The North Dakota Aviation Hall of Fame committee announces that Leo Duane Jostad has been selected for induction into the state’s Aviation Hall of Fame. Leo will join the prestigious aviation hall of fame group that currently includes 46 other individuals who have all had a significant impact to the growth, development, and promotion of aviation in North Dakota.
Leo D. Jostad was born 2 March 1939, in Bottineau, ND. His first flight at age five was sitting on his dad’s lap in a Piper J3 Cub flown by flight instructor Bruce Wright. Leo’s dad earned a private license in an OX-5 powered Curtis Monoplane, and the “seed” had been sown in father and son. Leo found creative employment opportunities to finance flying lessons while finishing his college degree at NDSU. He still remembers the thrill of his first solo flight.
After completing his bachelor’s degree, he taught music in South Fargo for one year before being commissioned in the United States Air Force. Between 1966 and 1969, while stationed at Minot AFB, Leo earned his Commercial and CFI Certificates then was hired by Pietsch Flying Service. Service to his country took him out of North Dakota, where he was stationed at Kadena AFB, Okinawa, Japan, flying combat sorties in Vietnam and the Tonkin Gulf areas. During this time, he assumed operational responsibilities in the Kadena AeroClub. He was an active GA enthusiast and flight instructor, the club maintenance operator for a fleet of 15 aircraft, and test pilot for maintenance-released aircraft. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross twice and the Air Medal 15 times for performance under extremely hazardous conditions during combat operations.
Once stateside, he was involved in Offutt AFB Aero Club where he continued teaching military pilots, young and old, as well as non-pilots, about the beauty, freedoms, and adventures of civil aviation. After 24 years of service, Leo retired from the USAF as Lt. Colonel. He continued providing flight instruction over the next several years in Omaha at Offutt Aero Club.
In 1988, the family moved back to North Dakota. Over the following years, Leo was approached to act as Chief Pilot and Director of Flight Operations for Farstad Oil Co and later with Food Management Investors. Between his corporate flying positions, he acted as Chief CFI at Northern Plains Aviation in Minot, ND. The part 141 flight school was a labor of love and a source of pride.
Leo has taught and mentored several international students, local students, his daughters, and two granddaughters. He has been a principal member of his community, participating with the church, music, veterans, and the famed Club de Skinatique, of which he is a founding member. He is acting president of the Bottineau Municipal Airport Authority, spearheading many improvement projects for local general aviation. In addition to providing medical flights to those in need, Leo regularly donates plane rides for the Evergreen Scholarship fundraiser earning the Friend of Education Award from Dakota College at Bottineau. Leo Jostad is the embodiment of characteristics displayed in past Hall of Fame recipients.
For more information on the North Dakota Aviation Hall of Fame, visit https://www.fly-nd.com/HoF
Join us for the Hall of Fame Award Presentation
The induction ceremony will take place in Fargo at the annual Fly-ND Conference on Tuesday, March 8th at the Fargo Air Museum. The social will begin at 6 p.m. and the banquet begins at 7 p.m. To learn more about the state’s aviation conference or to purchase tickets for the awards ceremony, visit www.fly-nd.com/events/Conference. Questions can be directed to the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission at 701-328-9650.