Florida Tech's College of Aeronautics began as the Aerospace Technical Institute (ATI) in 1968. Unable to secure space at either John Kennedy Memorial Airport (now Melbourne Airport) or near Valkaria Airport, Florida Tech purchased Campbell Aviation, a company with an existing facility on Melbourne Airport, on July 26, 1968.
The first classes began in September, 1968.
When ATI was integrated as part of the university in 1972, rather than a separate entity, it was divided between the School of Aeronautics for academics and F.I.T. Aviation, Inc. to handle flight training and to operate a for-profit FBO separate from the university.
On June 12, 1972, Jerry Lauderbaugh became the first President of FIT Aviation and Dean of the School of Aeronautics.