The theme for the 2019 Upper Midwest Aviation Symposium was “Building a Community of Aviation.” As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact everyone around the globe, I am constantly reminded of the tremendous aviation community we have here in North Dakota. I also believe the number one factor impacting student success in schools is having a relationship with a positive role model or mentor. The stronger the relationship a student has with a positive role model, the more likely they are to succeed. I believe this also applies to us in our professional lives or while flying for recreation.
Building a personal learning network is one helpful way to grow in the aviation industry. I have found that one of the easiest ways to develop this network is through memberships in professional organizations. These organizations accomplish many goals, one of which is bringing members together to learn. The North Dakota Aviation Association (NDAA) does this through media such as the Quarterly, social media and, as we talk about every winter, the upcoming FLY-ND conference. Though we will not gather together in person this year, the virtual conference will present an opportunity to meet and network with other like minded individuals. I encourage you to attend this year’s virtual conference which is FREE for all NDAA members. You really can’t ask for a better deal than that!
Through my role at the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission (NDAC), I continue to work to develop the aviation community by building relationships with the various aviation groups around the state and throughout the country. At the NDAC we work hard, along with the Airport Association of North Dakota (AAND), to ensure airports are kept safe and well maintained. Planning projects becomes a bit like a jigsaw puzzle, while we work with stakeholders to leverage local, state, and federal funds to ensure high priority projects are completed on time. We also work with pilots and aircraft owners through our Passport Program to learn more about the needs of airports around the state.
In regards to aviation education, I work consistently with the high school Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs around the state, as well as our air museums, to develop high quality educational programming for youth of all ages. We also help with funding needs for these programs through educational grants. Recently, we awarded educational grants to help fund simulators at three North Dakota airports. These simulators are available for low cost or free-of-charge in the cities of Mandan, Mohall, and Hillsboro.
I would like to encourage you to continue building your personal learning network through networking and membership in professional organizations. If you are not already a member, consider joining the NDAA, where you will gain access to this year’s virtual conference among other benefits. In addition, the Professional Aviation Maintenance Association (PAMA), the AAND, and the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) are local organizations which can help you learn and network. Both statewide and national aviation organizations have social media presences as well. Consider joining, following, liking, and contributing to your personal learning network.
Mike McHugh, Aviation Education Coordinator
North Dakota Aeronautics Commission
701-328-9650 | firstname.lastname@example.org