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  • June 13, 2024 13:32 | Anonymous

    Reprinted with permission from the North Dakota National Guard

    The North Dakota National Guard launched an aerial operation to respond to an ice jam on the Missouri River in Bismarck, Feb. 29. (National Guard story by Sgt. Michaela C.P. Granger and photos by Staff Sgt. Samuel Kroll, North Dakota National Guard Public Affairs Office)

    Two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters deployed, repeatedly dropping 660 gallons of water to dislodge ice. The river crested at 15.43 feet, and due to mitigation efforts, fell nearly 2 feet and ended the day at 13.49 feet, dropping below minor flood stage.

    The day before, a large ice jam caused the Missouri River to quickly rise above minor flooding levels, passing 14.5 feet and flooding low-lying areas along the shoreline. Gov. Doug Burgum signed an executive order declaring an emergency for Burleigh and Morton counties, activating the North Dakota State Emergency Operations Plan. All state agencies, including the NDNG, are directed to maintain high readiness and provide appropriate levels of flood response resources.

     “There were a lot of dedicated team members putting in additional hours to ensure north dakota had a successful assessment,” said maj. Gen. Al dohrmann, ndng adjutant general. “This accreditation proves our state partners’ ‘work as one’ mindset. We all work together so that when north dakotans are having their worst day, we are ready to respond to save lives and property.”

    “Year After Year, The North Dakota Department Of Emergency Services Has Successfully Led Our State’s Whole-Of-Government Response To Natural Disasters And Other Emergencies With The Utmost Professionalism And Preparedness. These Consecutive Accreditations Are A Testament To The Extremely High Level Of Services Provided By The Des Team And Their Emergency Management Partners Across Our State,” Burgum Said.

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers committed to reducing flows from Garrison Dam upstream of an ice jam causing minor flooding on the Missouri River in Bismarck-Mandan, as state agencies coordinated with local and federal partners on a whole-of-government response. By 3 p.m., the two NDNG UH-60 Black Hawks were activated. Each helicopter was equipped with a Bambi Bucket system, capable of holding 660 gallons of river water. The 5,000 lbs of water was then repeatedly dropped onto the ice. A 20 by 20-foot section of ice was dislodged on the first pass. Around 6 p.m., progress was made, and the ice began to move down the river. One hundred and eighteen buckets dropped over 70,000 gallons of water in four hours.

    “This Was A Group Effort Responding Quickly To The Ice Jam, We Continue To Monitor The Situation And The North Dakota National Guard Remains Ready To Answer The Call To Support Our State And Communities”, Said Lt. Col. Matt Voeller, Ndng Director Of Domestic Operations.

    A North Dakota National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter carries 660 gallons of water in a Bambi Bucket to drop on an ice jam on the Missouri River in Bismarck, North Dakota, Feb. 29

  • June 13, 2024 13:25 | Anonymous

    The National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to renew the longstanding relationship between the two organizations. FAA Administrator Michael Whitaker and NASAO Board Chair and North Dakota Aeronautics Director Kyle Wanner signed the MOU on Thursday, January 4th, 2024 at the FAA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

    "Our recent meeting with the FAA Administrator was an incredible opportunity to highlight the valuable partnership that exists between NASAO and the FAA," stated NASAO Chair Kyle Wanner. "This MOU signing is another important step forward for all of our state aviation agencies, as we collectively work together to further collaborate with the FAA in order to strengthen and grow our nation's air transportation system."

    This recently signed MOU seeks to address key issues through continued collaboration on federal and state levels. The MOU outlined key objectives, action goals, and the overall process and structure to work towards the stated goals.

  • June 13, 2024 13:20 | Anonymous

    Congratulations to the winners of the North Dakota Aviation Art Contest!

    Winners were forwarded to the national competition for judging. Good luck! 

  • June 13, 2024 13:10 | Anonymous

    Flight instructors from around North Dakota gathered at Avflight at Minot International Airport Sunday to start the process of tripling Magic City Composite Squadron’s number of qualified Civil Air Patrol pilots.

    Pilots from Fargo, Carrington and Dickinson brought their units’ aircraft and expertise to train three new members and requalify two experienced members in Civil Air Patrol (CAP) flying.

    Pilots certified by the Federal Aviation Administration can join CAP to fly search and rescue, transport, disaster response and cadet orientation flights. However, additional CAP-specific training is required.

    Magic City’s Sebastian Forster coordinated with Lt. Col. Chad Smith, North Dakota Wing’s Standardization and Evaluation officer, to gather the two additional aircraft and four instructor pilots required for the day’s training. Three pilots, experienced in flying, but new to CAP, received corporate-sponsored training, up to two hours, in a Cessna 172. These initial flights are provided to better prepare pilots for their initial flight checks to become CAP pilots.

    Two experienced CAP pilots, based in Minot, also received secondary training and evaluation. Capt. Jeremy Skalicky and Capt. Ben Conlin required use of Fargo’s Cessna 182 to maintain advanced qualification, not available in the locally based Cessna 172 aircraft. Skalicky completed his annual evaluation, while Conlin returned to flying fixed-wing aircraft in preparation for his reevaluation.

    Continued training is still required for CAP pilots at Minot. Two students were unable to complete training at the recent event due to illness or scheduling conflicts. Four pilots still require initial examination flights. The next flight training day for Minot is scheduled for mid-February, depending on weather conditions.

    Air and ground crews from the Magic City and squadrons around the state also have been scheduled for advanced search and rescue training next month. Members plan to travel to Mandan on Feb. 10 to train as ground search and rescue teams. CAP members ages 12 and older are eligible to participate in ground searches, while aircrew members must be at least 18 years old. Previous flying experience or pilot licensing are not required to participate.

    Several team positions remain open to be filled in the Magic City Composite Squadron. Positions include aerospace education instructors, ground support and aircrew. People who are interested in finding out more about CAP in Minot can visit a squadron meeting, held Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. at Avflight.

    Reprinted with permission from The Minot Daily News

  • May 15, 2024 13:52 | Anonymous

    UND’s Aerobatic Team wins nationals and Flying Team wins regionals, the latest championships in a decades-long tradition

    In what has become a storied tradition in college aviation, UND pilots and crew members continue to perform at the highest levels, with the UND Aerobatic Team being crowned national champions and the UND Flying Team winning the regional title.

    The teams’ exceptional accomplishments and dedication are a source of great pride for both UND as a whole and the University’s John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences.

    The UND Aerobatic Team recently won its 11th national championship, having earned the top total collegiate-team score from International Aerobatic Club competitions during the 2023 aerobatic season. Photo courtesy of UND Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences.

    UND Aerobatic Team

    The University of North Dakota Aerobatic Team has won its 11th national flying championship.

    The Odegard School received the news after International Aerobatic Club Collegiate officials tallied competition results from around the country during the 2023 aerobatic season.

    On top of an excellent team finish, UND also fielded the competition’s top two individual scorers. Andrew Coughlin and Shawn Higgins Jr. took first and second overall, respectively.

    “Our 2023 team started strong and kept the momentum throughout the season and into Nationals in September,” said Mike Lents, head team coach and assistant professor of aviation, who has been with the team since 2008. “They supported each other through the contest season, relying on their personal experiences to train to a higher standard. I’m proud of how each represented UND, growing as professionals, individuals, and a team.

    “This year’s team included Andrew Coughlin, Shawn Higgins, Ryan Peene, Devin Graves, Tyler Sperry, Spencer Patterson, and Mikaila Gillis,” Lents continued. “They worked hard and earned it against tough competition from the US Air Force Academy and the Metropolitan State University of Denver.”

    Throughout the summer and early fall, the UND Aerobatic Team competes across the Midwest in IAC contests. Open to any aerobatic pilot, UND students routinely compete against professional airline, corporate, airshow and military pilots as well as engineers, computer scientists, business professionals and many others who train for competition.

    Sequences and maneuvers are flown to match specific grading criteria, and scores are awarded for accuracy, energy management, consistency and presentation. Judges apply deductions for small degrees of error in heading and attitude during maneuvers such as spins, loops, rolls, and hammerheads.

    Top marks at these contests and throughout the season are hard won, said Lents.

    UND Flying Team

    Nine events, nine wins, nine different team members being named regional champions: That was the UND Flying Team’s performance at the National Intercollegiate Flying Association Region 6 meet.

    The team won the Region 6 Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference championship in October, scoring a total of 852 points (second place had 491).

    The UND team also earned first place in every event in which they competed, with nine different team members being named regional champions. Additionally, the top scoring contestant is a UND student, Mikayla Weiss of Grand Forks, N.D.

    The UND team now has qualified for the NIFA National SAFECON Competition, which will be held in Janesville, Wis., in May. The 12-member team is working hard to prepare for that completion, at which UND has placed first or second at least 32 times in the past 38 years.

    SAFECON represents a comprehensive test for pilots’ skills. From pen-and-paper navigation to powerless landing accuracy, the contest’s events bring all flight skills to bear.

    The national competition draws hundreds of collegiate pilots from across the country.

    The UND Flying Team won the Region 6 Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference championship in October. The team also earned first place in every event in which they competed, with nine different team members being named regional champions. Photo courtesy of UND’s Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences.

    The Region 6 Championship was held in St. Louis and drew a total of eight teams. UND’s top marks came in the following events: Preflight Inspection, Aircraft Recognition, Computer Accuracy, Ground Trainer, Message Drop, Power-Off Landings, Short Field Landings, Simulated Comprehensive Aircraft Navigation or SCAN event and Unlimited Navigation.

    In addition to Mikayla Weiss, who was the top-scoring contestant out of 99 competitors, five other UND contestants scored in the Top 10.

    “The dedication, professionalism, knowledge and skills that our Flying Team members showcase in these competitions are a great representation of our School and University, and will serve them well as they move into careers as aerospace and aviation professionals,” said Robert Kraus, dean of the Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences at UND.

  • May 15, 2024 13:38 | Anonymous

    From left to right are Kyle Wanner, North Dakota Aeronautics Commission director, Nathan Sayler, Jim O’Day, Connie Hanson and Rodger Haugen. Sayler, O’Day, Hanson, Haugen and Ray Brooks (not shown) received the gold-level “Fly North Dakota Airports” Passport Program award.

    Multiple pilots were recently presented with awards for participating in the “Fly North Dakota Airports” Passport Program. This program began in North Dakota in 2011 and it rewards pilots who fly to North Dakota’s publicly owned airports, attend FAA safety seminars, and visit North Dakota’s aviation museums.  This program promotes safety, continuing education, and encourages pilots to practice approaches and landings in many different environments. This program also offers an opportunity to promote and support North Dakota’s airports and their community businesses and tourism opportunities.

    he gold award was achieved by five pilots during the past year and these individuals received a leather flight jacket embroidered with the North Dakota Flying Legacy logo. These pilots join the 98 others who have completed the passport program in previous years, making a grand total of 103 pilots who have achieved the gold award since the program’s inception.

    The following is a list of the individuals achieving the gold level in 2023:

    Ray Brooks - Bismarck, ND

    Connie Hanson - Devils Lake, ND

    Rodger Haugen - Devils Lake, ND

    Nathan Sayler - Valley City, ND 

    Jim O’Day - Fargo, ND

  • May 15, 2024 13:32 | Anonymous

    The Ashley Municipal Airport receives the 2023 General Aviation Airport of the Year award during the North Dakota Aviation Association's FLY-ND Conference awards banquet on March 5th, 2024. Pictured from left to right is Ryan Riesinger (President of the North Dakota Airport Association), Erich Schock (Ashley Airport Board Member), and Kyle Wanner (Executive Director of the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission)

    In 2023, Ashley Municipal Airport (KASY) received a highly competitive Airport Terminal Program (ATP) grant from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to construct a new terminal building. This terminal will be a public building and will provide pilots and passengers with restrooms and a convenient space to rest and prepare for flights. Ashley Municipal joined the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems in 2017, making them eligible for federal funding. Since then, Ashley has made significant improvements to the airport which includes rehabilitation of all airfield pavements and the installation of a new lighting system. This past year, Ashley also became the first airport in North Dakota to install and join the FAA’s Weather Camera program. These four cameras are pointed in separate directions, and constantly update with new photos every few minutes, giving pilots an excellent live view of the current weather conditions at the airport.

    Ashley Municipal also excelled over the past years in community outreach. The airport consistently works with the Ashley Medical Center and assists in coordinating flights for passengers to ensure both flights and ambulances work to make transportation as quick and efficient as possible. The airport is also currently developing instrument approach procedures, which guide and allow medical flights to land at the airport during inclement weather. The airport also regularly meets with city and county officials to educate and inform the public on the impacts and value that the airport brings to the Ashley area.

  • May 15, 2024 13:28 | Anonymous

    The Devils Lake Regional Airport receives the 2023 Commercial Service Airport of the Year award during the North Dakota Aviation Association's FLY-ND Conference awards banquet on March 5th, 2024. Pictured from left to right is Ryan Riesinger (President of the North Dakota Airport Association), Scott Cruse (DVL Airport Manager), Dennis Olson (Chair of the DVL Airport Authority), Rodger Haugen (Member of the DVL Airport Authority, and Kyle Wanner (Executive Director of the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission)

    The Devils Lake Regional Airport (KDVL) is proud of their involvement with the local community. The airport has initiated a marketing program called Jet Service, which educates travelers on the benefits that the Devils Lake Regional Airport and SkyWest Airlines have to offer.

    As a result, the Devils Lake Regional Airport has seen tremendous growth in passenger traffic throughout the past year. The airport reached a record total of 8,087 enplanements for calendar year 2023, which is a 17.5% increase from 2022. This growth is great news for the airport and could lead to increased infrastructure funding from the FAA, which in turn will help fuel continued growth and beautification of the airport.

    The airport has also seen growth in the General Aviation sector. Five aeronautical businesses are present on the airport, with a sixth planning to open soon. These businesses have added more employees and two new General Aviation hangars have been constructed, due to the demand for growth.

    Devils Lake is currently in the process to expand and remodel their commercial terminal. The new building will double the size of the current space and will also include the installation of a jet bridge. The new space will allow the airport to accommodate larger waiting areas for passengers, new restrooms, vending areas, and nursing/changing rooms for mothers. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) area will also expand, allowing room for new screening technology which will decrease security wait times. The airport also recently reconstructed a large portion of the General Aviation apron. This project repaired a variety of age-related issues affecting the pavements and has enhanced safety for the flying public.

  • May 15, 2024 13:24 | Anonymous

    Thirty-two schools will receive $13.5 million in grants from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to help attract and train students for careers as pilots and aviation maintenance technicians. 

    Twelve of the schools will receive $4.5 million from the FAA’s Aircraft Pilots Aviation Workforce Development Grants program. The schools can use the funding to create and deliver curriculums designed to prepare high school students to become pilots, aerospace engineers or drone operators. Grants may also be used to support the professional development of teachers.

    Grant recipients include: 

    Beaufort County Schools, Washington, N.C.: $374,930 

    Elizabeth City State University, Elizabeth City, N.C.: $393,142 

    Fox Valley Lutheran High School, Appleton, Wisc.: $27,800 

    Georgetown Independent School District, Georgetown, Texas: $462,208.95 

    Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, Harrisburg, Pa: $169,692.58 

    Iowa Lakes Community College, Estherville, Iowa: $493.,657 

    Kent State University, Kent, Ohio: $419,708.47 

    Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, La.: $476,643 

    Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio: $346,400 

    Pacific Aviation Northwest, Inc., Grant Pass, Ore.: $500,000 

    Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.: $500,000 

    University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Princess Anne, Md.: $335,818  

    The other $9 million will go to 20 schools as part of the FAA’s Aviation Maintenance Technical Workers Workforce Development program. These grants will help build back the pipeline of maintenance professionals; approximately 20,000 fewer people are working in the aircraft maintenance sector than before the pandemic. 

    Grant recipients include: 

    AAR Aircraft Services, Inc., Oklahoma City, Okla.: $500,000 

    Aersale, Inc., Coral Gables, Fla.: $400,000 

    Alabama Aerospace and Aviation High School, Bessemer, Ala.: $398,375 

    Central Louisiana Technical Community College, Alexandria, La..: $500,000 

    Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, Cincinnati, Ohio: $493,277 

    Clemson University, Clemson, S.C.: $497,317

    Conway School District, Conway, N.H.: $301,129 

    DFC, Inc., Woodland, Calif.: $500,000 

    Houston Community College System, Houston, Texas: $402,284 

    Indian Hills Community College, Ottumwa, Iowa: $302,816

    Iowa Western Community College, Council Bluffs, Iowa.: $500,000 

    Joby Elevate, Inc., Santa Cruz, Calif.: $500,000 

    Kenton County Airport Board, Hebron, Ky.: $479,000

    Lewis University, Romeoville, Ill.: $496,016

    Maysville Community and Technical College, Maysville, Ky.: $500,000

    North Dakota State College of Science, Wahpeton, N.D.: $307, 608

    O.S. Johnson Technical Institute, Scranton, Pa.: $423,754

    San Bernardino Valley College, San Bernardino, Calif.: $498,555

    Tennessee State University, Nashville, Tenn.: $500,000

    Thomas University, Thomasville, Ga.: $499,869

    Recipients can use the funding to establish new educational programs; provide scholarships or apprenticeships; conduct outreach about careers in the aviation maintenance industry; and support educational opportunities related to aviation maintenance in economically disadvantaged areas.  

    Visit the FAA website for additional details about the grant recipients. 

  • May 15, 2024 13:15 | Anonymous

    On a regular basis, I am asked about opportunities to assist in training costs for students pursuing aviation training. The opportunities for financial assistance have increased significantly over the last few years, and I would like to share some tips for those looking for funding. 

    First, always consider your search for scholarships to be a job. In order to receive a scholarship, you will have to put in some time and effort. Many times, finding the opportunities takes the most time, but remember that you will likely need to complete an essay, answer some basic questions, and provide some additional information such as transcripts or letters of recommendation. Much like a job, the more time and effort you put into the process, the more likely you are to receive the awards. It may be helpful to create a spreadsheet of scholarships, deadlines, and requirements to keep you on track. 

    Next, your search for funds will become easier as your end goal is defined. For instance, if you know you want to be an airline pilot, you may look into programs offered by each of the airlines. Programs such as Delta’s Propel Pilot Career Path may help you get to your end goal quicker and easier, but may not always offer formal financial assistance. Consider all of your options. If you know what school you would like to attend or what potential employers you would like to work for, those entities may offer financial assistance. Also consider non-aviation related entities for opportunities for financial assistance. Local coops and large corporations offer a variety of scholarships for being leaders in your community. Consider all of your options. 

    Finally, consider all of the traits that set you apart from your peers and remember to include those items on your application. Have you been in the National Honor Society, volunteered at your church, or received other awards or honors? Remember to include these items on your scholarship application. It may also be helpful to assist those writing you a letter of recommendation by providing a list of traits they may be able to highlight for you. 

    I believe one of the most important steps in the application process is to be sure to complete the entire application. If they ask for a transcript, remember to include it. If the application includes essay questions, always stay within their maximum word limit, and be sure to answer every question. Applicants need to sell themselves to shine above other applicants; many times your application will be thrown out for skipping even one question on the application. 

    So the million dollar question: Where can I apply for these scholarships?

    While it would be impossible to list ALL scholarships, here are some of the groups I always recommend searching while looking for scholarships.

    If ever you are looking for assistance finding scholarship opportunities, don’t hesitate to reach out. After learning your situation, I may be able to help guide you in the right direction.

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