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  • February 08, 2021 13:27 | Anonymous

    If I think of one word that sums up my outlook for 2021 and applies to me, you, our industry, students, and the mission of the North Dakota Aviation Association (NDAA), that word is opportunity.

    op·​por·​tu·​ni·​ty | \ ä-pər-tü-nə-tē, -tyü- \

    plural opportunities

    Definition of opportunity

    1: a favorable juncture of circumstances

        Ex: The halt provided an opportunity for rest and refreshment

    2: a good chance for advancement or progress


    So much of our lives over this past year has moved to an online environment. The opportunity that has evolved from many of us being forced into online meetings in business or school is that we found new ways to get things done. Personally, I like the second definition from above; a good chance for advancement or progress. 

    Let's get into our opportunities.

    The Fly-ND Conference this year has moved to an online conference in March. What we give up this year in meeting in person brings a new OPPORTUNITY to reach out to a larger audience, who may not have attended our conference in the past. The move to online also created another OPPORTUNITY of hosting an in-person event later this summer to bring us together in a fun and engaging event. We hope to announce the new event this spring. 

    The Fly-ND Career Expo has been rescheduled to May 14 at the Fargo Air Museum. We are really excited for what this event will bring to students looking to pursue a career in aviation.  The delay to this spring brings an OPPORTUNITY of all of us to help spread the word to students and to help in our fundraising efforts to fund scholarships for students. Connect on our website if you would like to get involved with the Career Expo.

    As we get into this summer, the Fargo Airsho is back and scheduled for July 24-25. The event will feature the U.S. Navy Blue Angels as they celebrate their 75th anniversary this year. The show will be extra special with Blue Angels Commander and Fargo, ND native Commander Brian Kesselring leading the team in their newly upgraded fleet of F/A-18 Super Hornets. The week leading up to the show will be filled with opportunities to celebrate the history of the Blue Angels. New at the Airsho this year will be an education focused STEM EXPO. Contact the Fargo Airsho or Fargo Air Museum if you would like to get involved.

     Lastly, the Federal Aviation Administration has officially released the Notice of Funding OPPORTUNITY for the Aviation Workforce Development Grant. We are working on grant applications for both the pilot and mechanic side of the grant. If awarded, the grants would fund numerous opportunities from supporting more schools across the region with new aviation programs, equipment, and curriculum to professional development for educators, new student outreach programs, and scholarships for students to just name a few.  

     With all of the OPPORTUNITY ahead of us, we would love for you to join the NDAA and look for an area to plug in and get involved in our mission, to promote and support growth in aviation.

     Looking forward to an exciting year ahead!


  • February 08, 2021 13:22 | Anonymous

    With Don Larson and Ryan Thayer

    It is no secret that North Dakotans are proud of their rich history and legacy, boasting many museums across the state. While you may be familiar with the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame, the National Buffalo Museum, or the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, how much do you know about your local aviation museum? 

    In Minot, ND, you can find the Dakota Territory Air Museum, and a few hundred miles southeast is the Fargo Air Museum. They are a part of the North Dakota Association of Aviation Museums, a branch of the North Dakota Aviation Association. Don Larson is a Founder and the President of the Dakota Territory Air Museum, and Ryan Thayer is the Executive Director of the Fargo Air Museum. Both Don and Ryan have a deep passion and appreciation for all things aviation; they work hard to connect the local community to the past and present of North Dakota’s aviation industry through preservation, restoration, and education. 

    Q.How did you get started in aviation and where has it led you? 

    Don: My introduction to aviation began 60 years ago, when I started taking flying lessons. I worked up to my commercial license with an instrument rating. For several years, I worked as a charter pilot on a part-time basis with Pietsch Flying Service in Minot, ND. In 1986, I, along with Warren Pietsch and the late Alfred Pietsch, organized the Dakota Territory Air Museum. I have been on the Board of Directors ever since. 

    Ryan: I was born and raised into an aviation family, as my father was a pilot and aircraft controller in the Aberdeen, SD, and Fargo, ND, areas. I received my solo pilot’s license at 16 years old and earned my private pilot’s license at 19 years old from University of North Dakota (UND) Aerospace. From a young age, I began dreaming of an aviation career and attended UND for an Airline Transport degree. After receiving my pilot’s license, the industry was struggling due to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. I chose to take a detour and instead received a business degree from UND. Since then, I started and ran over seven companies, from finance and insurance to real estate and construction. I recently moved back to the Fargo area with the hopes of getting back into aviation and I was hired to run the Fargo Air Museum. 

    Q. That is the mission of your museum? 

    Don: The mission of the Dakota Territory Air Museum is: “To be a vital historical aviation resource honoring the men, women, and machines that have impacted the rich history of aviation through displays and events that educate, inspire, and entertain people of all ages.” Over the years, we have collected thousands of artifacts, books, pictures, and newspaper articles, along with over 50 aircraft that have been donated or loaned for display. We have over 55,000 square feet of indoor display area on our 17-acre campus, which also includes numerous outdoor displays.

    Ryan: “The Fargo Air Museum is a nonprofit organization that serves to promote interest in aviation through education, preservation and restoration.” We are very passionate about our mission and we work hard each and every day to accomplish it. We recently expanded our Youth Camps with STEAM/STEM and flight curriculum, are undergoing restorations like our BT-13 and Stinson Reliant projects, and preserve history in the area with our veterans and exhibits.

    Q.What role does the local aviation community play for your museum? 

    Don: Over the years, our local aviation community has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars in financial help. In addition, we have received thousands of hours of volunteer help from our local community, including Minot Air Force Base. 

    Ryan: The local aviation community is very, very important to us. We have a great partnership with our local community where we help support each other, whether it be for aircraft to display at the museum or helping us with youth education and veterans events. We are all pursuing similar missions, enjoying aviation, and helping to spur the passion for aviation in our youth!

    Q.What resources do you provide to your local aviation community? 

    Don: For our local community, we provide a place where families can preserve and display artifacts that have been in their families for many years. We, as a nonprofit 501c3 organization, serve as a facility where folks can donate aircraft and other items and use the donation as a tax benefit to them. We also have an education outreach program, which provides aviation camps to local youth. Additionally, we administer a scholarship program with the funds provided by the Farstad Foundation. From those funds, we provide eight $2,500 scholarships annually for aviation-related careers. The Farstad Foundation also provides $5,000 annually for our general education outreach program.

    Ryan: We provide many resources to our local aviation community with preservation, restoration, and education. We provide advanced educational programs for our youth, preservation of history in our community, and restoration of historic aircraft. This offers  opportunities to help out our community in the areas our volunteers are most passionate about. We are also working on offering scholarships for flight training, as well as other exciting new programs.

    Q. How have you built relationships with the local community? 

    Don: Our museum is open to the public from mid-May until mid-October. Up until this past summer, we had scheduled monthly events in an effort to encourage the community to visit the museum. Many of our events are done around historic dates, such as Victory in Europe Day, Victory over Japan Day, and Pearl Harbor. We provide space for some smaller community events, like the Chamber of Commerce meetings, occasional service club meetings, United States Air Force groups, and promotion receptions.

    Ryan: We are continually building new relationships, as well as fostering current relationships, in our community. We have very strong relationships with local schools, the North Dakota Air National Guard, and local businesses with partnerships and sponsorships. We offer a ton of benefits to our community, which helps naturally draw people in. We also have a great team of staff to help with outreach in setting up partnerships and relationships, as we work through opportunities and challenges. Our community works better together!

    Q.What is your favorite exhibit/attraction in your museum?

    Don: My favorite exhibit is the full-scale 1903 Wright Flyer. I find it very interesting, because that is where it all started 117 years ago.

    Ryan: That is a tough one. I would have to say my current favorite is the Happy Hooligans F-16 that we have on temporary loan from the North Dakota Air National Guard. I grew up just north of Fargo, and I can remember playing in the backyard as a kid and hearing and watching them do touch and gos and practice maneuvers. It is an amazing aircraft, coupled with childhood memories and the strong tie to the Fargo Area, that makes it very special to me. 

    Dakota Territory Air Museum president, Don Larson

    Q.As a branch of the North Dakota Aviation Association (NDAA), in what ways is your museum involved in the Association? 

    Don: As a member of the NDAA, I am currently serving on its Board of Directors. I also served for a number of years as Director of the former North Dakota Aviation Council. Both of our museums have been very proactive in the NDAA. Each year that the annual North Dakota aviation conference is held in our cities, the museums have offered our facilities for the opening night social. It is a very appropriate setting for the event, at which we also have an exhibitor’s booth.

    Ryan: We do our best to be a resource for NDAA members with our event venue services, youth camp programs, veterans events, in-house special events, and to help bring new content to the association through our articles. We are also discussing a NDAA member discount to the Fargo Air Museum. The NDAA has been very supportive of us and we would like to return the favor with a potential discount. 

    Q. What volunteer options do you have?

    Don: We are usually looking for volunteers most anytime at our museum. Even during the off-season, from mid-October to mid-May, we are putting together new exhibits or re-doing existing exhibits. If you’re interested in volunteering, call the museum or visit our website.

    Ryan: Currently, we are looking for volunteers to help with our restoration department. We have a BT-13 we are working on and are over halfway complete, as well as our Stinson Reliant project. We would love to speak to former and current Airframe and Powerplant Mechanics to restore these two aircraft, as well as pursuing additional aircraft for future restorations. We are also looking for volunteers for other things, like landscaping, youth camp help, and drywalling and maintenance. There is always something that we can use help with at our facility. We also host special events and always need volunteers to help with security, parking, and ticketing.

    Ryan Thayer is the executive director of the Fargo Air Museum

    Stop in at your nearest North Dakota aviation museum, where you can explore the exhibits and aircraft. You are sure to discover something you love! You will find visitors and volunteers from high school students all the way into retirement years, from veterans to former youth camp kids, and everyone in between. Learn more about visiting, volunteering, and events here: 

    Fargo Air Museum

    1609 19th Ave N, Fargo, ND 58102, 701-293-8043,

    Dakota Territory Air Museum

    100 34th Ave NE, Minot, ND 58703, 701-852-8500, Facebook: @DTAMMinotND

  • February 08, 2021 13:20 | Anonymous

    By many metrics, 2020 was a difficult year. I won’t sugarcoat the fact that certain parts of the aviation industry in our state and throughout the country have seen significant negative impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. That being said, I believe growing positive trends and an approved vaccine provide us with reasons to start the new year with a positive outlook. I also acknowledge that we must have an awareness that we are entering a time where continued perseverance is required.

    A new legislative session has arrived for us in North Dakota and community leaders around the state will be hard at work discussing how to best position our state over the next biennium. As requested by the governor, the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission (NDAC) has successfully re-prioritized our budget and I believe that our initial agency bill provides a strategically sound starting point. I look forward to having conversations with our elected leaders to discuss our industry’s current situation and I will work hard to advise on an appropriate pathway that will support our airports and aviation industry as we recover from the pandemic. 

    I want to encourage all of you to stay engaged with the legislative process by keeping in touch with your legislators and by utilizing the Legislative Council bill tracking system, which can be found at As legislation comes forward regarding elements that have a factor in aviation, I will be in direct communication with the North Dakota Aviation Association (NDAA) and the Airport Association of North Dakota (AAND) as we work through any critical issues. I also encourage you to contact me to share any concerns or relevant information that you may have on pending legislation. 

    Outside of the legislative session, the NDAC is also continually working with our federal funding partners to fully understand their grant programs and eligibility criteria, as we want to have high priority shovel-ready projects ready to go as funding becomes available. Though we currently do not know what our future has in store, we need to make sure that we are not complacent and that we position ourselves to be prepared to accept any challenges or opportunities that arise in the near term. 

    I also hope that you are able to join us March 8-9 for the virtual FLY-ND conference. As always, your NDAA board members and volunteers have been hard at work preparing an exceptional program for all aviation enthusiasts to enjoy. Though we are unable to come together in person this year, I sincerely hope you are able to take the time to celebrate aviation with us at our state’s first ever virtual conference.

    Wishing you smooth flying, 


  • February 08, 2021 13:18 | Anonymous

    The theme for the 2019 Upper Midwest Aviation Symposium was “Building a Community of Aviation.” As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact everyone around the globe, I am constantly reminded of the tremendous aviation community we have here in North Dakota. I also believe the number one factor impacting student success in schools is having a relationship with a positive role model or mentor. The stronger the relationship a student has with a positive role model, the more likely they are to succeed. I believe this also applies to us in our professional lives or while flying for recreation. 

    Building a personal learning network is one helpful way to grow in the aviation industry. I have found that one of the easiest ways to develop this network is through memberships in professional organizations. These organizations accomplish many goals, one of which is bringing members together to learn. The North Dakota Aviation Association (NDAA) does this through media such as the Quarterly, social media and, as we talk about every winter, the upcoming FLY-ND conference. Though we will not gather together in person this year, the virtual conference will present an opportunity to meet and network with other like minded individuals. I encourage you to attend this year’s virtual conference which is FREE for all NDAA members. You really can’t ask for a better deal than that! 

    Through my role at the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission (NDAC), I continue to work to develop the aviation community by building relationships with the various aviation groups around the state and throughout the country. At the NDAC we work hard, along with the Airport Association of North Dakota (AAND), to ensure airports are kept safe and well maintained. Planning projects becomes a bit like a jigsaw puzzle, while we work with stakeholders to leverage local, state, and federal funds to ensure high priority projects are completed on time. We also work with pilots and aircraft owners through our Passport Program to learn more about the needs of airports around the state. 

    In regards to aviation education, I work consistently with the high school Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs around the state, as well as our air museums, to develop high quality educational programming for youth of all ages. We also help with funding needs for these programs through educational grants. Recently, we awarded educational grants to help fund simulators at three North Dakota airports. These simulators are available for low cost or free-of-charge in the cities of Mandan, Mohall, and Hillsboro. 

    I would like to encourage you to continue building your personal learning network through networking and membership in professional organizations. If you are not already a member, consider joining the NDAA, where you will gain access to this year’s virtual conference among other benefits. In addition, the Professional Aviation Maintenance Association (PAMA), the AAND, and the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) are local organizations which can help you learn and network. Both statewide and national aviation organizations have social media presences as well. Consider joining, following, liking, and contributing to your personal learning network. 

    Mike McHugh, Aviation Education Coordinator 

    North Dakota Aeronautics Commission

    701-328-9650 |

  • February 08, 2021 13:06 | Anonymous

     By The Staiger Consulting Group

    When 2020 recently came to a close, I bid it a not-so-fond farewell. I, like many of you, am glad to be looking at last year through a rearview mirror. My focus for 2021 is one of hope and optimism. Although 2020 was one for the record books, I found light in the darkest of times amongst our circle of family and friends, essential workers, neighbors, teachers, and even strangers. I truly believe that once we are through this pandemic, our community will be stronger, people will embrace one another, support one another, and look at the world through a different lens. We came together as a family, a neighborhood, and community in the face of this pandemic. It is in that hope for the future and the fact that it’s a new year, I think now is the best time to examine what’s in front of us and if we want to be part of something bigger than ourselves. 

    This year, I decided not to make any resolutions; I’m not adding to my plate or to my to-do list. Instead, I am choosing to narrow my focus on what’s important and my role in my home, my family,and my community. I encourage you, as well, to consider what role aviation plays in your life. Is it a profession? A hobby? A passion? An escape? Whatever it means to you, I know that if you have opened this publication and made it to this article, you have a vested interest and care or concern for the industry. Perhaps it’s one small area, or maybe it’s aviation in its entirety. I want you to know that the North Dakota Aviation Association (NDAA) and it’s passionate board members, volunteers, and staff care deeply about all aspects of aviation. 

    The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines an association as:

    (often in names) a group of people organized for a joint purpose.

    An organization of persons having a common interest: SOCIETY.

    Our Association clearly understands that each sector of the industry needs each other, as we cannot have one without the other. Some of you may already know this, but the NDAA was founded in 1983 by six aviation organizations, interested in promoting aviation in the state and presenting their concerns before the government and the general public. It was founded with the notion that solutions to problems facing aviation can be best served by consolidating and working together, rather than struggling as independent groups. The NDAA seeks to serve aviation professionals by providing a forum for the exchange of information, ideas, and experience among their peers: pilots, agricultural operators, airport managers, Fixed Base Operators, aviation mechanics, educators,and aviation museums. By combining our talents and resources, we are set to explore answers to the most pressing issues of today to ready ourselves for the exciting aviation world of tomorrow, all while having fun in the process and networking with like-minded individuals! 

    Further explore your passion for aviation through your membership in the NDAA. Membership means that you too believe in this community of aviation and you have a voice in the direction of the industry. We are in this together, we are a community who works together to accomplish so much and affect change. The dynamics and vision of our organization are focused on preserving the past, embracing the present, and preparing a path for the future of the industry. It’s easy to see the depth and importance of the North Dakota Aviation Association. If you are considering joining, I encourage you to check it out, come for the education, networking, and preservation and advancement of the industry. If you simply believe in the mission and vision of what we do, now is a great time to join to make a difference in the community of aviation.

    I look forward to your involvement and your impact on the future. 

  • February 08, 2021 13:04 | Anonymous

    The North Dakota Aviation Hall of Fame committee announces that William A. (Bill) Beeks has been selected for induction into the state’s Aviation Hall of Fame. Bill will join the prestigious aviation hall of fame group that currently includes 45 other individuals who have all had a significant impact to the growth, development, and promotion of aviation in North Dakota. For more information on the North Dakota Aviation Hall of Fame, visit

    Bill Beeks was born January 21, 1941 in Bismarck, North Dakota. In 1957, he completed his first flight on his 16th birthday and moved on to earn his private pilot’s license at the age of 17. Bill grew up in Washburn, North Dakota and after his High School graduation in 1959, he continued his education at the University of North Dakota and received a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Arts. 

    Bill returned to Washburn in 1967 to assist his father, Clifford H. Beeks with their family business, Central Flying Service. The business was incorporated in 1969 and Bill worked hard to eventually purchase and become the primary owner. He married Mary Ann Guenthner on July 26, 1969, and together they raised their daughter, Lara. During this time, Bill began his many years of working in North Dakota as a flight instructor, aircraft mechanic, aircraft inspector, and aerial applicator. 

    Whenever friends and family would visit Washburn, Bill took time to give them an aerial tour of the area and share his love for North Dakota, the Missouri River, and its rich history of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. In the 1980’s, Bill flew for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Civil Air Patrol, where he helped to gather counts of campers and boats on Lake Sakakawea and the Missouri River. He also provided critical surveillance for area storm damage, range fires, and ice jams.

    Bill served as the manager of the Washburn Airport for many years and was well-known around the area for his love of aviation and the services that he provided. His desire to improve the Washburn Airport prompted him to lead the effort to successfully advocate for the construction of a new concrete runway which occurred in 2002. 

    Bill was active in many different community and church organizations but was especially involved in the state’s aviation-related organizations, where throughout the years he served in multiple leadership roles. His early and active participation with the North Dakota Agricultural Aviation Association and the Airport Association of North Dakota led to many positive evolutions within both organizations as they matured. Bill also volunteered his time to act as a lobbyist for the aviation community, where he would represent the best interests of the industry during multiple state legislative sessions.

    Bill had a passion for his local community that was hard to match, and his sense of citizenship led to help place a small North Dakota farming community on the map. Bill will always be remembered for his love of aviation and his work to tirelessly show others that the front door of any community can truly begin - at the airport. 

    Bill will be honored at the upcoming Fly-ND Virtual Conference that will take place March 8-9, 2021. To find more information on the virtual conference, visit: Tentative plans are also being made for an in-person summer induction ceremony and information regarding that event will be provided at a later date.

    Questions can be directed to the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission at 701-328-9650. 

  • February 08, 2021 12:59 | Anonymous

    Carol on wing of the Piper Archer II at a fuel stop enroute to Florida, October 1976. The brown bag was full of Twizzlers.

    By Rob Spiekermeier 

    Carol and I were married Saturday evening, October 16, 1976, at St. Patricks’ Church in Enderlin, ND. On Sunday, we drove to Valley City Municipal Airport in light snow flurries and cold. On the ramp was a nearly-new Piper Archer II Airplane that Larry Lindemann had serviced and fueled earlier that morning. With it, he had left a note wishing us a safe and fun trip. I did my pre-flight, checked fuel and oil as Carol secured our baggage. I called Flight Service and checked weather and winds aloft enroute. Earlier that year, I had earned my commercial license on Carol’s birthday, March 17. I had considerable time in this aircraft. It was fully equipped for IFR flight, we were ready to go!

    We blew out of there down 3-1 into light snow and wind, it was 24 degrees. We turned southeast climbing steadily and flew out of the snow into clear skies before we grazed the edge of South Dakota. I leveled and stabilized the craft at 9,500 feet and engaged the autopilot. This plane had a full panel and the latest avionics of the era. As I recall, it had two quality Nav-Com radios, Automatic Direction Finding (ADF), digital Distance Measuring Equipment (DME), a transponder, an Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT), and a good Exhaust Gas Temperature (EGT) display. It was a comfortable, quiet, dependable aircraft. I only wished it had retractable wheels.

    I was busy dialing in VOR stations, trimming the plane, leaning the mixture, and we had a nice tailwind at 9,500 feet. I had all the avionics humming and autopilot engaged, when Carol asked if I would mind if she took a little nap? “Sure,” I said, thinking about her big day yesterday. She folded her arms, leaned against the window, and fell asleep. Carol was a beautiful young woman with long dark brown hair that fell below her shoulders and eyes you could drown in. One of her special qualities was that she slept beautifully; her face was relaxed and peaceful, she was stunning!

    That’s when it happened; I looked over at her, the brilliant afternoon sun reflected off the wing, diffused slightly through the plexiglass, sparkling through her long hair. The effect was a heavenly glow about her face. Her beauty was overwhelming to me at that instant, she was my best friend, now my wife, and I loved her so much! I thanked God right then for where we were, for my blessings, and her.

    Here I am 44 years later, and this memory is still as vivid as that day so long ago. Carol died on a clear sunny morning on February 25, 2020, in our home with me by her side. Although cancer had consumed her, she died in no pain and was at peace with God. The remarkable thing was her face was just like that day in the sky when she was 18 years old. She was even more beautiful now and I loved her so much more! This was surely God’s handiwork now as it was way back then.

    I never told her or anyone else about this memory before; now, my grief has inspired me to honor her with this poem.

    God’s Grace at 95 Hundred Feet

    She was only eighteen years young, girl so sweet,

    Wed on Saturday, Sunday in snow down 3-1 we sped.

    Lifting gently, south towards Florida’s warmth we flew,

    Climb mechanical bird, leveled at 95 hundred feet.

    The Lycoming’s reliable drone, the rush of the air,

    Pointers confirm our course steady and true.

    New young couple very at ease in God’s domain,

    My glance caught her asleep, with nary a care!

    Air so clean, that only a pilot can see,

    Brilliant west sun, glistening off the wing,

    Sparkled through her lovely long dark hair,

    God’s light revealed, that girl was the world to me!

    Lord protect us from the many perils above,

    Thank you God for the gift of flight.

    Pilots do get just a little bit closer to thee,

    Help me God, to give you and her my love!

    Carol, flying with the angels.

                  All my love! Rob 8-1-2020

    Dana (Paul) Lindemann (left), Carol (Rob) Spiekermeier (center), Dani (Jarrod) Lindemann (right) at the shop in Valley City a few years ago. Three women with time in the air!

  • February 08, 2021 12:52 | Anonymous

    2021 North Dakota Aviation Association Fly-ND Virtual Conference will be held March 8-9, 2021. Join us virtually this year to:

      Learn from industry leaders


      Make Connections

    •  Associations annual business meeting –  Learn more about the association and member benefits 

    •  IA Renewal credits

    Dick VanGrunsven – Founder of Van’s aircraft

    NDAA Members attend the 2021 Fly-ND Virtual Conference for FREE!

  • December 31, 2020 07:30 | Anonymous

    Did you know that both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Mayo Clinic recently launched aviation podcasts?

    The FAA’s new podcast, “The Air Up There,” is a show for ““anyone who is interested in learning more about aviation — whether you’re an aviation geek (av geek, for short) like us or just getting started,” FAA officials say. The podcast covers all things aviation, from airlines to general aviation to drones.

    The Mayo Clinic’s podcast, “Clear Approach,” aims to provide health information related to FAA medical certification. It is designed for pilots to ask Aerospace Medicine experts questions about medical conditions and medications pertinent to certification issues. The podcast is hosted by Dr. Greg Vanichkachorn, Senior Associate Consultant in Mayo Clinic’s Division of Preventive, Occupational and Aerospace Medicine.

    You can listen to the podcasts on popular podcast platforms or online: 

    The Air Up There:

    Clear Approach:

  • December 27, 2020 07:30 | Anonymous

    Eloise Ogden/MDN Several of the World War II planes are lined up in front of the Dakota Territory Air Museum in Minot. The planes are, from the left, “Lope’s Hope 3rd, “Miss Kitty” and “Little Horse, all P-51s, and the British Spitfire. The Minot museum has the largest collection of World War II planes in one spot in central United States.

    By Eloise Ogden, Regional Editor

    The largest collection of World War II planes in one spot in central United States is located here in Minot at the Dakota Territory Air Museum.

    These warbirds – from a legendary British Spitfire MkIXc that flew 74 missions in World War II including over the beaches of Normandy on D-Day to four P-51s, a C-53, a Canadian Harvard Mk IV and an FM-2P Wildcat.

    The planes are owned by Bruce Eames of Houston, Texas, and housed at the Dakota Territory Air Museum in Minot. Minot Aero Center does the maintenance on the planes.

    Warren Pietsch, Minot, is the chief pilot of the fleet and also a Dakota Territory Air Museum board member.

    An Interstate L-6 Cadet “Grasshopper,” a utility transport, liaison and observer plane used during World War II owned by Cindy Beck of Wahpeton, also is at the museum.

    The collection of warbirds being in Minot got its start when Dr. Hank Reichert of Bismarck, owner of a P-51 Mustang “Dakota Kid II, “ displayed the plane at the Minot museum.

    “Dr. Reichert had allowed us to use ‘Dakota Kid’ for a number of years,” said Pietsch.

    When Reichert decided to sell his plane, he asked Pietsch to sell it for him. “People from Houston saw the ad and came here with the intent of buying that airplane – only that airplane – and to have me fly it in four air shows a year for two years. At the end of that period they were going to donate the plane back to the air museum,” Pietsch said.

    “They came here, we had lunch and they saw what we were doing for kids’ educational programs and for honoring veterans. They thought that was pretty neat,” he said.

    Pietsch took the Mustang to Houston to fly the first air show that fall. Ed Bosarge of Houston bought ‘Dakota Kid’ and another plane, a Japanese Zero. Bruce Eames, also of Houston, bought “Little Horse,” another P-51, at the same time.

    “They got pretty enthused and we had a museum in Houston that we were in. That went on from 2010 until now,” Pietsch said. He said the hangar in Houston has been sold and Bosarge has decided to direct his interest elsewhere and has sold all of his planes except one which is being sold. The rest of the airplanes belong to Eames.

    The Houston group also contributed along with the city of Minot to building the hangar, said Pietsch, referring to the hangar in Minot that houses the warbirds.

    “We did a fundraiser and got half a million dollars from the city of Minot. They told me for every dollar I raised they’d give me two so that’s how we built this hangar. They (Houston group) paid for two-thirds of it,” Pietsch said. The hangar was dedicated July 4, 2013.

    The planes have participated in air shows all over the country.

    “We did a lot of air shows – in the Caribbean, Oshkosh… – all the major air shows in the country for the last seven, eight years,” Pietsch said, adding, “This collection of airplanes is probably the largest collection of World War II aircraft in one spot in the central U.S.”

    Along with many air shows, the planes and pilots were in special observances including a 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe (V-E Day) commemoration in Washington, D.C., in May 2015.

    When people visit the museum in Minot, Pietsch said they are quite surprised what they see there.

    “People are amazed when they come in here – people in the industry and others just never expect to see what they see when they come to Minot and see this museum,” Pietsch said. He said the warbirds are part of it. “But the facility is beautiful, the people here – the volunteers and the workers here – do a great job in keeping the place nice and that has helped us maintain this fleet and have the people from Houston willing to leave their airplanes here plus we don’t have hurricanes.”

    All of the World War II planes at the museum are flyable.

    “Some of them have actual war history,” Pietsch said. “The Spitfire flew 74 missions in World War II. It was flown by the Polish Volunteers in the RAF, and then transferred to the Free French and flew over Normandy Beach during the invasion. It’s an extremely historic airplane,” he said.

    Warren Pietsch, pilot, with passenger Brinlee Sisk, Dakota Territory Air Museum staff member, prepare to leave the air museum in “Little Horse,” a P-51 Mustang, for a flight over Minot on May 8. The flight, presented by the air museum, was done in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe (V-E) Day and to honor front-line medical workers and other essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Little Horse” is one of several World War II planes at the air museum.

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