In 1928, founder W.G. Skelly was convinced that air transportation would come of age and bring with it a need for skilled aircraft technicians and pilots. He was right, and as a result, the Spartan aviation school, with its learn-by-doing teaching philosophy, quickly became a leader in aviation education, standing out from other aviation schools and programs. It’s a place for individuals to learn how to turn their passion for aviation into a career they love.
Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology has trained more than 130,000 technicians and pilots over these past 90 years including the military, customized and traditional education programs. Through the performance of its graduates, Spartan College has a significant influence on world aviation.
The Spartan College Black Cat with the 13 signifies that “Knowledge and Skill Overcome Superstition and Luck”. The Black Cat was the original insignia of Spartan's Dawn Patrol; its origin is an integral part of Spartan College’s history, going back to 1929. It started with three students who wanted to learn formation flying similar to what was seen in Army flying expeditions. The trio called themselves the "Three Blind Mice". Once they became more proficient, other students wanted to join in, so they needed to change the name. The name "The Dawn Patrol" was adopted based on the famous exploits of the allied flyers taking off at dawn on patrols. The Spartan flight schedule, in order to accomodate the commo high winds in Oklahoma, usually took off at the crack of dawn. Often on weekends, longer cross country flights were planned. When a group of five or ten planes would arrive at the destination city, often crowds would flock to the landing field to see this unusual event. To this day, Spartan honors the tradition of the Dawn Patrol by taking a quarterly cross country flight with as many aircraft and students as are able.
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.
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, nonstop transAtlantic 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.
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.
In 1935 J. Paul Getty became a new owner through an oil transaction. In 1942 he took on direct management of the aircraft company and the school and spurred much of Spartan's growth during World War II and the Korean War, during which thousands of pilots and mechanics trained for the armed forces.
The Soviet Union launches the first man-made earth satellite, Sputnik 1.
Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes the first man in space. Later that year, Alan Shepard becomes the first American in space.
In 1968, Spartan is purchased by Automation Industries Inc. In 1969, Spartan expands their services and builds its south campus on Pine Street.
Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become the first people to walk on the moon.
Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager became the first people to circumnavigate the world, nonstop, without refueling their plane, the Voyager.
Northrop Grumman introduces the B-2 Spirit, also known as the Stealth Bomber. This American strategic bomber features low observable stealth technology designed for penetrating dense anti-aircraft defenses.
Breitling Orbiter 3 was the first balloon to fly around the world nonstop, piloted by Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones. Designed and built by Cameron Balloons of Bristol, England, Breitling Orbiter 3 stood 180 feet tall when fully inflated.
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.