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  • May 19, 2022 13:09 | Anonymous

    UND’s first dual-credit course provides high school students with bird’s-eye view of aviation careers.

    Students at Red River High School are able to try out flight simulators and learn the basics of aviation by enrolling in Aviation I, an elective long taught by UND Associate Professor Leslie Martin. This semester, UND provided students the opportunity to take the career and technical education course for dual credit – a first for the University. Photo courtesy of Leslie Martin.

    Believe it or not, UND isn’t the only place in Grand Forks where you can find an “Introduction to Aviation” course.

    Just visit Red River High School, where one classroom stands out with its selection of desk-mounted aircraft steering columns and throttle controls.

    Since 2014, Associate Professor Leslie Martin has taught aviation year-round at the high school level, in addition to fulfilling her duties as an aviation department faculty member at the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences.

    Until recently, Martin’s work between UND and Red River High School was connected in concept only. But this semester, the general aviation course she delivers as a career and technical education elective has developed into UND’s first dual-credit course offering – ever.

    According to Janelle Kilgore, vice provost for strategic enrollment management, UND’s foray into offering college-level academic credit to high school students came about with recent approval at the state level to do so.

    Such approval was granted with the understanding that the University wouldn’t offer courses already available from other institutions, such as Lake Region State College in Devils Lake, that have historically offered a variety of dual-credit courses.

    “Aerospace is very specialized to UND, so we’re thrilled to offer this dual-credit course,” Kilgore said.

    She further indicated that other courses are in the works, including one in American Indian Studies. UND is the only university in the state to offer that specific major.

    “With Professor Martin already teaching the high school aviation course, it was a relatively easy lift to get that started,” Kilgore added. “We’re working on the logistics to make sure that students coming to UND for dual-credit have a great experience.”

    Exploring more pathways for students

    At Red River High School, the reason to start offering an aviation class was to expand the career and technical education opportunities available for students – to help them explore and start developing career pathways available in the region and nationwide, said Eric Ripley, executive director for career and technical education at Grand Forks Public Schools.

    At the time of creating the course, Bismarck was home to the only other high school delivering an aviation elective in the state, Ripley said.

    “We certainly felt that with UND, Grand Forks Air Force Base and even partners on the Minnesota side at Northland Community & Technical College, the presence of aviation would make a lot of sense for Grand Forks, too,” he said.

    Surveys showed high student interest for the topic, and soon the search was on for a teacher.

    Martin had been teaching professional development classes through UND, showing math and science teachers how to incorporate aviation topics into their classes – not far off from what she’ll be doing this summer on behalf of an FAA workforce development grant.

    Ripley sat through one of the classes, spoke with Martin about the idea for the elective, and Martin later applied to teach the high school-level course.

    “I got the position a couple of weeks before class started,” Martin recalled. “It was a bit of a scramble to make sure I had the appropriate teaching license.”

    Intro to the industry

    On a field trip to UND, Martin’s students took a spin on the air traffic control simulators. Each year, Martin works to develop field trips and tours that show students what they can do in aviation. Image courtesy of Leslie Martin.

    Through the years, Martin has leveraged her connections at UND and in the regional aerospace industry to deliver a well-rounded perspective about aviation as a study, practice and industry. In addition to getting simulator stations set up in her classroom, including a cockpit simulator donated by UND, Martin has also made a point to take her students on field trips each year (pandemic notwithstanding).

    “It’s a class available to sophomores, juniors and seniors, and my goal is to teach them about all aspects of aviation,” she said. “A lot of them come in thinking, ‘I want to be a pilot,’ which is great, and I do talk a lot about flight training. We practice maneuvers on simulators and talk about principles of flight. But I really just want them to have a fun class where they’re learning about the whole industry.”

    On one recent excursion, Martin took students on a tour of UND’s air traffic control simulators and spent two days learning to use the equipment. Another time, the manager of GFK or Grand Forks International Airport spoke to the class about his job and what’s involved in running an airport.

    Another big field trip that Martin likes to do near the end of the school year involves touring not only the Grand Forks airport, but also facilities near Hillsboro, N.D., along Interstate 29, as well as at Fargo Jet Center and Hector International Airport.

    Between various guest speakers and real-world experiences, on top of the everyday curriculum, students get a 360-degree perspective throughout the year-long course.

    “In the classroom, I’m also throwing in current events, scholarships, how to get a private pilot’s license and how to look into other career possibilities,” Martin said. “It’s not about whether they come to UND, or decide to become a pilot. It’s just an introduction: ‘Here’s what the industry is all about.’”

    At the Hillsboro Municipal Airport, touring students saw the inner workings of aircraft maintenance and other operations at the airstrip situated along Interstate 29. Image courtesy of Leslie Martin.

    New connections

    Red River High School students who wanted to change their “Aviation I” enrollment to dual-credit had the opportunity to do so for the spring semester.

    The change has required some restructuring, but Martin noted that Aviation I’s content was already on-par with what’s covered in UND’s Aviation 105 – the introductory course upon which the high school elective is based.

    “Since this is so new, everyone is still in the same classroom,” Martin said. “They’ll all get the same assignments.”

    Ripley said that the transition to dual credit for the course validates the quality of Grand Forks’ career and technical education opportunities for high school students. Partnering with a four-year institution for dual credit is a win-win when it comes to helping students see connections between high school and whatever is next for them, he added, whether that’s a degree from UND or another path to post-secondary success.

    “Ultimately, I’m a huge believer in these types of agreements,” said Ripley of the new partnership with UND. “I’m appreciative for Professor Martin for delivering the course and for Associate Dean Elizabeth Bjerke, who has been a champion of this effort and has worked at the higher levels to push this through.”

    Ready for the right space

    And as the aviation course further develops, another burgeoning aspect of career and technical education in Grand Forks will change how it and other courses are delivered.

    In recent weeks, the Career Impact Academy – a new physical location meant to deliver education experiences to the Grand Forks region – crossed an important milestone, receiving a $10 million match from the North Dakota Department of Career and Technical Education following a months-long fundraising effort.

    According to the Grand Forks Herald, a collaborative partnership between area education, industry and business interests committed nearly $11 million in financial and in-kind contributions, resulting in the maximum state match. Since the formation of the Academy’s working group and leadership committees, UND has taken an active role in advancing the project and mapping its eventual programming.

    Once the project is completed, the Career Impact Academy will likely be the home for the aviation course currently hosted by Red River High School, Ripley said.

    “The current classroom is a former business education room, so it wasn’t really designed with aviation in mind,” he said. “We’re doing the best we can with the space, but our future ability to build the right space with the right design will help raise the profile of the course.

    “And with the location just down the street from UND, it’s going to be a better space for serving out-of-town students and grow participation. Bringing over a somewhat established program to the Academy, with dual credit on the table, that’s huge.”

    Ripley indicated that all parties are on the same page when it comes to UND offering dual credit courses where it best makes sense – allowing for regional technical colleges to continue their longstanding offerings for high school students.

    “This example of aviation showcases that partnering with four-year research institutions can be done where it makes sense and fits,” Ripley remarked. “For example, offering an automotive dual-credit course wouldn’t make as much sense for UND as it does for Lake Region.

    “We want to be strategic in making connections with UND that help our students make educated decisions on their next step after high school.”

  • May 19, 2022 13:07 | Anonymous

    By Ron Lundquist 

    Let me ask you a little-off-the wall question: have you ever been really lucky in aviation? I mean really lucky? I’ll share a story to illustrate what I mean.

    Around 1995, I was working as a crop duster. A farmer had dropped off a map of a field with assurance that all obstacles had been accounted for. I loaded up later that morning and headed to the field. I dropped down on the field and was about halfway across, when I got a feeling that something was wrong. The plane was running fine, the air was smooth, but something didn’t seem right. I pulled on the spray handle, shutting off the chemical and tugged back on the stick just in time to see a power line pass below the airplane. Had I continued on with my spray run, I would have certainly hit the wires. Would it have brought the airplane down? I’m not sure, but it sure might have ruined my day!

    We can go back through the history of aviation and find these events. Some people that experience them are regular people like you and me, while others are quite well known. Some seem kind of eerie; others sound like luck.

    Lindsay Wagner, who was the leading lady in the television show The Bionic Woman, suddenly started to feel ill before her flight on American Airlines 191 on May 25, 1979. She decided not to take her flight that day and went home feeling better as she exited the airport. It tragically crashed after takeoff from Chicago, IL, killing everyone aboard.

    Denny Fitch was jumpseating on United Airlines 232 which crashed in Sioux City, IA, on July 19, 1989. He came forward and ran the throttles, helping Al Haynes and his crew get the DC-10 to Sioux City. Capt. Haynes said without Fitch, the outcome would have certainly been different. In Denver, prior to the flight, Fitch had passed up an earlier United flight and was leaving from a gate that was a shorter walk than the accident flight. When asked why, he had no idea.

    Another personal story: and this is about being unlucky! A fellow pilot and I reached our overnight destination years ago and when we picked up our room keys, I got 401 and he got 402. He calmly turned to me and said, “Would you mind trading with me?” I was a little puzzled and responded, “Sure, but why?” He said years ago, he was piloting a Cessna 402 and an electrical fire had started onboard the aircraft. He landed as fast as he could, and exited the airplane to watch it pretty much burn to the ground. Years later, while in the Navy, he had to eject from an aircraft while approaching an aircraft carrier to land. I don’t remember the details but I remember the aircraft number: 402! And lastly, as he sat with his dad who was dying of cancer, he glanced at the clock as his father drew his last breath. The time? You guessed it, exactly 4:02. We switched rooms, as he didn’t want to push his luck!

    9/11 was a day filled with lucky outcomes. Michael Jackson was supposed to have a meeting at the top of the Twin Towers on the morning of September 11th. He missed it, because he had stayed up until 3:00 a.m. talking to his mom and then overslept. 

    Actor Mark Wahlberg was supposed to be on American Airlines Flight 11, going to his home in Los Angeles. He and some friends chartered a private plane at the last minute and flew to a film festival in Toronto.

    Actor Seth MacFarlane, who also created the Family Guy cartoon, arrived for American Airlines Flight 11 late, after his agent told him the wrong departure time.

    Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, had an interview run long on a morning television show that morning, which ended up saving her life. Otherwise, she would have been on the 101st floor of the North Tower working at her charity.

    Then we have E Jack Ridout; he got lucky three times. Jack was involved in a car accident in the early 1970’s. He survived and was declared physically unfit to serve in the Vietnam War. He also survived the deadliest aviation accident in history, when two 747s (KLM 4805 and Pan Am 1736) ran into each other in fog on the Spanish island of Tenerife. There were 583 deaths and 61 survivors, Ridout being one of them. Lastly, he was supposed to be on Pacific Southwest Airlines Flight 182, which collided with a Cessna over the skies of San Diego. It crashed, killing all aboard. Ridout had been staying in Los Angeles during a heat wave with a friend who didn’t have air conditioning. Not being able to stand another night sleeping in the heat, Ridout caught a flight home to San Diego a day early, missing the accident flight.

    So are all these instances luck? A premonition perhaps? Or something else? I know I’ve experienced them multiple times and I bet you have too. Let’s be careful out there and here’s to having luck on our side!

  • May 19, 2022 13:03 | Anonymous

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

    The 2022 FLY-ND Conference was held March 6-8, 2022, at the Fargo Delta Marriott hotel. It was awesome to be back in person and the event was a great success. I would like to provide a recap of the conference news and actions relative to the Airport Association of North Dakota (AAND).

    Every year at our annual AAND Business Meeting, we elect Officers (President, Vice-President, and Secretary/Treasurer) and five District Directors who, along with the Past President, serve as the Board of AAND. This year, we made a conscious effort to bring balance to the Board with more representation from our General Aviation (GA) airports. I am happy to report we have two new members on our Board and both of them are from GA airports – we welcome Mike Nehring of Mohall and Andy Tibert of Grafton. Our new Board members are as follows:

    Ryan Riesinger, President, Grand Forks (I)

    Anthony Dudas, Vice-President, Williston (I)

    Jordan Dahl, Secretary/Treasurer, Fargo (I)

    Matthew Remynse, Past President, Bismarck (I)

    Mike Nehring, District 1, Mohall

    Maria Romanick, District 2, Minot (I)

    Andy Tibert, District 3, Grafton

    Ron Lundquist, District 4, Kindred (I)

    Kelly Braun, District 5, Dickinson (I)

    It was also discussed how important it is for airports of all sizes to join AAND, engage, attend the conference and activities, participate in legislative action items, and be a part of the discussion. We had separate Roundtable discussion meetings for Commercial Service and GA airports – this worked well and will be continued at future conferences, to foster conversation and sharing of best practices. Together, we have had many successes legislatively and in advancing important projects and promoting aviation. If you have not already paid your 2022 AAND dues, invoices will be going out soon. Please consider joining, so we can make the Association even stronger.

    AAND members voted to continue sponsoring the Gerald K. Olson Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $1,500. This scholarship is awarded to a current University of North Dakota Airport Management student and is a wonderful way to remember Jerry.

    We also awarded $1,000 for an educational Airport Lighting Maintenance Seminar, to be held in Grand Forks in September 2022. We know sending personnel to far-away training seminars can be expensive, so AAND has been supporting in-state training classes, like this one, for several years. I encourage you to have a member who performs maintenance at your airport attend this seminar. 

    Thank you to the 2022 Fly-ND Conference Site Selection Committee, the ND Aviation Association, and all sponsors and attendees who made the Conference a great success! 

    Keep ‘em  flying!

  • May 18, 2022 17:12 | Anonymous

    Several Minot and area pilots were honored on March 6 with 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 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) seminars and visiting the two North Dakota air museums.

    Thomas Sando and Jeff Darling, both of Williston, were among pilots presented with bronze awards for visiting at least 30 airports and attending one safety seminar. These pilots received a polo shirt embroidered with the ND Flying Legacy logo.

    Patrick Haye, Minot, Steven Jensen, Tioga, Ari Johnson, Watford City, and Steve Martens, Stanley, were among pilots to achieve during 2021 the most prestigious gold award level award. They received a leather flight jacket embroidered with the ND 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 ND air museums and attending at least three FFA Safety seminars. These pilots join 78 others who have completed the passport program in previous years, making a total of 91 total pilots who have achieved the gold award level to date.

    Seventeen pilots from across the state were honored at the March 6 event.

    The awards presentation was held at the Fargo Air Museum in Fargo, in conjunction with the N.D. Aviation Association, Fly-ND Conference. Presenting the awards were Kyle Wanner, executive director, and Mike McHugh, Aviation Education coordinator of the ND Aeronautics Commission, and Justin Weninger of the ND Aviation Association.

    The program is sponsored by the ND Department of Commerce’s Tourism Division in partnership with the Aeronautics Commission, the Airport Association of ND and the ND Aviation Association.

    Submitted Photo (L-R) Kyle Wanner, ND Aeronautics Commission; Steve Martens, Stanley; Robert Sprague & Ethan Sprague, both of Courtenay; Bob Simmers, Bismarck; and Justin Weninger, NDAA, are shown at the Fargo Air Museum. Steve Martens, Robert Sprague and Ethan Sprague were among pilots honored for taking part in the “Fly ND Airports” Passport Program.

    Reprinted with permission from The Minot Daily News.

  • May 18, 2022 17:08 | Anonymous

    The North Dakota Aeronautics Commission (NDAC) is nearing the completion of our triennial Pavement Condition Index (PCI) Study update, which is completed in partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). As part of the study, an online Airport Pavement Management System (APMS) is developed to evaluate the current pavement condition and predict future conditions based on the PCI. The APMS is designed to meet FAA requirements of Advisory Circular No: 150/5380-7B – Airport Pavement Management Program (PMP); however, it is customized with unique features by NDAC and developed by a consultant.

    North Dakota comprises 89 public airports, of which 72 are paved and assessed as part of the study. The cumulative area of all airside pavement at these airports is approximately 60 million square feet. The current pavement split by airport classification is about 42% for general aviation and 58% for commercial service airports.

    The APMS uses the PCI information to develop a maintenance program and help identify the most cost-effective method and recommended timing of rehabilitation projects. The program allows the NDAC, FAA, and airport management to plan and budget for the required maintenance needed to extend the service life of existing pavements. The PCI information and maintenance program also provides us with critical information to assist in updating 10-year individual and statewide airport Capital 

    Improvement Plans (CIP).

    In the review process of the PCI data, a few trends were noted. One trend was the percentage of asphalt pavements with raveling. Raveling is the dislodging of coarse aggregate on the surface of asphalt pavement. These pavements may show signs of aging and hardening, known as weathering, and result in loss of fine aggregates. Fine aggregate aid in preventing raveling. Together, these distress types may result in the production of Foreign Object Debris (FOD), increasing the potential for aircraft damage. In our region of the country, pavement goes through harsh cold, which is a significant contributor to aggregate loss. The total pavement area with raveling rose from 44% in 2018 to 55% in 2021. This increase of nearly three million square feet is significant. We continue to work to identify solutions to reduce these impacts and further prevent these distress types from creating systematic issues and maintaining safe pavements.

    Some may think airport work in North Dakota is slowing down, due to a significant effort over the last decade to rebuild and expand infrastructure across North Dakota, largely on the state’s western side. The fact is that work continues, and project needs have not gone away but instead have shifted or changed. In an unlimited funding scenario, the state’s airports would need an estimated $250 million over the next five years to maintain and rebuild all of the pavement projects identified in the PCI study. This does not include other types of projects, such as pavement expansion projects, building projects, or drainage projects. This affirms that the state has an ongoing challenge in prioritizing its projects within the system.

    The included graphic shows the PCI distribution of the 60 million square feet of pavement and the changes in the system that have occurred since the last inspection in 2018. The area-weighted PCI value of the entire airport system is a 77 (on a scale of 0-100), similar to the 2018 and 2015 analyses. Overall, the results show that our state does a great job in maintaining and prioritizing pavement maintenance and rehabilitation. The NDAC will continue to prioritize and emphasize the importance of good shovel-ready projects.

    We look forward to working with the FAA and our airports to utilize this data fully and will continue to strive to lead the country and set a strong example through our efforts to preserve and update our airport system.

    For more information on the PCI study and to use the interactive database, please visit the following link: https://aero.nd.gov/studies/pavement-condition-index/.

    Nels Lund, Airport Planner

    North Dakota Aeronautics Commission 

    701-328-9650 | nlund@nd.gov

  • May 18, 2022 17:01 | Anonymous

    By The Staiger Consulting Group

    This time of year always brings renewed optimism and excitement for me. The windows are open, the kids are outside until the last possible moment before bedtime, and I’m cleaning and organizing like crazy. With each new season, I always appreciate and reflect on how far I’ve come and how things transition with the changing of the seasons. 

    We have now had a successful in-person Fly-ND Conference behind us, and meetings and events are returning to normal. I am reflecting on how wonderful it is to be together in person at a conference, at a family gathering, or a sporting event. This year’s Fly-ND Conference was held in Fargo, ND, at the Delta Hotel, and I was so excited to be together and interact with so many aviation people throughout the state. The sessions, exhibitors, and events were stellar. The site-committee and board of directors did a great job organizing and planning everything. 

    One thing I did notice was the in-depth conversations I heard about or was privileged to participate. So many people were engaged and connecting at a deeper level with others in attendance. I’m not sure if you are noticing this too, but I’m seeing it in other places as well. Maybe in our post-pandemic world, we can more easily value the importance of these relationships, seize on, and appreciate the opportunities to be together in the same space. The Fly-ND Conference allowed us to do that and I can’t wait to see what our upcoming events hold too. 

    The NDAA site committee is planning the August 19, 2022, Fly-ND Summerfest event, which will be held in conjunction with the airshow in Williston on August 20. The event will be the perfect occasion for fun, networking, and even more interactions with friends and colleagues. Details will be released soon, so mark your calendars and plan to attend. Heck, plan to stay for the weekend! 

    We are also preparing for the next Career Expo on October 6, 2022, in Fargo, ND. This is a great opportunity to connect students and prospective employers in any sector of the aviation industry. If you haven’t had a chance to participate in past Career Expos, I encourage you to start now! There are many ways to participate. Sign up for a free booth and showcase your part of the industry, maybe volunteer to help organize or sponsor the event, or you can contribute to the scholarship program. We offer several scholarships that still need sponsors. Check out our website for more details: www.fly-nd.com

    It’s been fascinating to see how much has changed over the past few years and how we can accomplish things differently now. Our eyes have been opened to new ways of doing things and what is possible. We have been challenged to think outside the box, and it will be interesting to see what sticks and what carries forward into the next season for us, both personally and as an organization.

    Just as I was working on this article, my cell and internet service mysteriously dropped. After my initial discomfort about being disconnected, I thought to myself, what perfect timing. This is the time to be fully present to what’s in front of me and what’s most important – like relationships, reaffirming our commitments, and finding our passions. Surprisingly, my disconnection led to more connections. So, welcome back; I look forward to reconnecting with many of you at one of the awesome upcoming Fly-ND events we are planning. I truly hope to see you there! 

    Stacy & Mike Krumwiede


  • May 18, 2022 16:51 | Anonymous

    Pigeons and Eagles

    August 19 • XWA • Williston, ND

    Save the Date for Summerfest and the Williston Air Show

    Sporting Clay Shoot, Golf Event and Social

    Celebrate summer and aviation through networking and meetings!

    Raise money for scholarships

    August 20 2nd Annual Williston Airshow

    Enjoy local food vendors and family-friendly activities before taking your eyes to the sky with world renowned airshow performers!

    Learn more about the Williston Airshow at flywilliston.net/airshow.php

    Bring your Tent

    Camping on the airport! 

    Fly-in the night before and pilots can camp in a tent under the wing of their airplane.

  • May 18, 2022 16:46 | Anonymous

    During the Fly_ND Conference in March, I had conversations with a few attendees interested in bringing a high school aviation program to their community. How we can make that happen looks different in each community, but there are opportunities. Hopefully, you had a chance to attend the session at the conference on this topic; I will briefly summarize some of the opportunities available. It is important to note that all communities are unique and rarely will the process look the same in two communities. 

    First, no matter how big or small your community is, there are currently opportunities for students in your area to enroll in high school aviation programs. The North Dakota Center for Distance Education offers online aviation courses, which are available to every student in the state. In addition, the Central Regional Area Career and Technical Center (CRACTC) offers distance education. The CRACTC’s program offers more instructor interaction and opportunities for field trips. This program is not asynchronous, so students do need to enroll during an enrollment period. 

    Looking beyond a distance education option, if a school is able to bring enough students together to offer a class, there are opportunities for in-person aviation instruction. Though there are other options, one free curriculum seeing a lot of traction nationally is provided by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA.) This curriculum is designed to be taught by a teacher, who may not have an aviation background, but is excited about aerospace. AOPA has put a lot of time and money into developing this curriculum and I have heard many positive stories about its use. 

    Finally, the other options: likely the best student experience, but most difficult to establish, is a full Career and Technical Education (CTE) program teaching aviation. This requires some dedicated resources, such as qualified staff and classroom space. There are also some other options for instruction, such as integrating the curriculum into other classes. For instance, an agriculture class may want to teach unmanned aircraft as a part of their precision agriculture curriculum, or an engineering class may teach aeronautics or Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) as a part of their curriculum. There are many resources out there for elementary classes as well. EAA recently released the Aeroeducate Program, specifically for K-8 classrooms. 

    Regardless of the best fit for your community, I am encouraging any teacher, counselor, administrator, or school board member to consider attending the professional development opportunities available this summer. These seminars will be offered:

    June 6-7, 2022, in Grand Forks, ND

    June 8-9 in Fargo, ND

    In the weeks following these seminars, there will be a variety of cities throughout the state concentrating on UAS and drone racing. For more information, contact me and I can provide all of the details about the events and how to register. I look forward to having many more aviation opportunities for our students in the coming years.

    Mike McHugh, Aviation Education Coordinator 

    North Dakota Aeronautics Commission

    701-328-9650 | mmchugh@nd.gov

  • 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

  • May 18, 2022 16:02 | Anonymous

    On March 6-8, 2022, the North Dakota Aviation Association (NDAA) held its annual Fly-ND Conference in Fargo, ND. This was the return to the in-person format, after the virtual event held the year prior. It was great to again bring all of us together and enjoy each other’s company and camaraderie. 

    The conference started with a fun Ice Breaker Social at the Fargo Air Museum, which included the induction of this year’s Passport Award Winners. We had a number of great presenters throughout Monday and Tuesday, with many notable sessions. Monday night was the Exhibitor Night, with a number of fun door prizes given out, including a Garmin Watch donated by Garmin. 

    On Tuesday night, we held the Hall of Fame Banquet at the Fargo Air Museum, which was a departure from typically holding it at the conference hall. This was a fun venue to hear and share the stories of the night; the event was emceed by local television personality, Dan Michaels. We congratulated Grand Forks International Airport as the 2022 Commercial Airport of the Year, and Hillsboro Municipal Airport as the 2022 General Aviation Airport of the year. The North Dakota Professional Aviation Maintenance Association (PAMA) handed out a number of scholarships to student winners. Vance Emerson, from the FAA, was in attendance to hand out three diamond maintenance awards, as well as the Charles Taylor Award and the Master Pilot Award, both to Rich Altendorf. 

    The main event of the evening was to welcome Leo Jostad into the North Dakota Aviation Hall of Fame. We were treated to the showing of Leo’s Hall of Fame video, and then an interview of Leo by Dan Michaels. This was truly an inspirational evening watching Leo’s dedication to aviation. Congratulations again to Leo on his selection. 

    It was great to see and talk to all of you again in person, and I cannot wait to see you all in Bismarck next year!

    Justin Weninger, Chairman

    North Dakota Aviation Associaton


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North Dakota Aviation Association

PO Box 627
Bismarck, ND 58502

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