the world.


1 min

SUU Commemorates 20th Anniversary of September 11 Attacks

Southern Utah University’s Veterans Resource and Support Center will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks on Friday, September 10, 2021 at 11:30 a.m. on the University’s Library Quad. The program will include an aviation flyover, remarks from veterans and a special musical number.“This event is to pay tribute to a day in history that will always be remembered,” said Mike Miller, director of SUU’s Veterans Resource and Support Center. “We will never forget all those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. We are grateful to our first responders, military, and veteran communities that continue to provide opportunity, safety, and security for our nation, community, and campus.”SUU’s Aviation Department will begin the tribute with a 13 helicopter flyover to honor the 13 service members recently killed in Afghanistan. In addition, they will perform the missing man formation as an aerial salute to those who will never return home.“It’s important to reflect on the devastating attacks that took place on 9/11, but also give thanks to the brave men and women who have been putting their lives at risk for the last 20 years,” said Micheal Mower, executive director and chief flight instructor of SUU's Aviation Program. “We will honor those whose lives were lost and those who returned home.”

Michael Mower

2 min

The First Collegiate Helicopter Upset Recovery & Advanced Instrument Training in the World

A Living Legend of Aviation, helicopter pilot Chuck Aaron and his advanced flight academy will become part of Southern Utah University to offer the only collegiate helicopter upset recovery and advanced instrument flight training in the world. The advanced training will give industry professionals the chance to learn the critical decision making and flight skills necessary to handle less than ideal weather and visibility conditions."Chuck Aaron's addition to SUU Aerospace represents a significant leap in our training capabilities," said Michael Mower, executive director of SUU Aviation. "Chuck brings almost five decades of experience, including work with NASA's Space Shuttle program, the US Army's Apache test pilot Targeting System (TADDS-PNVS) program, various movies, and as the Red Bull helicopter pilot. His research into advanced flight and safety techniques will allow SUU Aerospace to advance Chuck's already groundbreaking work further."Aaron is the only pilot in the world licensed by the FAA to teach & perform helicopter aerobatics and the only one of two teaching upset recovery training in a helicopter. Among many accomplishments, Aaron was the first Red Bull helicopter Aerobatic pilot starting in 2005 and a recognized experimental test pilot by the prestigious SETP in 2011. In 2019, Aaron opened a helicopter aerobatics flight school and began offering the first and only upset recovery training program in the world, not using a simulator. The Chuck Aaron Academy at SUU is in development and will be available for pilots in the coming months.There have been several high profile accidents in the last few years that resulted from pilots flying into low visibility conditions. SUU Aviation's Chuck Aaron Academy will train these pilots to prevent and safely exit unusual attitudes brought on by hazardous weather conditions.Aaron and a select group of SUU's pilots will teach others how to navigate these deadly scenarios safely. Aaron's training and this specialized helicopter will allow SUU and The Chuck Aaron Academy to advance research into safety of flight and ground initiatives that had never been contemplated."We will be incorporating this advanced training into our short term, intensive programs," said Mower. "The flight portions of these programs are geared toward pilots already in the industry. While our students will not directly participate in the flight portion of the training, the aeronautical knowledge that Chuck brings to the program will be incorporated into all aspects of our ground training. This transfer of knowledge ensures that Chuck Aaron's legacy is passed on to the next generation of aviators."Michael Mower’s years of service and experience in the United States Air Force and as a commercial pilot have made him a renowned expert in the aviation field. Mower is well known with media and available for an interview – simply visit his profile to arrange a time.

Michael Mower

2 min

FAA Approves Aviation Maintenance Technician Program

The federal government has given final approval to Southern Utah University’s expansion of its aviation program. On December 31, 2019, the Federal Aviation Administration granted final approval for a Part 147 certificate allowing SUU to offer Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) licenses to students upon successful completion of the academic program requirements and independent testing by a Designated Maintenance Examiner (DME).“Historic changes are now underway,” said Michael Mower, executive director of SUU Aviation. “For the first time ever, an Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) training program to include helicopters is launching at SUU this semester. We worked with our partners in the industry, Washington, DC, and the Federal Aviation Administration to make this happen.”A national leader in aviation education, SUU currently trains 10 percent of the nation’s helicopter pilots and a significant number of fixed-wing pilots. With this approval, SUU Aviation is expanding its offerings and will begin training maintenance technicians through the Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) Program in spring 2020. SUU’s AMT Program is the most up-to-date in the nation, with the curriculum stemming from the Promoting Aviation Regulations for Technical Training (PARTT) 147 Act that was introduced to the House of Representatives and Senate in December 2019. It's also the only A&P program with helicopter maintenance used as the curriculum focus while still covering airplane maintenance. The program is designed to be completed in five consecutive semesters, resulting in an associate degree and A&P license.“This AAS degree program is one of a kind, and I am excited to finally have it certified by the FAA and accepting students,” said Jared Britt, director of global aviation maintenance training at SUU. “It has taken a lot of hard work by the entire aviation team, and we expect to become one of the largest AMT programs over the next few years.”Through the AMT Program, SUU hopes to contribute to the growing demand for aviation mechanics across the country. In the 2016 Boeing Pilot and Technician Outlook, it was estimated there will be a need for 180,000 new A&P Mechanics in North America by 2035. With the shortage of maintenance technicians, regional employers are eager to support and hire graduates of the program and have been crucial to the program’s approval. With the current demand, and an average starting wage of $52,000, these graduates can look forward to a greater and faster return than most on their educational investment. The first cohort of students will begin the AMT program in spring 2020. Currently, the building capacity is 250 students, but an additional building and training equipment to accommodate 1000 students are part of future plans. More than 600 students from around the world study at the SUU Aviation program, which includes a fleet of 16 airplanes, 16 helicopters and state of the art facilities. With the recent creation of the College of Aerospace Science and Technology, SUU continues to place emphasis on aviation.

Michael MowerJared Britt
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Industry Expertise

Airport Services

Areas of Expertise

Aviation Education
Helicopter Flight
Helicopter Aerobatic Flight
FAA Regulations
Inadvertent Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IIMC)
Tactical Flight
Intergovernmental relations
Federal Lobbying
Military/VA Benefits
Veteran Services
Cockpit Research Management
Aviation History
Aviation Safety and Training
Pilot Training
Aerial Search and Rescue
Commercial Aviation
Weather Development Patterns and Aviation Hazards
Physiological, Psychological, & Enviromental Factors on Pilot Performance


Southern Utah University


Interdisciplinary Studies

Southern Utah University


Interdisciplinary Studies


Professional Provider of the Year

Southern Utah University

Airman of the Year

United States Air Force

Honor Guard Member of the Year

United States Air Force

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  • Iron County Sheriff's Air Operations Division
  • Helicopter Association International
  • Utah Aerospace Pathway Program
  • Utah Rotor Pathway Program

Media Appearances

‘We remember’: How Southern Utah University is paying tribute to 9/11 anniversary

ABC4  online


It has been 20 years since nearly 3,000 people were killed and thousands were injured in the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the plane crash near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. One southern Utah university is doing what it can to make sure those lives lost – in addition to those who served in the subsequent war – are never forgotten.

Michael Mower is among those preparing to pay tribute. He is the executive director and chief instructor with Southern Utah University’s College of Aerospace Sciences & Technologies. He had also just finished active duty with the Air Force and was entering into the reserves when the Sept. 11 attacks happened.

“I remember, you know, where I was at, when the attacks took place, I was eating a bowl of Cheerios, watching the news, just before I head off to work, and watching this thing unfold,” Mower recalls. “I clearly remember exactly what was going on and thinking, you know, I just come back from the Iraq theater. And, you know, what are we getting into? And what’s happening?”

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What to expect from final NTSB report at 1-year anniversary mark for Kobe Bryant’s deadly helicopter crash

Daily News  online


“If you remove your eyes from the equation and accelerate in a flat line, your brain interprets that as going up. When we fly into a cloud, and everything is white, all sorts of vestibular illusions take over,” Michael Mower, executive director of Southern Utah University’s aviation program, told The News.

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SUU approves creation of new college for expanding aviation program

KUTV  online


“The hard work and dedication of the entire aviation team has transformed aviation training across the globe,” stated Michael Mower, executive director of SUU Aviation Services. “It is this devotion by SUU’s senior administration and Board of Trustees that led to the creation of the College of Aerospace Sciences and Technology.”

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PILT 1010 Air Transportation

This course will trace the evolution of the aviation industry from its earliest days through the modern age. Topics addressed include significant aviation events and individuals, aircraft development, deregulation, administrative bodies, organizations and commercial companies that have influenced and/or continue to shape the domestic and international aviation industry.

PILT 1040 Aviation Orientation

This course will orient students to the SUU Professional Pilot Program and career opportunities in the broader aviation industry. The course will cover, among other topics, financial aid, transfer & articulation, pilot training regulations and procedures, key aviation organization such as the FAA and Air Traffic Control, career opportunities in general, commercial and military aviation.

PILT 1420 Aircraft Systems

This course provides a study of the design, construction and theory of operation of basic systems common to fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft. Topics covered Include power plant, flight control, fuel, hydraulic, lubrication, airframe, landing gear, instrumentation and electrical systems.

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