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Taking Flight at Purdue University

Purdue University Airport fleet

Heroes, scientists, record-breakers — explore the rich history of Purdue aviation 

Boilermakers have never been afraid to go first. To go faster, higher, farther.    

Our storied history in aviation is full of Boilermakers whose small steps led to giant leaps — legends, like Amelia Earhart and Sully Sullenberger (MS industrial psychology ’73), and pioneers, like Cliff Turpin (BS engineering 1908), the first Purdue graduate to become a pilot. 

As an institution, Purdue has always gone first, too. We were the first U.S. university to offer college credit for flight training (1930), and we opened the first college-owned airport in the nation (1934).  
 
Explore this page to discover how previous generations of Boilermaker pilots and innovators charted the course for our next steps in flight. 

Education

Learn what inspired Amelia Earhart, one of the most famous people in the world, to work for Purdue University.

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Education

Brittany Gallarneau applies lessons learned at Purdue in her career as a first officer for Envoy Air  When Amelia Earhart came to Purdue in 1935 as a consultant on careers for women, she imagined a future in which young women persistently pursued work that they loved — like Brittany Gallarneau (BS professional flight ’21).    “I …

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Experience

Purdue Pilots Inc. generates enthusiasm for flying by providing low-cost access to flight rentals, lessons  When it comes to flying credentials, it doesn’t get much better than the student organization Purdue Pilots Inc. (PPI).  PPI came to life in 1956, when the Gold and Black Flite Club (affiliated with Amelia Earhart) and the Flying Boilermakers …

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Boilermakers in Flight 

Purdue aviation history unfolds in small steps and giant leaps, in quiet moments of learning and reflection, and in heroic efforts with lives on the line.  

See where we have been and discover where we are going. Together, we will continue to propel the world forward. 

Purdue aviation history comes to life on this interactive map

Explore the path of Purdue aviators across the U.S. and discover how previous generations of Boilermaker pilots and innovators charted the course for our next giant leaps in flight.  

The pilots you’ll meet are heroes, scientists, educators and record-breakers. Get ready to take flight through Purdue aviation history. 

Boilermakers in flight: A pictorial journey through Purdue aviation 

Some of the most compelling aspects of aviation at Purdue are captured in images.  

Scroll through the gallery of photos below to see where our steps in flight started and to discover where we are taking our next giant leaps.  

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