By Kyle Wanner, Director
North Dakota Aeronautics Commission
701-328-9650 | email@example.com
I am sure that all of us could give examples of times in life where roadblocks were hit or where things did not go the way we had originally planned. Ironically, looking back on those experiences later in life, many of us find ourselves in appreciation for those times that made us stronger, wiser, and at the very least provided us with a good story to tell.
COVID-19 is now one of those roadblocks that has created challenges and sacrifices for all of us, in both our professional and personal lives. Like many of you, I have been trying to do my best to stay optimistic and look at the good things that have come out of this situation. In my personal life, that has meant spending more time with family, teaching my children more about the meaning of gratitude, and completing a variety of different house projects to help stay productive and positive.
Something that I have tried to do on a daily basis at the Aeronautics Commission is to locate the many positive things that are still occurring throughout the North Dakota aviation community. Finding silver linings within aviation in today’s environment may currently seem like a difficult task; but I still see and hear encouraging things every day. Most of all, I am impressed with the positive problem-solving attitude that most North Dakotans and industry leaders bring to the table. This is the secret sauce which will strengthen our resilience as we work through this temporary roadblock.
Our public-use airports throughout North Dakota continue to remain open and flight training, in many instances, has resumed. I have even spoken to multiple pilots that have decided that now is the time for them to dust off their wings and get back into flying. Recently, our office has also seen a growing number of pilots who have shown an interest in starting our Passport Program and work to collect stamps as they tour the state’s 89 public airports. If you are someone who has also been looking for a reason to fly and take on a new adventure or are frustrated with the lack of fly-in events taking place this summer, I highly recommend that you take a look at this program. If you do not have a passport booklet and would like us to send you one, please contact our office.
I am also pleased to report that a majority of our airport construction projects this year have seen lower than expected bid prices. The weather has also allowed most of our contractors to progress on projects that were drastically delayed last construction season, due to the record wet season that our state experienced. Many airport operators are also taking advantage of the current slow-down by completing long overdue projects or tasks that are easier to complete during times of lower activity levels. Aircraft cargo and unmanned aircraft systems are also areas that continue to provide new opportunities and growth during this time.
Aviation has been an adapting industry for over a hundred years and will continue to do so successfully, no matter what challenge awaits. It is my hope that during this unpredictable time, all of us are able to rise up as needed for our co-workers and our family members so that we can help each other stay positive and productive throughout these times.
I also encourage you to plan an adventure, while enjoying the summer weather and the beautiful North Dakota skies, in your pursuit of finding those clouds with silver linings.