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  • January 10, 2023 11:45 | Anonymous

    FAA approves GAMI unleaded avgas STCs for entire GA piston fleet

    On September 1, 2022, the FAA signed off on supplemental type certificates to allow General Aviation Modifications Inc.’s 100-octane unleaded fuel (G100UL) to be used in every general spark-ignition engine and every airframe powered by those engines. The move was hailed by the industry as a major step in the transition to an unleaded GA future.

    The FAA’s approval of the use of G100UL fuel in all piston aircraft directly addresses the industry’s long-standing goal of finding solutions that can be used for the entire GA piston fleet.

    “I’m proud of GAMI, the industry team, and the FAA for persevering over the long term and getting a fuel that the FAA has recognized as a viable alternative to low lead,” AOPA President Mark Baker said. “It’s vital that we find solutions to what has been plaguing general aviation since the seventies. It’s certainly the biggest issue I have dealt with in my time at AOPA.”

    “This is a big deal,” Baker added, “but there is a lot of work yet to be done.”

    In 2021 the FAA approved STCs for GAMI covering a smaller number of Cessna 172 engines and airframes, and then expanded those STC approved model list (AML) to include essentially all lower-compression engines. Though that was seen as an encouraging step forward in the years-long path to supply unleaded aviation fuel to the piston aircraft fleet, the STC’s did not include aircraft needing the higher-octane fuel that accounts for two-thirds of avgas consumption. Today’s announcement by the FAA addresses the needs of those higher-compression engines.

    GAMI co-founder George Braly said, “This is a big day for the industry. It means that for a lot of our general aviation communities, and especially for a high fraction on the West Coast, relief is on the way. And it means that our industry will be able to go into the future and prosper, and provide the essential infrastructure for this country for everything from Angel Flights to critical training of our future airline pilots.”

    Braly thanked the GA community for its support through this long process. “Without it we couldn’t have gotten this done,” he said.

  • January 10, 2023 11:35 | Anonymous

    $2.5 million program will help veterans pay for flight lessons

    UND has been awarded $2.5 million in a cooperative agreement from the Federal Aviation Administration to assist U.S. military veterans with paying for flight training and providing extra support to ensure a successful transition to the airline workforce.

    The Vets 2 Wings program (V2W) was announced to UND aviation students on Oct. 4, in a visit by FAA administrators. Through V2W, veteran students who have already obtained a private pilot’s license can apply for funding assistance to cover the cost of advanced flight training. There are about 100 veteran aviation students at UND, and efforts are underway to recruit 40 current students into the program, as well as 15 new students.

    Goals of the program are to provide a pathway for veterans to obtain the Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certification needed for an aviation career as a pilot, and to address the national pilot shortage.

    U.S. Senator John Hoeven, R-N.D., was instrumental in securing the V2W funding. On Thursday, Oct. 6, Hoeven visited the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences to commemorate the veteran flight training program.

    “Our nation is facing a severe pilot shortage, and we need a new generation of qualified pilots to help ensure continued access to safe and reliable air service, which is vital to our economy and quality of life,” said Hoeven. “It only makes sense to leverage our world-class flight school at UND and offer this opportunity to veterans. Through the funding we secured, we are establishing a pipeline from UND to commercial airlines to help meet the demand for new pilots, while better supporting veterans who want to pursue this career.”

    Significant need for pilots

    According to the FAA, regional airlines are being seriously impacted by the pilot shortage. Between 2013 and 2016, the Regional Airline Association reported that more than 150 airports lost at least 20% of their departures, and 52 airports lost at least 50%. Nearly 30 airports lost 75% of their departures and 18 lost 100%.

    “The FAA is working to create a robust pipeline of skilled and diverse aviation professionals,” said Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen. “We know we must think differently about recruiting the next generation, and that includes making programs available to reach this workforce where they are and in a format they will embrace.”

    UND President Andrew Armacost offered praise for V2W, saying it helps open the doors to a needed career for the nation’s veterans.

    “We are pleased and proud to participate with the Federal Aviation Administration on this cooperative agreement for veteran students,” Armacost said. “Our veterans have truly earned these educational resources through their honorable service to our nation, and these funds will assist our dedicated students in realizing their dreams of becoming commercial pilots.”

    Robert Kraus, dean of UND Aerospace, said he appreciates the opportunity the funding gives to support veteran students.

    “This program provides a second wind to help our veteran students get across the finish line and into their second career of service — as professional aviators,” Kraus said.

    Elizabeth Bjerke, associate dean of UND Aerospace and principal investigator of the V2W program said she is deeply grateful to Sen. Hoeven for working with the FAA to secure funding.

    “It wouldn’t have been possible without his support and vision,” Bjerke said.

    Veterans assisting veterans

    Bjerke said she is proud of the administrative team she assembled to help her oversee the V2W program. She said she wanted to involve UND administrators who have served in the U.S. military, so veterans could participate in implementing a program specifically for veterans. Of the six-member team, four people are veterans.

    Alongside Bjerke, those administrators include: Jason Evans, assistant aviation professor and U.S. Air Force veteran; Shane Mendez, Aerospace Success Center coordinator and U.S. Navy veteran; Andrew Frelich, assistant director of veteran & military services and Army National Guard veteran; Laurie Baumgartner, finance manager and U.S. Army veteran; and Dick Shultz, director of flight operations.

    “It was great to be able to put together the right administrative research team to work with these students,” Bjerke said. “They also are going to be serving as mentors. I hope we can use this this program well to improve services for all our veteran students.”

    Article reprinted with permission from UND Today.

  • January 10, 2023 11:21 | Anonymous

    The 119th Wing, also known as the Happy Hooligans, recently completed a first of its kind exercise, partnering with the Iowa Air National Guard’s 132nd Wing for Exercise Hawkeye Fury, Des Moines, Iowa Sept. 11 to 26, 2022. (National Guard story and photos by Senior Master Sgt. Michael Knodle, 119th Wing Public Affairs)

    The exercise focused on the ability for the Hooligans to set up two MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), ground control station (GCS) and personnel to a deployed location and for the 132nd Wing to effectively utilize the MQ-9 in support of state and local government emergency response efforts.

    The 132nd Wing, while operating an MQ-9 mission, has none of these aircraft at their National Guard base. This exercise was an opportunity to have this remotely piloted aircraft operate on their flightline and for Airmen to see them employed in person.

    Another aspect of this exercise is to further develop partnerships between the different units and to work jointly with other Department of Defense (DoD) partners to operate the aircraft locally and showcase the potential of the MQ-9 to assist with local domestic operations (DOMOPS).

    The Hooligan Airmen benefited from the opportunity to practice Agile Combat Employment (ACE) skills, packing up personnel and equipment, deploying to another base and providing launch and recovery for two MQ-9 aircraft each day.

    Partnerships like this make the Happy Hooligans a leader in providing training opportunities for the entire Air National Guard RPA enterprise.Photo 1: 119th Wing Launch and Recovery Element crew chiefs recover an MQ-9 Reaper after a mission in support of Exercise Hawkeye Fury at the Iowa National Guard base, Des Moines, Iowa, Sept. 20, 2022.

    Article reprinted with permission from the NDNG.

  • January 10, 2023 11:10 | Anonymous

    Dakota Territory Air Museum’s Scholarship Program

    Since 2017, the Farstad Foundation and Jeff Farstad have donated $150,000 toward the Dakota Territory Air Museum’s (DTAM) scholarship program, to assist students in advancing their aviation careers. This past summer, the museum awarded 13 students’ scholarships to assist in their aviation endeavors.

    The Dakota Territory Air Museum’s 26th Annual Sweepstakes

    The annual sweepstakes is the DTAM’s largest fundraiser. This year, we gave away a 1945 Piper J-3 Cub. This year’s winner was Jeffrey Holowienko from Erie, PA. Over the course of the last 25 years, the annual sweepstakes has generated in-excess of $2.5 million gross, with approximately $750,000 in expenses. Revenue generated from our sweepstakes has come from all over the world, with the vast majority coming from the United States. For the 2023 27th Annual Sweepstakes, we are planning to give-away this beautiful 1941 Interstate Cadet. Tickets will go on-sale in March 2023.

    Dakota Territory Air Museum Hosts Events

    Over the course of the summer season, the DTAM has hosted several public events. In June, we held The Forgotten War: Korea in the Flying Legends Hangar. We welcomed twenty Korean War veterans from across North Dakota, as well as approximately 150 guests in attendance. The program for the afternoon commemorated American involvement in the Korean War with guest speaker Maj. (USMC Ret.) Trygve Hammer, and with assistance of the local chapters of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, and American Legion. 

    In July, the museum partnered with the Dakota Cruisers Car Club for this year’s Wings and Wheels event. This year, we welcomed the International Cessna 180/185 Club for the event. The Cessna Club brought approximately 40 additional aircraft to the museum grounds and the Dakota Cruisers brought approximately 150 vintage cars, trucks, and motorcycles. We had approximately 1,000 guests enjoy the displays, food trucks, and axe-throwing! 

     In August, the museum held Welcoming Home Our Vietnam Veterans in the Flying Legends Hangar, where we welcomed approximately seventy-five Vietnam Veterans from around North Dakota, as well as approximately 125 guests in attendance. The program for the afternoon commemorated American involvement in the Vietnam War and featured guest speaker Maj. (USMC Ret.) Trygve Hammer, the Minot Air Force Base Honor Guard, and assistance from the local chapters of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, and American Legion. At the end of the August event, we held our 26th Annual Sweepstakes Grand Prize Drawing where we gave away a 1945 Piper J-3 Cub. 

    In September, the museum celebrated the contributions of women in aviation with Women, Wine, and Wings. Documentary producer Nick Spark was the guest speaker for this year’s event. His documentary, “Pancho Barnes and the Happy-Bottom Riding Club,” was screened and he hosted a Q&A after the screening. Approximately 50 guests were in attendance for Women, Wine, and Wings. 

    The museum’s final public event for 2022 was the Night at the Museum Hangar Dance and Silent Auction at the end of October.  Music, dancing, food, drinks, re-enactments, and a silent auction were on the program for the evening. The proceeds from the silent auction benefit museum operations throughout the year. 

    Please visit our website for more information on future events: www.dakotaterritoryairmuseum.com.

  • January 10, 2023 10:56 | Anonymous

    On September 24, 2022, the Harvey Airport hosted their Pancake Breakfast Fly-in. At the event, the airport also held a dedication to rename the terminal building in honor of North Dakota Aviation Hall of Famer, Al Sauter. 

    Al grew up in Harvey, learned to fly in Harvey, and started his career as a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) in Harvey. Senator Hoeven and representatives from the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission (NDAC) were also present at the event to congratulate Al and the community on the terminal dedication.


  • January 10, 2023 10:48 | Anonymous

    By Jamie L. Leonheart, Capt, USAF, Director & Design Lead, North Spark Defense Laboratory

    It all started with a pile of sticky notes and a dream. 

    “Oh, those are my ideas to change things around here.” Master Sergeant Jesse Gentile explained. “I’ve been trying to get leadership to buy into them, but none seem to want to take the risk.”

    “Let’s get them done, then.” Lieutenant Daniel Leonheart replied. With that, a friendship and North Spark began. 

    From Billy Mitchell, who fought to establish the asymmetric advantage of airpower within the U.S. Army, to Medal of Honor winner Jimmy Doolittle who pioneered instrument flight in World War II, the U.S. Air Force has been formed by rebels, rule breakers, and innovators—the kind of people who are not content to keep the status quo. It’s in the nature, the DNA, of every member of the Air and Space Forces, to always get better and never settle for good enough.

    The Chief of Staff of the Air Force is the highest-ranking uniform-wearing member of the Air Force. This office is currently filled by General C.Q. Brown. Gen. Brown has four action orders: A, B, C, and D. Action order B is focused on eliminating bureaucracy. As a Spark Cell, North Spark joined a network of similarly minded Airmen at bases around the world to disrupt the bureaucracy to solve local problems at the local level with innovative solutions. 

    In short order, Jesse and Dan established a Maker Space with 3D printers, virtual reality (VR) modeling, whiteboards, and drawing and drafting materials. Soon after, their tenacity brought about the establishment of the Zero Ground eSports Center, which was designed to attract and retain talented Airmen and civilians, increase connectedness, and strengthen resiliency at Grand Forks Air Force Base (AFB).

    North Spark quickly outgrew the framework of the Spark Cell, and in August 2021, the Air Force Research Laboratory granted Defense Innovation Laboratory status. Thus, North Spark Defense Laboratory was born. As the second Defense Innovation Laboratory in the Air Force, North Spark is authorized to enter into Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADA) with commercial industry, and Educational Partnership Agreements (EPA) with academic institutions. With more responsibility comes the need for more space, and in April 2022, North Spark held a grand opening at its new laboratory that transformed the old base golf course clubhouse into a sleek, modern, collaborative workspace.

  • December 22, 2022 12:44 | Anonymous

    We are thrilled to announce our newest education programs at the Fargo Air Museum: The Lil Flyers Club and the EAA Young Eagles Build Night- Pietenpol Workshop!

    The Fargo Air Museum (FAM) has officially launched our Lil Flyer Club, where our educators and volunteers take our education program on the road. We visit rural schools in the Fargo-Moorhead area to bring our STEAM and aviation curriculum to smaller schools, to expand the aviation passion and education in our great state. 

    Since our September launch, we have visited Kindred, Harwood, and Maple Valley Elementary schools with our aviation camps. serving over 125 fourth graders. We have had a very successful couple of months with amazing feedback from students, faculty and parents! We plan to continue building this amazing program and add additional schools throughout the year. 

    We have also partnered with the EAA Chapter 317 to offer specialized camps at the museum, where 10 to 17 year old students are building a full scale Pietonpol wooden aircraft! The kids have built jigs, assembled wing ribs, and are currently working on the tail assembly. Once the aircraft is complete, covering and all, we will have students sign the fuselage and hang it on display at the FAM for all to see!

    The next series in the EAA Camps will focus on aluminum construction, as we continue to dive deep into the various aircraft construction methods. Stay tuned for updates as we continue expanding our education program.

    We truly believe aviation is such an amazing industry, where anyone can become a part of our passion for flight. We need doctors, maintenance, pilots, technology, engineering, business, and marketing, and so much more. Pretty much any degree can be a fit for the aviation industry. As you can see, education is a large part of what we do at the FAM. From our basic free camps to our highly interactive Intro to Aviation courses, there is always something going on at the Museum to continue sharing our love and passion for aviation. 

    I am very thankful for all our sponsors, donors, friends, staff, our Board of Directors and the community. And a special thanks to the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission (NDAC) for grant support, which allows us to continually expand our education programs!

    We could not have a special place like the Fargo Air Museum without your support! So on behalf of myself and staff at the FAM, thank you and include a stop at the Museum this fall.

    Ryan Thayer is the Executive Director/CEO of the Fargo Air Museum. He has been part of aviation since birth, received his solo license at 16, and his private pilot’s license at 18 from UND as well as an Entrepreneurship Degree. He has always been passionate about aviation and business and is thrilled to be able to pursue both of his passions at the Fargo Air Museum.

  • December 22, 2022 12:38 | Anonymous

    Exploring North Dakota Airports

    Looking for a new destination this fall? Plan a visit to Hillsboro Regional Airport, just four miles south of Hillsboro, ND! The North Dakota airport passport stamp can be found in the general aviation terminal.

    Here are a few local attractions to explore:

    Hillsboro Airport Flight Simulator

    Interested in getting some simulator time just for fun or to maintain your instrument currency? Hillsboro Airport is home to a new certified flight simulator. They have a free introductory flight, as well as basic and premier membership plans available.

    Visit www.flyhillsboro.org for more information and contact information.

    The Clubhouse: Indoor Golf & Practice Facility

    The Clubhouse is an indoor golf simulator, practice facility and party rental space featuring a Full Swing golf simulator, putting green, TVs, theater chairs and kitchenette. The facility is located in the heart of downtown Hillsboro. 

    16 W Caledonia Ave Hillsboro, ND 58045

    Contact Ryan Opdahl at (218) 779-2658 to schedule a time, or visit their Facebook page for more information: www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100057530225890..

    If you work up an appetite while exploring Hillsboro, here are a few recommendations:

    The Hillsboro Cafe – a community-centered gathering spot where the focus has been on great food and friendly service in a “Welcome Home!” atmosphere.

      Hours: Tues-Fri, 7 am to 2 pm; Sat, 8 am to 2 pm

      Address: 3 N Main St Hillsboro, ND 58045

      For more information, visit https://hillsborocafe.com

    Goose River Brewing – a new brewery and restaurant featuring delicious pub food and tasty brews.

      Address: 24 West Caledonia Ave Hillsboro, ND 58045

      Hours: Monday-Thursday, 3pm to 10pm; Sat-Sun, 12-6pm

      For more information, visit www.gooseriverbrewing.com

    Please visit these locations’ websites or call to confirm hours and availability. 

    Do you have a favorite attraction to explore or a dining recommendation at your North Dakota airport to share with our readers? Submit your discoveries to editor@fly-nd.com.  

  • December 22, 2022 12:25 | Anonymous

    On October 1, 2022, approximately 20 volunteers gathered at the Garrison Dam Recreational Airpark in Riverdale, ND, to give the airport a fresh look. The group was made up of North Dakota Aeronautics Commission staff, aviation enthusiasts, members from the Mandan EAA chapter, and the Recreational Aviation Foundation. 

    The project consisted of multiple improvements to the site:

    New cones were installed throughout the airport on the runway, apron, and segmented circle.

    Excessive tire tie-downs on the apron were removed.

    Multiple new information signs were installed.

    Excess trees and shrubs were removed from the perimeter to enhance safety and airport appeal.

    Thank-you to all of the volunteers who helped make the event a success!


  • December 22, 2022 12:15 | Anonymous

    The 54th Helicopter Squadron landed a UH-1N “Huey” at Glenburn Public School in Glenburn, North Dakota to allow students to tour the aircraft Sept. 27, 2022.

    The community event was brought to fruition from a simple conversation involving 1st Lt. Sarah Melton, a 54th HS pilot and a local girl in a café.

     “One of the little girls I met in the café asked me ‘Who are you, what do you do?’ and I said, ‘Well I fly helicopters up on base’,” said Melton. “And she said, ‘You fly helicopters!’ and I said, ‘Yeah do you want to see a picture?’ and her eyes just lit up.”

    Melton took the conversation to heart and decided she wanted to give the opportunity to all the kids in the Glenburn community a chance to see the helicopter up close and meet with the air crew.

    After months of coordinating with her squadron and the school, Melton was able to get all the required permissions to land a helicopter at the school’s softball field.

    Upon arriving at the school, the air crew was greeted by students ranging from kindergarten to seniors in high school.

    “It was cool to see them make the connection, to get to see them climb in and look at all the buttons and move the control sticks,” said Melton.

    Being able to contribute to the community youth was important to Melton, as she felt she could provide some inspiration for the kids who may one day want to join the armed forces.

    “If they don’t have any family members who work on base, they don’t really have a connection to it,” said Melton. “Especially, to see a lot of the little girls who had never thought about becoming pilots or military at all. It was cool to give them the option and opportunity to see they can do whatever they want.”

    Reprinted with permission from the 5th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

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