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Director's Chair: Aviation Brings People Together

May 18, 2022 16:39 | Anonymous

If there was a lesson to be learned over the events of the past two years, I would contend that many of us have come to realize the incredible importance and value of human interactions and real-life experiences, all of which aviation helps to provide to us. Aviation brings people together. 

I have been asked many times, particularly in the initial stages of the pandemic, if aviation would ever see a full comeback, due to the virtual capabilities now available for both personal and business interactions. My response has always been the same: though virtual technology has incredible benefits and uses, it doesn’t and never will (in my opinion) replace the tangible value that is provided from in-person connections and an exposure to new adventures and opportunities. Positive experiences and relationships are also imperative for strong emotional and mental health. Those who escape into the “metaverse” will always be missing out from the benefits of cultivating meaningful relationships and embarking on impactful adventures. Stated another way, the benefits that aviation is designed to provide for people has never been more valuable.

Our goal at the state level of government is to work with all of you to grow and improve the standard of living within our communities by enhancing access to the world of aviation. Here at the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission (NDAC), we believe in working with and empowering our local community leaders to make informed decisions that have positive impacts on aviation. The public-use airport facilities around the state of North Dakota (all 89 of them) are your airports, and we are excited to partner with our local groups to help ensure that they have the support that they need to continue to grow, maintain, and advocate for those facilities. 

Local leadership and advocacy efforts are also critical to ensure the success of an airport. I can assure you that the most successful facilities around the state are the ones with active community leaders that understand and appreciate the benefits that aviation provides. If you are looking for ways to get involved within your airport community, there are opportunities aplenty. Whether it’s through local volunteer efforts, serving on an airport authority, or joining a statewide aviation advocacy group such as the North Dakota Aviation Association, there are many ways to help support aviation on a local level.

An important event that occurs each spring that allows free flowing ideas and networking opportunities in the field of aviation is our “Fly North Dakota” aviation conference. I want to personally thank everyone that came to participate in the event this past spring, as it was a great feeling to once again participate in a large in-person venue that gathered aviators from all areas of the state to discuss current and future aviation related issues. At the conference, we were also able to recognize 17 individuals that have made achievements in the “Fly North Dakota Airports” Passport Program, induct Leo Jostad into the North Dakota Aviation Hall of Fame, and provide multiple other awards for excellence in aviation that are showcased in this issue of the Fly-ND Quarterly

I also want to mention that the NDAC staff recently met to discuss and vote on our team values. If you ever have the opportunity to work with us, we hope that you are able to experience and see these attributes continually at work for aviation in North Dakota. The values that are integral to our team include: knowledge, collaboration, reliability, commitment, and safety. We are also excited to get out of the office this summer to conduct airport site visits and to learn more about the challenges and opportunities that are faced by the aviation community. Please contact us if you are interested in meeting with us or inviting us to your airport, business, or community for a visit.

Lastly, I am also excited to see multiple fly-in’s being planned throughout the state over the next few months as aviation is further utilized to bring people together. Be sure to check out the upcoming aviation events page on our website at aero.nd.gov and please let us know if you have an activity that you would like us to list on this page as well. 

We are truly fortunate to have an incredible aviation community in North Dakota. During the next few months, I hope you are able to have a safe and enjoyable experience, as you take in everything that our great state has to offer.

Wishing you smooth flying, 


Kyle Wanner, Director

North Dakota Aeronautics Commission

701-328-9650 | kcwanner@nd.gov



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