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  • May 25, 2021 11:00 | Anonymous


    By Kitty and Mark Burke

    Aviation has been a part of my life since I met Mark. We both were raised on farms in Bowman, ND, and met each other during our childhood. It wasn’t until high school, though, that we became close friends. Mark and his brother, Bruce, owned an Aeronca Champion. During the summer of our junior year, he flew me to Rhame, ND, to get my senior pictures taken. We landed in a stubble field, as there was no public airport in Rhame. That’s when I fell in love with flying!

    That winter, I was visiting Mark at his family’s farm on a cold, winter Sunday. After feeding the cattle and going for a ride in the Champ on skis, we went inside to warm up. We made hot cocoa and were talking and laughing. When Mark leaned in to kiss me, I said, “This could change everything.” He asked, “Do you want it to change?” 

    That’s when our story truly began. We started dating our senior year, and one year after graduating high school we were married. We were both 19-years-old and felt ready to take on the world. We moved to Bismarck, ND, and were blessed with four children. 

    Aviation has been a significant part of our marriage and family in many ways. We enjoy flying as a hobby, depend on it for transportation, and Mark has developed a career out of it. Throughout the early years of our marriage, Mark would rent a plane and fly us all out to Bowman to visit our family. As the years went by, we continued to use airplanes as a mode of transportation to see relatives and for vacation travels. 

    While growing up, Mark first became interested in aviation when his neighbor, Stanley Pope, shared his love of flying with him. With Stanley’s encouragement, Mark took his first flying lesson at 15-years-old from JB Lindquist, in Hettinger, ND. Years later, Bob Simmers opened the door into an aviation career for Mark by letting him ride along on “doctor trips” in the Piper PA-34 Seneca. Mark worked part time for Aircraft Management Services, which became Bismarck Aero Center, flying the Senecas and single engine Cessnas. Later on, Fred Adams introduced him to a turbine aircraft career. Mark continued to study for and receive various type ratings, including becoming a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI), Certified Flight Instructor - Instrument (CFII), and Multi-Engine Instructor (MEI).

    I simply flew along as a passenger for many years. After the kids were all grown up, I started paying more attention to what was going on with the instruments. One day, I asked Mark to teach me how to land our plane. He said, “Kitty, if I’m going to teach you to land the plane, I want you to get your private pilot’s license.” Mark was my CFI. I had to learn from the get-go that when we were flying and he was teaching me, I was not his wife but his student. This was a challenge many times, but I was willing to go the distance and get my license. Mark was an amazing instructor. I learned to fly in a Cessna 150 and received my private pilot’s license at age 52! I also learned to fly our Maule with the big tires.

    After I got my private pilot’s license, we sold the 150 and the Maule and purchased a Cessna 182 with retractable gear. In 2020, we had a new engine and all new avionics installed. We love going on flying adventures together to visit fun destinations. Every summer, we fly to the backcountry in Idaho. We camp, hike, and explore several of the backcountry airstrips. Our favorite public airport in Idaho is Johnson Creek, and our favorite private airstrip is Allison Ranch. We also like to fly to Minnesota to see our son and daughter-in-law. Some of our other favorites include: Madeline Island in Wisconsin, Moberg airstrip in Bemidji, MN, and Bowstring in northern Minnesota. 

    Three of our adult children and their spouses live in Fargo, ND. After a visit to our kids in May of 2016, we were returning to Bismarck and decided to drive through Kindred to check out the airpark there. A residential airpark in Kindred, ND? We knew barely anything about it and had to see it to believe it! When we arrived in the clean and neat little town, we saw several empty lots with the taxiway in their backyard. There were already three homes there, so we asked one of the owners a few questions about them. On our way home, we decided that we should buy a lot and build a house once Mark retired. The next day, we purchased a lot. Shortly after, we decided to start building a house right away and use it as a weekend getaway home, until we could retire years down the road.

    We wanted to be closer to our kids and grandkids, so we looked at our resources and decided our airplane could provide the link between living and working in Bismarck during the week and living in Kindred onweekends. We started building in October of 2016 and moved in May of 2017. In 2018, Mark took the early retirement option from work and we moved to Kindred full-time. He flew for a year with the fine folks at the Fargo Jet Center; currently, he flies a corporate aircraft based in Fargo. 


    We have fallen in love with the people in the Kindred airport community. Our immediate neighbors share a common bond with their love of aviation. We get to see our kids and grandchildren every week, and Mark loves his new job. We love having neighbors over and we enjoy getting to know the new couples who are building their dream hangar home. 

    Our house was designed on a napkin by Mark. It is a very unique layout, with an open floor plan. On the taxiway side of the house we have a mock “control tower”, complete with a windsock on the top. Inside, you find a winding staircase and a fort for our grandchildren, complete with an old avionics panel and binoculars. Mark and I love to go up there and watch the stars come out and airplanes land. From the street-side of the house, it looks like we just have a three-car garage. However, there is a large hydraulic hangar door on the taxiway-side. The inside is huge! We have been able to fit seven cars and an airplane in there. On early summer mornings, we love to open the hangar door and enjoy a cup of coffee while sitting at a table next to our Cessna 182RG. 

    When Mark has to go to work, I help him push the airplane out and he makes the nine-minute flight to the Fargo Airport, instead of a 35-minute drive. Living on a taxiway and having a hangar attached to our home is a dream come true; we never really expected it to happen. Living at a federally funded airport is a very rare situation. It is a unique opportunity to have access to an airport like Kindred, which has two instrument approaches, lights, fuel, maintenance, and is very well maintained. The snow on the runway and access to the runway is cleared by the airport manager, and the taxiway is cleared of snow by the taxiway owners. 

    Mark and I often receive phone calls and inquiries from North Dakota and Minnesota pilots who are interested in living at an airpark. We always invite them over to visit the Newport Ridge Airpark and answer any questions they may have. Mark and I absolutely love to watch as our potential neighbor’s eyes light up as they consider the possibility of making their dream become a reality.


    To learn more about the Newport Ridge Airpark, visit or reach out to Mark and Kitty:

  • May 25, 2021 10:54 | Anonymous

    By Jay M. Flowers, National FAA Safety Team ASI, Operations

     (701-226-6283 /

    Back in 1972, a pilot by the name of Dennis Rohlfs and family moved next door to our home in Bismarck, ND. As time passed, Dennis and my dad became very good friends. It was through that friendship I was asked to join Dennis on a flight to Wheatland, WY. 

    As a 12-year-old, the awesome level of that trip will never be forgotten. My father, being a stockholder in Dennis’s company, afforded me opportunities in aviation most would pay to be given. Basically, I was a “ramp rat”, cleaning airplanes and helping out where I could, taking a free airplane ride whenever I could, all in awe of the adventure known as aviation.

    In 1979, I started to fly and what a trip that was. The company employed several charter pilots that all had a hand in mentoring me at some point during my education as a young airman. The best part was that I was being trained by the best in aviation, preparing me for the rest of my life. Thank you all for a job well done!

    The truly career-minded airman will always set themselves goals, such as hitting a positive rate on climbout or total hours needed to apply for that next aviation position or job. In 1984, I reached my fourth goal of becoming a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI). That was quite a day, when I passed the check ride, crawled out of the airplane, went into Dennis’ office and was asked to come to work as his new CFI. I went back down stairs and smudged the wet ink on the Inspectors Endorsement on my new Flight Instructors Certificate. I spent the next 37 years teaching people how to fly, and what a life it has been!

    Through the years, as do many pilots, I looked to the airlines. One problem was that deregulation was bankrupting airlines as fast as they took on new routes. Before long, the industry was in such turmoil that staying with this small Part 135 operation seemed pretty secure for a family man. I spent 22 years at Executive Air Taxi Corporation (EATC) and I would not give up a single moment of my time there. Starting out as a line boy and CFI, I worked my way up as a Charter Pilot, Company Instructor, Chief Pilot, and Director of Operations. I managed the company Hazardous Material and TSA Safety Assurance program for a time, and found myself as Company Check Airman for nearly 16 years in more than a half dozen family types and models of airplanes. The biggest challenge was keeping all that straight, as I myself may have been giving checks in those aircraft, but I also had to pass flight checks proving myself to the FAA. At some point late in my career, I looked back and found that I had taken more than 320 flight checks with the FAA on board. In all, there were only two failures, both of which I failed myself on for not following company and self-best practices.

    Aviation is not a desk job or a day-to-day grind in an office or business somewhere. You might say that the worst day I ever had in the air still beat the best day I ever had on the ground -  except, of course, the day my daughter was born. An aviation career does come with a few attachments: 

    1) You NEVER stop learning. About the time you think you have seen it all, you will find something you have never seen before.

    2) It is a career which requires your attention. Aviation, although buried in timetables, has the worst timing for a family man. A charter pilots’ life is supported by a group of customers that very rarely are on time. Your schedule is their schedule.

    3) The possibilities are endless. I remember one story in particular: my co-pilot and I left southern California at 80 degrees and no wind, and headed east and north for New York State and landed in a blizzard. We fought our way through the crowds to our overnight location, somewhere near New York City. The next day, we diverted twice until we could finally land at an airport in another snowstorm and parked in the middle of nowhere.  We took a limo to a hotel to catch a little shuteye, just long enough before we headed home the next morning. I remember my copilot mentioned something about what a day that was. My reply was, “Nowhere but this job can a person have a front row seat to a flight from California, out over the Pacific Ocean, across the southern U.S. border to the Atlantic Coast, land after some planning and forethought in a blizzard, only to depart to some location nowhere near where you planned. Then, the next day fly over all of the Great Lakes and be home in time for supper. Sounds like a life like none other to me!”

    In 2005, I left EATC and worked with the University of North Dakota Research Group in Alaska, as Captain of their Citation II research aircraft. The mission was to fly into icy conditions and relay that location to our flight team, seeking known icing certification in a Sikorsky S-92 Helicopter. 

    In 2006, I applied and was hired by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as an Inspector, supported by my years of training and expertise as an airman. I progressed from Aviation Safety Inspector (ASI) to Principal Operations Inspector (POI), then from FAA Safety Team Program Manager (FPM) for North Dakota and Minnesota to my current job with the National FAASTeam ASI out of Washington D.C.

    The biggest change I have seen since taking on this facet in my aviation career is the advent of Unmanned Aircraft, Electric Airplanes, SpaceX, and the true application of ADS-B in the airspace. It’s funny how I’ve spent more than the last 30 years flying with equipment like GPS, Loran, DME, TCAS, and RMI. All of these tools have led us to a safer era with ADS-B. 

    This year’s biggest challenge is preparing for EAA AirVenture and Sun N’ Fun, which are a few of my many responsibilities here at the National FAASTeam. Each year, over 700,000 attendees join together at these events to aspire and enjoy all that aviation has to offer. At AirVenture, the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and the FAA offer more than 250 educational events, designed to educate airmen, pilots, and mechanics, all with the same passion we know as aviation. We hope to see you there!

    Safety is a motivated action which requires attention, skill, and refreshment throughout time.

    Train often, Fly Safe!

  • May 25, 2021 10:51 | Anonymous

    Hello! My name is Janell, and I am excited to be the new Licensing Specialist at the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission (NDAC). It has been a wonderful experience getting to know the local pilots who stop by and handling the many calls I receive each day.

    A portion of my job is to license aircraft, aerial applicators, and aircraft dealers. I have the pleasure of working with aircraft owners of all levels, from the first ever recent purchase to those with numerous aircraft who have been flying for decades. For those who have not researched North Dakota aircraft excise tax and registration just for fun, this article is for you. The NDAC understands how exciting it is to purchase or acquire an aircraft. We are here to help with the process of making sure your aircraft is compliant with North Dakota Century Code (NDCC) 57-40.5, which states that the State of North Dakota imposes an excise tax on all aircraft purchases. So, what does that mean? 

    There is a 5% excise tax on the purchase price of any aircraft purchased or acquired, either in or outside the state of North Dakota, if the aircraft is required to be registered under the laws of this state. Aircraft used exclusively for aerial application purposes have an excise tax imposed at a rate of 3%. If an aircraft is parked, hangared, or has landed in North Dakota for 30 or more unique days within a calendar year, it is required to be registered and an excise tax is due, unless it has been previously paid in another state.

    Our office receives notices from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that include information such as flight activity, aircraft considered to be based at a North Dakota airport, and changes made to the ownership of any aircraft in our state. This alone can trigger a notice from our office alerting you of a tax owed. If you are registering your aircraft with the FAA when you transfer the legal ownership of your aircraft, then the excise tax is due within 30 days. Aircraft owners should be proactive with registering their new purchases with us.

    Is it possible to avoid paying this tax!? 

    It’s no surprise that there are a few aircraft owners in every state that would want to attempt to avoid paying sales tax, since aircraft are typically high-ticket items. Purchasers often buy their aircraft from an out-of-state seller, in which sales tax is not collected, and some do not realize that the corresponding excise tax is triggered when the aircraft is subsequently brought into North Dakota. Those using a Montana address are not automatically free from paying the tax, if their aircraft are parked, hangared, and/or landed in North Dakota for more than 30 unique days in a calendar year. However, exemptions do exist! Credit for excise tax paid in other states will be honored; we just need proof. If the state you paid tax in collected less than 5%, you may need to pay that difference, but we are not looking to collect more than 5%. Each state’s regulations and registration requirements differ. Make sure you research the regulations of the state you want to frequent your aircraft, as it may need to be registered in multiple states. Other excise tax exemptions, like aircraft for use as an air ambulance, can be found by reading section 57-40.5-03 of the NDCC.

    The tax is also a one-time fee and we have reciprocity with other states. Keep your tax payment record, as it could save you from paying excise tax to another state if the aircraft is ever relocated. Also, if you utilize an aircraft dealer and perform a trade-in on a new aircraft, then you would also be eligible to receive credit on the tax that has already been paid. Credit is only granted on trade-ins and is not eligible if two separate private aircraft transactions occur.

    We understand that no one enjoys paying taxes; however, it is important to understand where your money is going. The taxes and annual registration fees collected by our agency go directly into a special fund, which enables the state to provide airport infrastructure grant funding to ensure the safe operation of North Dakota’s public-use airports. The fees support the maintenance and preservation of the very airports that you are able to enjoy and utilize, once you purchase your aircraft.

    Be sure to visit the licensing section of for information about making sure your aircraft is properly registered with the State of North Dakota. Please also feel free to reach out to me at any time with questions that you may have. You can reach me at or by calling (701) 328-9650.

    Janell Pederson, Licensing Specialist 

    North Dakota Aeronautics Commission


  • May 25, 2021 10:45 | Anonymous


    When learning how an airplane achieves flight, one of the first things we learn about is the Four Forces of Flight. Lift, weight, thrust and drag are needed to be controlled by the pilot in order to achieve successful flight. The four forces can also be used to describe the path to a successful career in aviation. I will use the example of a career as a pilot, but I believe that these four forces will be applicable to most if not all careers in aviation. 

    Lift = Knowledge and Experience

    Much like an aircraft needs the combination of Bernoulli’s principle and Newton’s Third Law to generate lift, achieving lift in your career can be attributed to a combination of knowledge and experience. I am often asked, “Should I attend college if it is not required to become a pilot?” I typically answer that adding knowledge through a collegiate program will almost certainly benefit you long-term. Initially, it may be faster and/or cheaper to obtain the experience needed to be hired as a pilot without attending post-secondary education, but in the long term you will be in a pool of other pilots with similar experience. It is the knowledge obtained through a degree program that may help set you apart from other candidates. Typically, the higher degree obtained the better off you will be. Remember, not all collegiate programs are created equal. While the core knowledge needed to obtain a pilot certificate, or many of the other classes, may be similar, knowledge may also be quality of the training fleet, and standardization, and especially  industry relationships. While one school may give a minimum knowledge needed to move on, another may give you access to industry relationships, which will help you succeed faster. I have written previously about the importance of a personal learning network. Remember the WHO you know may be just as important as the WHAT you know. 

    Experience may be more like Newton’s Third Law: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Employers will have requirements, such as a minimum number of hours, or other experience requirements. Again, the more experience you have, the better! Add your knowledge and experience and you are sure to obtain more lift! 

    Thrust = Motivation

    Motivation is like the thrust on the aircraft. Remember, it is excess thrust that causes lift. While some aircraft have bigger engines and some smaller, only you can determine the size of your engine. The more motivation or thrust you have, the easier it is to generate lift. Students who show motivation will have a much easier time building relationships, studying for tests, and getting to the airport to fly. This motivation will shine and before you know it, you will develop more personal relationships and your career path will become easier. Students who are motivated tend not only to score better on knowledge exams, but also find themselves with many more opportunities. Scholarships, internships, and other experiences tend to find their way to motivated individuals. Remember, only you can determine how big your engine is! Just as engines require fuel, oil, and maintenance, it helps to surround yourself with people who will motivate you. Joining aviation organizations such as the North Dakota Aviation Association (NDAA), Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA0, Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), Civil Air Patrol (CAP), American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE), and others will help keep you fueled. 

    Drag = Personal/Medical 

    Drag: nobody likes to talk about it, but it is there. Something is holding you back. Just as in an aircraft, there are two forms of drag: parasitic, the drag caused by going faster, and induced drag, the bi-product of lift. Personal factors, such as past medical history, or not being in a community close to an airport are the personal “aerodynamics” that we must live with. As you gain momentum in your career path, it may seem more and more difficult to go faster.  Remember, motivation is the thrust that is needed to overcome drag. Much like parasite drag is caused by the shape of the aircraft, each of us has different levels of being “aerodynamic”.

    Induced drag is an inevitable consequence of lift. As your motivation increases, you may become physically and mentally worn out. You may struggle to find more fuel or money to keep flying, amongst other factors. Remember to stay ahead of the power curve. Try to plan ahead so these factors are not holding you back right after you begin your takeoff roll. 

    In most cases, personal factors can be overcome. I would like to remind students that even if there is so much personal drag that motivation cannot overcome it, such as a medically disqualifying factor, there is still a career for you in the industry. I encourage you to talk to an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) before deciding you are unable to fly. They may be able to help you overcome the issue. In most cases, putting in some additional effort may help you overcome the drag that you naturally have. In any case, don’t give up. Many other careers in aviation exist other than being a pilot. Consider Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), Air Traffic Control (ATC), maintenance technician, airport management, or the many other paths to a career in aviation. 

    Weight = Luck

    While the weight of an aircraft is relatively fixed, you may find yourself with a different amount of luck than one of your peers. While some students have a natural advantage, we all come with different levels of baggage. Luck is the only one of the four forces of flight which you have little influence over. A great quote that holds true in many cases is “The harder I work, the luckier I get”. While you may have the least control over the weight of the aircraft or how lucky you are, you do have some control on how much baggage you bring on the journey or where you place it in the aircraft. My tip for you: remember, lift opposes weight and excess thrust creates lift. Remember that with a little bigger engine, or with a little more motivation, your career in aviation can and will take flight.

    Flight Planning

    In addition to getting the hypothetical aircraft in the air, flight planning is a critical step in your career. While some students choose to take a jet on a direct course to their destination, this takes quite a bit of lift to get to the higher altitudes and a lot of additional thrust to get the aircraft moving. Some students will take a J-3 Cub approach: it may take a little longer to get there, but in the end, the destination is the same and it will take a lot less lift and thrust. There is no wrong path. For some students, the best answer is low and slow and many refueling stops along the way, for others, a direct path with a high-altitude view. Whatever your course, whatever aircraft you choose to fly, and wherever your destination, I hope that the advice mentioned above will help you get there. As always, please feel free to contact me to assist in your career flight planning.

    Mike McHugh, Aviation Education Coordinator 

    North Dakota Aeronautics Commission

    701-328-9650 |

  • May 25, 2021 10:35 | Anonymous

    By Ryan Riesinger, Executive Director, Grand Forks Regional Airport Authority President, Airport Association of North Dakota

    What do you want to be when you grow up? When there are so many possibilities, how are you supposed to know and find your way?

    For me, it is fair to say I may not be where I am today if it was not for my dad. While it is not uncommon for parents to have a great influence on who their children will become, my dad opened my eyes to the excitement that is aviation. I grew up in the Twin Cities area and frequently on summer evenings we would end up at the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Airport (MSP) to watch the planes takeoff and land from our parking spot on Post Road. My dad taught me how to tell the planes apart not just by their size, but by the location of the engines or the design of the tail. I found it amazing that something so large could even get off the ground. 

    When it came time to attend college fairs and choose where to go, my dad was influential. I attended one college fair and my dad said, “That’s where you should go.” Ultimately, I only toured that one university. In the fall of 1991, I packed up and moved to Grand Forks to pursue a degree in Airport Management at the University of North Dakota (UND).

    I thoroughly enjoyed my years at UND. Each year seemed to become more interesting, as I advanced in the curriculum. I will never forget my first solo flight at GFK and when I received my private pilot license in the spring of 1993; I had a true sense of accomplishment. My professors stressed applying for internships, and through that I ultimately worked at three different airports before my graduation in the spring of 1996.

    Twenty years later, I found myself driving back to Grand Forks to become the Executive Director at the Grand Forks Airport (GFK). When I graduated from UND, my goal was to become a Director of an airport someday, somewhere. However, I did not know when or where that would be. What I know now is that for those 20 years, working in progressively more responsible positions at airports in Worthington, MN (OTG), Madison, WI (MSN), and Saginaw, MI (MBS), I met many great people who shared the same passion for aviation. They helped immensely in the pursuit of my goal.

    Aviation is filled with wonderful people, who are deeply passionate and giving of their time. If you are a student with an interest in aviation, I encourage you to take that aviation class in high school, attend an airshow, go to your local airport, and talk with the pilots or aircraft owners, or simply watch the planes takeoff and land with someone who shares your excitement. I am confident you will find your passion in this great industry.

    Last month, I was elected to be the new President of the Airport Association of North Dakota (AAND). I am honored to be in this role and will do my best to represent our state’s airports. If you have any ideas or suggestions of how to make AAND or our airports better, please do not hesitate to contact me. 

  • May 25, 2021 10:28 | Anonymous


    By Connor Murphy

    ‘And given that the U.S. is home to the world’s busiest airports, we might have been No. 1 in the world,’ UND’s chief flight instructor says.

    UND’s full schedule of student flight training in early March helped Grand Forks International Airport lead the nation in tower operations. Historically, GFK is among the top 25 airports in the nation each year for take-offs and landings. UND archival image.

    Watch out, LaGuardia, and move over, O’Hare:

    According to official Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) numbers, Grand Forks International Airport (GFK) was the busiest airport in the nation for a streak of days in early March.

    Specifically, GFK’s combination of passenger flights and UND flight training traffic topped all airports in the United States on March 1-3 as well as on March 8.

    The feat was noticed by GFK’s air traffic controllers, as all airports are required to report traffic data to the FAA. Air traffic numbers take weeks to become official, and today, the FAA confirmed the early March reports.

    In such a case, Grand Forks didn’t trounce the likes of Atlanta and Chicago by numbers of passengers flown, but by the amount of instructions to take off or land – referred to as operations – issued by its control tower.

    During the multi-day streak, GFK’s tower relayed as many as 2,000 instructions to pilots taking off and landing in a given day.

    Historically, UND’s full schedule of student flights put GFK in the top 25 busiest airports nearly every year.

    And while the coronavirus pandemic shuttered UND Flight Operations for a time in 2020, the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences has since regained its momentum – topping the national operations charts a year later.

    “With the reduced amount of airline traffic, general aviation airports have been moving up the busy list,” said Jeremy Roesler, UND’s chief flight instructor, referring to the University’s year-round operation at GFK. “We have appeared in the top 10 in the past, but it’s unusual to see this type of thing happen for consecutive days.

    “And given that the United States is home to the world’s busiest airports, we might have been No. 1 in the world earlier this month.”

  • May 25, 2021 10:20 | Anonymous

    Director’s Chair

    As summer approaches, it’s exciting to see our airports showing increases in passengers and activity levels, as we begin to experience some of the best travel months since the start of the pandemic. Optimism is returning to the air as airlines are beginning to add back flights to certain communities while also making announcements of their plans to resume hiring. This is great news for our younger aviators who dream about a future career within the aviation industry.

    At the state level, we have also recently seen the results of a successful legislative session as multiple bills that positively support our airports have passed. The Airport Association of North Dakota (AAND) will provide a legislative update in the summer issue and I congratulate them and all of our aviation leaders that have taken the time out of their busy schedule to help reach out to legislators on important issues.

    I also want to thank the North Dakota Aviation Association (NDAA) Board and the Fly-ND Site Committee members for their hard work to ensure that our aviation community still had access to the annual Fly-ND Conference. I know it was not an easy decision to switch to a virtual format, but they rose to the challenge to ensure that an option to network and receive industry related updates was available. We all hope that next year will allow for an in-person event to take place.   

    At the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission, our goal for the upcoming biennium is to continue to support our airports and the aviation industry’s ongoing recovery. This summer, we also expect to see additional progress being made on Vantis, our statewide unmanned aircraft systems Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) network. Vantis is expected to begin to allow commercial UAS operations in the western part of the state. We will also be continuing our work to promote aviation education and career initiatives throughout the state, in cooperation with the NDAA and our aviation museums. 

    Large runway projects are underway in Watford City and Dickinson. At completion, they will conclude an aggressive plan that began 10 years ago to modernize and update our airport infrastructure in western North Dakota. Many other great airport projects throughout the state will also be ongoing this construction season and we always recommend that you check NOTAMS prior to making flight plans. 

    This summer, we are also planning to update our pavement condition index study, a statewide project that occurs every three years. We work with an experienced pavement consultant firm to inspect and take inventory of the approximately 60 million square feet of pavement that exists at our airports throughout the state.  The data will show the condition of each pavement section, along with deterioration details, projected future conditions, and a recommended funding plan to ensure that the pavements are maintained in the most cost beneficial way possible. These studies have provided our state with a revolutionary way to manage its airport pavements and greatly helps us to develop a strong system plan for the future. 

    Great things are happening all around us in aviation and I hope that you are able to feel that optimism as you take flight and breath in some of our fresh North Dakota air. As always, I encourage you to fulfill your passion of aviation by finding ways to make some incredible aviation related memories and adventures this summer. 

    Wishing you smooth flying, 

    Kyle Wanner, Director

    North Dakota Aeronautics Commission

    701-328-9650 |

  • May 19, 2021 10:59 | Anonymous

    Chairman’s Comments

    Summer is almost here and we have a lot to look forward to! Before you take in all that we have packed into this edition of the Fly-ND Quarterly, let’s take a minute to ponder a few iconic moments, both recent and some time ago, that will forever be linked in aerospace history. 

    On December 17, 1903, in Kitty Hawk, NC, the Wright brothers logged the first powered, controlled flight.Now, fast forward to February 19, 2021. This is the day that NASA’s rover called Perseverance landed at the Jezero Crater of Mars, carrying a helicopter called Ingenuity. 

    Two months later, on April 19, 2021, Ingenuity took to the skies of Mars, as did the Wright Flyer. Carrying a tiny piece of fabric from the original Wright Flyer aircraft, Ingenuity successfully completed the first powered, controlled flight by an aircraft on another planet. The flight lasted 39.1 seconds and consisted of a vertical takeoff, climbing ten feet above ground, hovering briefly, completing a turn, and then landing. 

    While the Wright brothers’ first flight in Kitty Hawk and Ingenuity’s first flight on Mars may be separated by 117 years and 173 million miles of space, they will always be uniquely connected.

    As an homage to the Wright brothers, the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) designated the airfield on Mars as Wright Brothers Field, with the official International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) designator IGY, call-sign INGENUITY. 

    I hope this incredible achievement prompts you to reach out to the next generation of aviators and connect them with a world full of opportunity. Our Fly-ND Career Expo at the Fargo Air Museum on May 14, 2021, and the Fargo AirSho on July 24-25, 2021, would be great opportunities for students to discover their own inspiration and pathway to a career in aviation. 

    As chairman of the North Dakota Aviation Association (NDAA), it has been an honor to lead the organization for the past few years. 

    Your membership, whether an individual or an allied company looking to better connect and serve the aerospace industry in North Dakota, helps us to achieve our mission to promote and grow aviation throughout the state. 

     If you or your company are not a member, consider joining our mission.

    Blue Skies!  Darren

    P.S. Thank you to Elayna Hall at EAA HQ for sharing the Wright Brothers/Ingenuity connection.

    To learn more about Ingenuity, visit:

    Darren Hall, Chairman

    North Dakota Aviation Associaton

  • May 19, 2021 10:42 | Anonymous

    Commercial Service Airport of the Year

    Fargo’s Hector International Airport has received the “2020 Commercial Service Airport of the Year” award. The award is for excellence in maintaining safety, project management, and community outreach and is sponsored by the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission in partnership with the Airport Association of North Dakota.

    Hector International Airport worked hard to ramp up cleaning efforts to protect passengers and employees, and invested in a robot vacuum unit to allow airport staff to focus on sanitizing vital areas throughout the facility.

    Hector International Airport boasts a busy and rapidly growing air cargo facility. In 2020 a record was set, with more than 420 million pounds of cargo flown through the airport and a growth of 7.5% over the previous year. 

    Hector International Airport joined with The Arts Partnership to showcase the work of local artists with its ArtWORKS exhibit. As part of the program, a variety of local musicians regaled airport visitors with 18 live musical performances during the 2020 holiday season. 

    The Hector International Airport is congratulated for a tremendous year of accomplishments.

    General Aviation Airport of the Year

    The JB Lindquist Regional Airport has received the North Dakota “2020 General Aviation Airport of the Year” award. 

    The airport showed a strong belief in aviation advocacy and community outreach by hosting a career day, where high school shop class students were educated on career opportunities in aviation and learned how aircraft systems are different compared to vehicles. The airport also worked with Dakota Butte Museum and presented on the history of Hettinger Municipal Airport, starting around the 1930s. 

    The JB Lindquist Regional Airport showed community support by being one of the only airports to host a fly-in breakfast in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event raised about $1,500 to help support the local fire department. 

    The airport showed great progress in 2020 by constructing several projects. They poured concrete pads by the General Aviation (GA) terminal and self-serve fuel tanks, installed digital keypad locks on the majority of the hangars for added security, replaced airport windsocks, extended the crosswind overrun by 300 feet, and finished rehabilitation of both partial parallel taxiways, as well as constructed a full parallel taxiway.

    To top off all the airport’s accomplishments in 2020, the airport decided to rename the airport from Hettinger Municipal Airport to JB Lindquist Regional Airport, in honor of the long-time aviator and airport manager, JB Lindquist.  

    The JB Lindquist Regional Airport is congratulated for a tremendous year of accomplishments.

    Passport Awards

    Eight pilots were presented with gold awards for participating in the “Fly North Dakota Airports” Passport Program. The passport program presents awards to pilots for flying to airports in the state, as well as attending FAA Safety Seminars and visiting the two North Dakota Air Museums. 

    The most prestigious gold award level was achieved by eight pilots during 2020. These pilots received a leather flight jacket embroidered with the North Dakota Flying Legacy logo, in addition to the bronze and silver awards. This prestigious accomplishment is achieved when visiting all 89 public use airports in North Dakota, visiting both air museums, and attending at least three FAA Safety seminars. These pilots join the 71 others who have completed the passport program in previous years, making a total of 78 total pilots who have achieved the gold award level to date.

    The following is a list of the individuals:

    Deen R. Brecht

    Michael Moe

    Jean Moe

    David Operchal

    Pat Fagan

    Scott Williamson

    Dale M Ripplinger

    Jayme Opp

  • May 19, 2021 10:38 | Anonymous

    By Joshua Simmers

    The organization formerly known as the North Dakota Pilots Association (NDPA) would be pleased, rather, would be elated, with the merger into the North Dakota Aviation Association (NDAA). Our top priority was to ensure that all remaining NDPA funds find their way into scholarships. Not only has the NDAA made it possible to reach a permanent endowment scholarship for pilots, it has made it better than what the NDPA could have ever done on its own. With your help, we can ensure a pilot scholarship is awarded annually for at least one thousand dollars! 

    The NDAA has generously donated to get us close to the endowment threshold. But we are left with some work to do. In order to get to an endowment scholarship that can be awarded in three years, we need to raise another $4,000. In order to get to a scholarship that can be immediately awarded, we need to raise $9,000. This is when we get blunt about the numbers.

    I am an average guy, and I have pledged $1,000 to get the Pilot Legacy Scholarship program up and running. Another average Mike, who also has kids and all the associated bills, also pledged $1,000. Folks like us are simply grateful for aviation in our lives and realize the two greatest things we can do to bring others into the flock are take newbies for airplane rides and help them get their license. Scholarships help. If former NDPA members all pitched in a few dollars, we would quickly meet our goal within a time fit for the Reno Air Races. With a matching pledge of $1,000, we can generously start paying it forward. We ask you to consider a donation, large or small, recurring or one time, to keep the aviation scholarship fund active. Think of how your pledge will become a legacy to inspire a new generation of aviators!

    Becoming part of the NDAA has multiplied our efforts and capacity beyond what the board anticipated. Becoming a member is a great way to stay in touch with aviation in the state and perpetuate opportunities for future enthusiasts and professionals. NDPA scholarship funds are already far more and longer-lasting than they were a short while ago. With your help, it can be a permanent legacy. As you look to the skies and dream, remember it is as simple as “help others achieve their dreams and you will achieve yours.” (Les Brown)

    Other ways to give to the Pilot Legacy Scholarship can be found at Contact Joshua Simmers: 701-955-4553 or or Stacy Krumwiede at

    If you would like to make a tax deductible donation, we can make that happen. We are even open to stock, bond, and property donations. Donations to the Pilot Legacy Scholarship qualify for North Dakota’s Planned Gift Tax Credit (a donation of $5,000 actually only costs $3,000 as $2,000 becomes credited to your state taxes and potentially applied to subsequent years’ taxes). For property and investment type options, we will help you coordinate with Amy at the North Dakota Community Foundation (

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North Dakota Aviation Association

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Bismarck, ND 58502

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