By Daren Hall, Chairman
North Dakota Aviation Associaton
I moved to Fargo 30 years ago and have worked at the airport every day since. I grew up three blocks from the airport in Minot and would often drive to the far end just to look at the lights and watch airplanes. I can remember a few times I would spot a North Central Airlines DC-9.
Times have changed, and so have airplanes and airports. Some aircraft very much so, as they do not even have pilots anymore. As I write, I’m watching an MQ-9 in the pattern in Fargo. However, one thing in aviation has not changed: the wonder of flight. It is the excitement one gets when you are up close; the smell, the sounds, the sights that trigger a small dose of adrenaline to run through your body.
Ironically, not once in the past 30 years of working at the airport, had I gone out just to watch airplanes. I realized this needed to change. A week ago, I saw a couple C-130’s doing some pattern work and thought, “Let’s go check it out.” After a quick bike ride to the airport with my son, Tommy, I soon re-experienced the excitement of aviation. It is a feeling like no other, when you are at the end of a runway and an aircraft flies directly overhead. I have lived and worked in the world of aviation my whole life and somehow along the way I missed something so simple, accessible, and inspiring.
With minimal travel and a slower-paced life over the past few months, the extra time has helped me find a better perspective in making the most of the time I do have. It has allowed me to rediscover the wonder of flight.
Here is my challenge for you: create time to be a kid again, rediscover your passion for aviation, and share it with other people. Visit your local airport. Go flying! And don’t forget to bring a friend.