Michael Mower is the executive director and chief flight instructor 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 and 600 students. He has a skilled and diverse team that can offer instruction on aircraft safety, maintenance, fixed-wing, and rotor wing. With the recent growth, the aviation program has made Cedar City Regional Airport the second busiest airport in Utah. The Iron County Sheriff's Air Operation Division heavily relies on SUU's pilots and instructors to 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 that Mower has assembled has successfully defended veteran's 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 and the partnership with Chuck Aaron allowed SUU's Aviation program to open the Advanced Flight Academy. This Academy trains elite pilots from around the world in advanced and tactical flight and accidental light into inadvertent instrument meteorological conditions (IIMC). This program is the first in the country to offer training that focuses explicitly on the prevention and recovery from these conditions.
Industry Expertise (5)
Areas of Expertise (18)
Helicopter Aerobatic Flight
Inadvertent Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IIMC)
Cockpit Research Management
Aviation Safety and Training
Aerial Search and Rescue
Weather Development Patterns and Aviation Hazards
Physiological, Psychological, & Enviromental Factors on Pilot Performance
Southern Utah University: Bachelors, Interdisciplinary Studies
Southern Utah University: Masters, 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
Director / Chief Pilot Iron County Air Operations
Partnership with Iron County Sheriff's Department
Director / Chief Pilot Chuck Aaron Advanced Flight Academy at SUU Aviation
SUU Aviation's Chuck Aaron Academy will train pilots to prevent and safely exit unusual attitudes brought on by hazardous weather conditions. Aaron and a select group of SUU's pilots teach others how to navigate these deadly scenarios safely.
- Iron County Sheriff's Air Operations Division
- Helicopter Association International
- Utah Aerospace Pathway Program
- Utah Rotor Pathway Program
Media Appearances (16)
‘We remember’: How Southern Utah University is paying tribute to 9/11 anniversary
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?”
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.
SUU approves creation of new college for expanding aviation program
“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.”
Marshall partners with SUU to explore opportunities in aviation
The Parthenon online
Aviation can take people almost anywhere, and it has taken Marshall University all the way to Southern Utah University.
Sundance Helicopters Partners with Southern Utah University for SkyPath Helicopter Pilot Development Initiative
Avaition Pros online
Sundance Helicopters, Inc., and the Sundance Skypath Program has partnered with Southern Utah University in Cedar City Utah to bring the helicopter pilot development program to the university’s pilot candidate students.
SUU Aviation Assists In SAR Of Lost Snowshoers
Utah Public Radio online
Two snowshoers have Iron County Search & Rescue and the aviation program at SUU to thank after becoming lost, after dark in the backcountry of southern Utah, Sunday.
Lost southern Utah snowshoers rescued by SUU pilots
Search and rescue crews and Southern Utah University pilots found two lost snowshoers Sunday night near Brian Head using night vision technology.
Episode 29: SUU Aviation - Meeting the Needs of Students and Industry with Mike Mower
Solutions for Higher Education online
Southern Utah University President Scott L Wyatt and Steve Meredith talk with Mike Mower, the Executive Director and Chief Flight Instructor in SUU's Aviation Program.
Giving them wings: SUU partnership invites women into aviation
The Spectrum online
Southern Utah University Aviation Director Michael Mower speaks to press, announcing a partnership with the I Hart Flying Foundation, designed to encourage women to be pilots at the Cedar City Airport Tuesday, June 5, 2018.
Southern Utah University's Aviation Program Has Students Job-Ready With State of The Art Planes
Mike Mower is the Executive Director and Chief Instructor of Southern Utah University's aviation program. He says, “We are the only collegiate program that has these brand new SR-20s,” Mower adds, "Flying these at our altitude, it is a smooth flight, it's also one of the safest aircraft out there.”
Southern Utah University Student Aviators Take to the Skies When Calls for Help go Out
St. George News online
Southern Utah University’s aviation program is setting the benchmark for aerial support assistance programs across the country as students take to the skies sporting night-vision technology when calls go out for help.
SUU Aviation Working to Change FAA Curriculum
Experts from Southern Utah University's Flight Training Program are headed to Washington hoping to change outdated ways aviation students are taught.
Utah Flight Programs Increase Fleets, Partner with Airlines to Meet 'Insatiable' Demand for Pilots
Economic Development Corporation of Utah online
Bracing for a potential surge of aviation students, Southern Utah University this year spent about $3.8 million on 10 new Cirrus airplanes.
Aviation Program Expands at Southern Utah University
AV Web online
Southern Utah University is advancing its aviation program with the purchase of ten new planes from Cirrus Aircraft expected to begin arriving in June. The fleet of Thunderbird-red, fixed-wing planes features the Cirrus SR20 - a technologically advanced, easy-to-fly modern training platform that will prepare both flight instructors and students to fly tomorrow's commercial airliners, military and general aviation aircraft.
SUU Aviation partners with SkyWest Airlines
The Spectrum online
“The agreement cements SUU as a premier flight training school and helps us expand our program,” said Mike Mower, executive director at SUU Aviation.
Pilots Deputized to Aid Iron County Sheriff’s Office
Southern Utah University online
On March 23 pilots from Upper Limit Aviation (ULA) partnered with Southern Utah University and were sworn in as deputies at the Iron County Sheriff’s Office.
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.
PILT 2050 Aviation Meteorology
A study of atmospheric conditions and their related effects on aeronautical operations. Topics covered include basic meteorological principles/physics, atmospheric properties, weather developmental patterns and associated aviation hazards including thunderstorms, wind shear, turbulence, icing and low visibility, weather observation and forecasting resources, understanding weather information.
PILT 2250 Aerodynamics
Practical application of the laws of physics in the design and operation of aircraft. Specific topics covered include basic forces of flight, airplane and helicopter principles of operation, weight and balance, stability and control, high speed flight and aircraft design and testing.
PILT 2310 Human Factors and Safety
This course examines pilot performance as a function of physiological, psychological and environmental factors. Specific topics addressed include human physiology, training programs, stress, fatigue, spatial disorientation, visual illusions, cockpit resource management, decision making and cockpit design.
PILT 2445 RW Mountain Operations Lab
Students will learn proper techniques for safe mountain flying operations. This course includes practical application under the direction of an experienced mountain pilot.
PILT 2455 External Load RW Lab
Students will learn proper techniques for safe procedures in specialized areas of rotorcraft operations. This course includes practical applications with external loads under the direction of an experienced utility pilot.