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  • November 10, 2021 12:14 | Anonymous

    You’ve got a chance to win a 2022 Avalon Catalina Quad Lounge Pontoon with a Mercury 115 hp out board engine and a Karavan Tandem Axle Trailer. This beautiful pontoon is built with superior construction and great interior features. Avalon is a worldwide leader in the most innovative, exciting, and upscale pontoon boats that have been tested in some of the roughest waters in the world! They have won multiple awards for manufacturing, innovation, and performance!

    For over 40 years, Avalon has been producing the finest U.S.A. manufactured pontoon boats, and it’s only gotten better from there!

    A few of the features with this luxurious and comfortable pontoon include:

    • Four corners of comfortable seating options
    • Open floor plan and plenty of space with central walking areas in the classic Catalina style
    • Two aft and two forward sunbathing lounges or side-by-side seating with the driver
    • Commander low back reclining drivers chair with self-leveling arms
    • Privacy station curtain
    • Fusion RA-670 Stereo with a USB input and charge

    Proceeds from this contest will provide financial assistance to High School Juniors, Seniors or recent GED recipients who plan to pursue advanced education in the field of aviation. Students planning to attend post-secondary education in the areas of Professional Pilot, Aviation Maintenance, Aviation Engineering, Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Airport/Aviation Management, Atmospheric Sciences, Air Traffic Control, or other aviation related fields. Thank you for your support!



  • November 10, 2021 12:03 | Anonymous

    Watch for more Fly-ND Career Expos coming soon!

  • September 21, 2021 11:26 | Anonymous

    The North Dakota Aviation Association needs your help. We are looking for volunteers to help with the Fly-ND Summerfest in Washburn, ND, this August and at the Fly-ND Career Expo, in Minot, ND, this October. Summerfest, on August 19, includes the NDAA Scholarship Golf Tournament, several self-guided activities for non-golfers, the Hall of Fame presentation, as well as a BBQ Social. The Career Expo, on October 6, has a mission to introduce and inspire high school senior high and college age students to the many careers available throughout the aviation industry. To learn more about these events, please visit: www.FLY-ND.com. 

    We have separated the volunteer responsibilities into groups to make the most of your volunteer time. You can participate in as many as you’d like! Here are ways you can help: 

    Outreach and Exhibitor Committee: This committee will be responsible for reaching out to find exhibitors. We have a great list of people who may want to attend. However, we need help in reaching out to these people to encourage them to participate. 

    On-site Logistics Committee: This committee will be responsible for helping coordinate onsite logistics at the event. Including, but not limited to, exhibitor set up, student attendees, and overall event setup. Most of this committee’s work will be done onsite at the event. 

    Scholarship Committee: This committee will be responsible for soliciting sponsorship dollars from potential donors. In addition, this committee will review scholarship applicants and select scholarship winners. 

    Finally, if you can’t help but would like to donate to the scholarship fund, please visit: 


    The North Dakota Aviation Association (NDAA) has several opportunities for involvement. Volunteers are needed to support the annual Fly-ND Conference, the Career Expo, Membership Committee, or any of our active committees. 

    If you are interested in volunteering, please reach out to Mike or Stacy in the NDAA Central Office at admin@fly-nd.com or call 701-223-3184 to learn more.

  • September 21, 2021 11:22 | Anonymous

    Here in Charlie’s Corner, we share stories from aviation maintenance technicians. All of these stories and situations are completely true. The names in the following story have been changed to protect the identity of the guilty. And as always, do not try this at work and certainly not at home.

    Did you know that three men were involved in the invention and development of the first powered airplane? You likely are familiar with the Wright brothers, but you may not know of Charles E. “Charlie” Taylor. If it hadn’t been for Charlie, the first powered airplane would never have left the ground. Charlie Taylor is credited with designing and building the engine for the first successful aircraft. He proved to history that pilot’s can’t fly without their mechanics. 

     Joe, a commercial airlines mechanic, was in the check hangar doing a crown inspection of a DC-10. For this particular inspection, he was secured in the boatswain’s chair, which was connected to the overhead hoist. The boatswain’s chair was used as a safety precaution, as the crown of the airplane was not only approximately 40-feet in the air but also round and slippery. Joe’s friend on the floor, also an aircraft mechanic, held the controls for the chair. 

    It should be noted that this particular mechanic, Joe, had played many practical jokes on his co-worker friends. He was quite deserving of what happened next.

    While Joe was completing the inspection, lunchtime arrived. His mechanic friend on the floor used the controls to raise the boatswain’s chair to the hangar ceiling, about two stories in height. The friend then left for his half hour lunch break, leaving Joe stranded in the chair. Joe began to yell, and the other mechanics in the hangar noticed his predicament. As he wasn’t in any danger, everyone chuckled and went to lunch. When Joe was finally released from his chair prison, after having a half hour to think, he quickly repented of his many pranks and promised to tone down the severity of his future antics. 

    Story submitted by John, a 30+ years commercial airlines aircraft maintenance technician

    Are you an aviation mechanic with an interesting story to share? Submit your stories to: editor@fly-nd.com

  • September 21, 2021 11:12 | Anonymous

    On June 13, 2021, I had the honor to present a fellow aviator and friend the Federal Aviation Administration’s Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award. The event was sponsored by EAA Chapter 1008 during their Fly-In at the Mandan Regional Airport, Lawler Field. 

    The Wright Brothers Award recognizes pilots who have demonstrated professionalism, skill, and aviation expertise by maintaining safe operations for 50 or more years. 

    James D. McLeish has been developing his skills and safely flying for more than 62 years, which places him well on his way to the 100 year award (If there was one), an award he tells me he will try to shoot for. Go Jim!

    62 years ago, Airman James D. McLeish, sitting in the baggage sling of his father’s friend’s Ercoupe, took to the skies. From that point and all through his high school years, Jim dreamt of becoming a pilot. With the help of a friend, Jim accumulated four hours of time in a Cessna 140 before going off to college, which had a flying club on campus but no aircraft. Jim, along with a few of his club members, organized and managed to purchase a Cessna 140 for $2200. His first solo was on November 22, 1960, out of the Fort Collins Airport in a Cessna 150. The remainder of Jim’s training was in a Cessna 140, up to his Private Pilot check ride, which he took out of the Denver Stapleton Airport on June 7, 1961.

    Jim has flown several various types of aircraft over the years: Cessna, Piper, and Beech single engine and several multi-engine aircraft, including a B55 Beech Baron, a TC-56 Baron, and a B60 Duke. One of his particular favorites was an A33 Beech Debonair. Later on, he flew a N35 Beechcraft Bonanza with the curious but appropriate endorsement of “you are checked out in the Debonair; it’s about the same, just go.” Not something you’d see in a logbook today.

    Joining the United States Air Force Reserve in 1966, Jim earned his Instrument Rating along with Trans World Airlines (TWA) new hires, trained on the airbase where he was stationed.

    From 1968 to 1973, Jim was a company pilot flying the Duke, a Cessna 180, and J35 Bonanza. That pretty much kept him flying every few weeks or so until his final trip with the company in December of 1973.

    Since that time, Jim and his wife, Yvonne, moved back to their farm here in the Dakotas, where they live today.

    Jim’s trip of a lifetime? Jim’s brother and family lived in Costa Rica and had obtained a Duke they needed to bring back to the states. Since Jim had the experience and willingness to get the legally required Costa Rican private pilot license, he then managed to fly the Nicaraguan and Cuban airspace all the way to Florida. The U.S. Government and Nicaraguan Government were not getting along at that time, so he flew off the coast flying parallel to the airway to the Grand Cayman Islands for fuel. The flight over Cuba to Key West and Miami was exciting, trying to make sure he understood the clearances. 

    Jim, along with his neighbor, have restored and flown various other aircraft over the years, such as a  K-35 Bonanza, 1946 Ercoupe, Cessna 150 they converted to a tailwheel aircraft, and a Piper PA12. The day of the award, Jim joined us with his favorite aircraft, the Beech Bonanza seen here in the photo. 

    Jim has served as president of the North Dakota Flying Farmers. He’s been on the North Dakota Aviation Council, and supports aviation organizations such as the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), the Experimental Aviation Association (EAA), and the American Bonanza Society. With more than 4700 hours of total time, Airman James D. McLeish has lived the aviation dream.

    As a National FAA Safety Team ASI, Fellow Airman, Colleague, friend, it is my honor to have presented the FAA Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award to Mr. James D. McLeish. 

    Jay M Flowers/National FAASTeam ASI/AFS-850

  • August 09, 2021 12:20 | Anonymous

    Here’s a list of 10 aviation podcasts to tune into: 

    1. Pilot to Pilot 

    Hosted by Justin Siems, a corporate pilot. 


    2. There I Was… 

    Host AOPA Air Safety Institute. Find it on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

    3. The Fighter Pilot Podcast 

    Hosted by Vincent “Jell-O” Aiello, a retired U.S. Navy fighter pilot. www.fighterpilotpodcast.com

    4. Rotor Radio

    Hosted by Vertical Magazine. Find it on Apple Podcasts.

    5. The Finer Points

    Hosted by Jason Miller, a certified flight instructor. 


    6. Stuck Mic AvCast

    Hosted by Carl Valeri and his team of co hosts. 


    7. AviatorCast

    Hosted by Chris Palmer, a certified flight instructor. 


    8. Airline Pilot Guy Show

    Hosted by Capt Jeff, an airline pilot and graduate of the Accident Investigation and Flight Safety School. www.airlinepilotguy.com or on Apple Podcasts.

    9. Cockpits & Cocktails

    An all-female podcast hosted by Allyssa VanMeter and Natalie Kelley. Find it on Apple Podcasts.

    10. The Green Dot

    Hosted by the EAA. www.inspire.eaa.org/eaas-green-dot-podcast/ or on Apple Podcasts.

  • August 09, 2021 12:15 | Anonymous

    As seen on the cover... 

    Photo by Jerome Behm at his high school graduation mini reunion in June. There were 10 of the original 29 students from the Des Lacs High School Class of 1965. The airplane, Mom’s Worry, is a recently rebuilt 1947 Piper PA-12-160. 

    Jerome Behm, the owner, is pictured third from the right.

  • August 09, 2021 12:07 | Anonymous

    By Nicole Ingalls-Caley

    In early June, the Northern Plains UAS Test Site (NPUASTS) and Emerging Prairie co-hosted an event at Grand Farm to celebrate the state of North Dakota’s continued investment in Vantis, North Dakota’s statewide UAS network. Once complete, this first-of-its-kind initiative will enable UAS flights beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) of the pilot, across the entire state. 

    In the morning, we invited local legislators to a coffee hour to mingle with NPUASTS staff and ask questions about this groundbreaking infrastructure in an informal setting. This was followed by a press conference to formally announce the $20 million in continued funding to build out Vantis across the state, particularly on the eastern side of the state. We provided lunch and then hosted a panel to discuss Vantis, followed by speakers discussing other unmanned innovations being developed right here in North Dakota. The day was capped off with demonstration flights by iSight Drone Services.

    The panel included North Dakota Lieutenant Governor Brent Sanford; Bill Panos, the Director of the North Dakota Department of Transportation; Todd Donovan, the Vice President of Digital Aviation – Air Traffic Management for ThalesUSA; Tommy Kenville, CEO of iSight Drone Services, Jim Cieplak, Vantis Program Manager for NPUASTS; and our fearless leader Nicholas Flom, executive director of NPUASTS. Speakers included Dr. Paulo Flores, Assistant Professor, and John Nowatzki, Agricultural Machine Systems Specialist, both from the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at North Dakota State University (NDSU); David Dvorak, CEO of Field of View; and Tom Nickell, CEO of Mobile Recon Systems. 

    “The event was an unequivocal success,” said Nicholas Flom. “We got great turnout, despite temperatures in the nineties, Lt. Governor Brent Sanford joined us for the press conference and the panel, we fielded great questions from local legislators, we highlighted the work of other UAS innovators in the state, and we got great press coverage. Honestly, we couldn’t have asked for more.” 

    The success of this event – and of unmanned innovations in North Dakota – can be attributed to our location. North Dakota has deep entrepreneurial roots, and is a thriving UAS ecosystem today because local leaders, researchers, and visionaries have worked hard to make it so. This most recent funding is a continuation of these efforts and the belief that North Dakota can be – and is– on the cutting edge of new aviation technologies. 

    We all know that if you value something, and you want it to grow, you invest in it. North Dakota has done that with unmanned innovation: 

    • Northern Plains UAS Test Site, one of only seven FAA UAS test sites in the nation
    • Grand Sky Business and Aviation Park
    • Dozens of small UAS companies right here in North Dakota
    • The first accredited UAS Operations major in the country, through the College of Aerospace at the University of North Dakota (UND)
    • Significant investment in UAS research at UND and the North Dakota State University (NDSU)

    North Dakota has invested in the future of UAS, and Vantis is the fruit of that labor, poised to revolutionize the UAS industry while pulling in economic development opportunities and inspiring even greater innovation from within the state. This event gave us an opportunity to share the ways in which North Dakota has already positioned itself as a UAS ecosystem, and how Vantis will put us on the map as the epicenter of UAS development and innovation in the U.S. 

    Progress on Vantis 

    • Key sites have been built in Williams and McKenzie counties 
    • Testing is underway to ensure safety and reliability 
    • First “official” flight on Vantis anticipated this fall 
    • Next sites are expected to be in the Red River Valley
    • Vantis deployment is based around existing use cases, and will continue to expand based on where users already are

  • August 09, 2021 12:00 | Anonymous

    Hello! My name is Ryan Thayer and I am the Executive Director/CEO of the Fargo Air Museum (FAM). I have been part of aviation since birth, received my solo license at 16, and my private pilot’s license at 18 from the University of North Dakota, as well as an Entrepreneurship Degree. I have always been passionate about aviation and business and am thrilled to be able to pursue both of my passions at the Fargo Air Museum. 

    This summer has been very busy and exciting with plenty of fun aviation activities in North Dakota. This summer, the Fargo Air Museum had the pleasure of attending the Grafton Fly-In. I highly recommend checking it out next summer. Andy and his crew at the airport and the local Experimental Aviation Association (EAA) chapter are very professional and throw a first class event. The day included a car show, aircraft fly-in, EAA Young Eagles Flights, and breakfast! 

    The Fargo Air Museum also hosted its first fly-in this summer. The weather wasn’t completely cooperative at first in the morning, but it ended up being a beautiful day. We had a great turnout of Van’s RV’s and home built aircraft. Some of our local EAA volunteers did Young Eagles flights. Coffee and donuts were served for breakfast and pizza and soda for lunch! Stay tuned, we plan on hosting many more fly-ins in our future.

    My involvement with our EAA Chapter 317 at the Fargo Air Museum has allowed me the opportunity to do over 25 Young Eagles Flights. We have a great group of pilots and volunteers that really make it all possible for the youth in our community. The Fargo Air Museum Young Eagles Day was a huge success, we had over 40 kids attend and five aircraft. There were many excited young faces when they left with a certificate in hand. 

    A very unique experience this summer was a formation flight, from Moorhead Municipal Airport to Hector International Airport, with a Piper Malibu and a TIMM N2T! The TIMM does not have radios, so I was able to fly along for a flight of two over to Hector. The TIMM N2T is currently on display at the Fargo Air Museum. It is the first composite aircraft used by the U.S. Navy and is the only one in the world that is still airworthy and flying! Stop by and check it out, you may never get another chance to see this amazing plane.

    Overall, it has been a full summer of flying and aviation events! Being part of the Hawley Flying Club has allowed me to fly two to five hours each month in the Warrior II! The Fargo Air Museum will be planning to attend more fly-in’s this summer, hosting another Young Eagles Day, and a Warbird fly-in this fall! I am very thankful for all our sponsors, donors, friends, staff, our Board of Directors, and the community.  We could not have a special place like the Fargo Air Museum without your support! So on behalf of myself and staff at the Fargo Air Museum, thank you and include a stop at the Fargo Air Museum this summer. 

  • August 09, 2021 11:51 | Anonymous

    By Scott Nelson

    Rudy Froeschle from Hazen, ND, was a B-17 driver with the United States Eighth Air Force in England during World War II. After flying several missions bombing the Nazis, he and his crew were unfortunately shot down and became a guest of the same ones he was bombing. Froeschle ended up in Stalag Luft III and played a small part in the famous escape that was made into a movie after the war, The Great Escape. Froeschle was not portrayed in the movie but the trombone he had in the prisoner of war camp was. Rudy had requested it through the International YMCA for a band they were putting together. The trombone disappeared and was used as an important component of a still to make liquor. Later on, it became a part of the movie.

    After liberation and the end of the war, Rudy was receiving his military separation papers at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX. The servicemen were in a large hall. In one corner of the hall was a surplus administration desk. Rudy approached the desk and asked what he could get. He was able to get papers to purchase a Fairchild PT-26 for $600, used as a Canadian instrument trainer, a Stinson Reliant for $1200, used to transport generals and other individuals of significance, and a B-17 for $350, which could only be used for monumental or educational purposes.

    When Rudy got back to his home town of Hazen, he met with the school board and told them about the great deal they could get buying the B-17 for educational purposes. Rudy offered to fly it in for them. The school board decided to buy the bomber. It took longer than expected for the paperwork to come together and Rudy was already in Chicago starting medical school, so Lyle Benz of Hazen, who was also a veteran WWII pilot, offered to get the plane.

    Lyle and his brother, John, went to Altus, OK, to gas up and add oil to the B-17 engines that had been “pickled” at the end of the war, when they were placed in storage. Lyle removed the cowling from each of the four engines, and with John’s help pulled the plugs and cleaned them. There was no radio equipment on the plane, so they knew they would have to fly VFR. When they departed Atlus, the weather bureau forecasted clear weather. After flying for a while, they ran into clouds and climbed above them. The weather ahead seemed to be getting worse, with the clouds rising to 20,000 feet. The Benz brothers decided to turn around. The nearest airfield they sighted was at Perry, OK. The brothers landed the B-17 and caught rides back to North Dakota to raise money for more gas and oil, before going back for the Fortress. The number three engine had lost a lot of oil, so they had to fill it back up. After refueling, the brothers took off for Dickinson before delivering it to Hazen.

    When they arrived at Dickinson, the number three engine was smoking badly and the local police came to the airport to make sure they were OK. They knew they would lose oil on the way, so they added more oil before heading to Hazen a few days later.

    It was a calm day when the Benz brothers roared over Hazen and landed in a pasture just south of town. The ground was softer than expected and the plane’s wheels sank in the sod and nosed over, bending the prop tips on the number two engine. The whole town had turned out to see the landing and a bunch of the high school boys were able to pull the bomber’s tail back down.

    The plane sat in that spot for several years as kind of a memorial to WWII. It is not known if it ever was used for educational purposes, but people would crawl through the plane and scavenge parts. In 1951, several men came and started working on the plane. They took the number two prop to Herman Mayer, the town blacksmith, and he did an excellent job pounding the blades back in shape. 

    One winter morning, when the ground was frozen and a 40 mile an hour wind was blowing from the northwest, these same men turned the plane into the wind, and with no one to witness it, flew away from Hazen.

    About five years after the B-17 left Hazen, Rudy Froeschle was practicing medicine in Tioga, ND. One day, he treated a pilot who had been in a plane accident while crop dusting. It turned out to be the man who flew the B-17 from Hazen. Rudy found out the plane had been delivered to a buyer in Florida, who equipped it for aerial photography.

    After several years, it was sold to a Canadian company who used it for aerial photography all over the world. It changed hands several times while in this capacity. In its next life, from 1971 to 1982, the B-17 was outfitted with slurry tanks and served as a fire bomber in South Dakota and New Mexico. The bomber was retired and displayed at the Pima Air Museum in Arizona from 1982 to 1984. In 1984, it was purchased by the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. and stored in an open hangar at the Dulles International Airport.

    In 2011, the plane was donated to the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force in Pooler, GA. Extensive restoration was started and the plane was brought back to its original glory as the famous B-17, “City of Savannah.” It is now the centerpiece of the museum and considered the finest B-17 Fortress static display in the world.

    Sources: Article from the Hazen Star, 13 Nov. 2008 by Chris Gessele. Warbirdregistry.org B-17 44-83814 Book, B17 Flying Fortress Restoration by Jerome McLaughlin. 

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