28 Oct 2013

Spartan’s History Timeline

When it comes to aviation, we believe that knowledge and skill overcome superstition and luck. It’s a saying that was originally adopted in 1929 by three Spartan students who bravely formed a formation flying group under the notion that their time in the classroom – not luck or chance – was what affected their success. The students were so confident in their skills that they adopted the superstition-filled image of the Black Cat 13 as the official logo for the team.

Throughout aviation history, the most prominent names have found success due to their focus, attention to detail and tireless work ethic. We’re proud to have become an important part of the industry, having trained tens of thousands of aviation students over the years. Here’s a look at aviation history, both at Spartan and throughout the world.

First Flight

Orville and Wilbur Wright fly the first successful self-propelled airplane. By 1910, Orville Wright would open the first commercial flight school in Montgomery, Ala.

Charles Lindbergh makes the first solo, non-stop trans-Atlantic flight, flying from Long Island, New York, to Paris, France, in the single-seat, single-engine Spirit of St. Louis.


Spartan School of Aeronautics is founded by W.G. Skelly, president of Skelly Oil Company. Skelly also established Spartan Aircraft Company and formed the corporation that built Tulsa Municipal Airport (now known as Tulsa International Airport).

Amelia Earhart becomes the first female pilot to cross the Atlantic Ocean.

Amelia Earhart

During World War II, 16,000 young men of the United States and Allied Nations received flight training at the Tulsa Municipal Airport and subsidiary fields. Of these, 14,000 were trained by Spartan School of Aeronautics and 2,000 by the United States Army.

J. Paul Getty acquires Spartan.

Spartan is acquired by J. Paul Getty, who spurred much of the school’s growth during World War II and the Korean War, during which thousands of pilots and mechanics trained for the armed forces.

In 1968, Spartan is purchased by Automation Industries Inc. In 1969, Spartan expands their services and builds its south campus on Pine Street.

Spartan during World War II.

Spartan School of Aeronautics changes its name to Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology. The name change is aimed at better describing the school’s diverse programs that can train students in disciplines other than aviation.