Moody Aviation in Tennessee moving to Spokane

Relocation would help reduce costs, Bible college official says

Tom Sowa
Staff writer Spokesman Review

A Tennessee aviation school that trains pilots and mechanics for missionary work is moving to Spokane.

Moody Bible Institute announced Monday it will move its aviation program from Elizabethton, Tenn., later this year.

The relocation will help reduce operating costs, said Moody Bible Institute spokeswoman Heidy Hartley.

Moody Aviation employs about 35 people in Tennessee. When the program relocates to Spokane this summer, it will operate with fewer than five.

Hartley said the program’s fleet of 20 aircraft also will be reduced to fewer than five. Instead, Moody Aviation will conduct training on planes used by Spokane Community College’s aviation maintenance program, which is based at Felts Field.

Officials from the community college could not be reached for comment.

The Moody Aviation program will also cut costs by contracting with the college for classroom instruction, flight training and aircraft maintenance, said Hartley.

Some details of those contracts have not yet been determined, Hartley said.

The move will also affect Moody Aviation’s current enrollment of 70 students. About 20 students will move to Spokane and begin classes in August. Another 50 will stay in Tennessee and finish their training. The Tennessee program will fully close in 2005.

Forty students, who are completing religious studies in Chicago, will also move to Spokane as freshmen to start the three-year aviation program.

Moody Bible Institute has promoted missionary activity for nearly its entire 128-year history. It has a large religious studies program based in Chicago.

It also operates Moody Northwest, a Spokane-based campus, at 611 E. Indiana Ave., with an enrollment of 150 students.

The institute owns KMBI-AM radio, a Spokane station that is part of the Moody Broadcasting Network.

The Moody aviation program began in 1946 and is widely credited for training more than half the missionary aviation personnel serving around the world.

The decision to move Moody Aviation to Spokane is based on the existence of the academic program here, and the local terrain being similar to parts of Tennessee.

"The terrain is very similar with a combination of hills, mountains and flat land," Hartley said.

The aviation program will provide Moody students in Spokane with concurrent Bible and aviation training.

Downsizing from 35 workers to fewer than five made sense during a time of tight budget management, she said.

"It (the aviation program) wasn’t losing money. But it was heavily subsidized," she said.

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