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  • August 18, 2020 14:35 | Anonymous

    By The Staiger Consulting Group

    The coronavirus pandemic has generated a myriad of effects across the globe in recent months, including the cancellation of many well-loved aviation events. However, with the health and safety of the aviation community as the focus, many new resources have been created and encouraging headlines made. Read on to discover a few of our favorites:

    SiriusXM teamed up with NYU Langone Health to launch a channel dedicated to news regarding the coronavirus pandemic. Channel 121 will broadcast information about the coronavirus 24/7 and is free. Pilots can also listen online.

    Used Aircraft Prices have not seen a measurable decline as the result of COVID-19. Despite being blindsided by the consequences surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, the aviation market was already in a unique situation as inventory was limited. Traditionally, when supply is constrained, market pricing will stay roughly the same. That holds true now for used aircraft prices, despite any drop in demand.

    The FAA and CDC recommend that air carriers and crewmembers take precautions to avoid exposure to COVID-19. A full list of these precautions can be found in the SAFO 20003, under COVID-19: Interim Health Guidance for Air Carriers Crews.

    TheCDC has also provided recommendations for aircraft operators to clean and disinfect their aircraft. The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and committee volunteers have summarized this information in an easy-to-use resource that will help you make aircraft cleaning decisions. You can read it here:

    The Civil Air Patrol logged “10,000 volunteer days of support,” the equivalent of more than $2 million of donated services during operations in the first 70 days of response to the coronavirus pandemic, the organization announced. Cadets and volunteer adults delivered personal protective equipment and COVID-19 test kits, prepared meals, staffed emergency operation centers, and more during ongoing relief efforts.

    The FAA has updated its Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. You can find the FAQs here:

  • August 18, 2020 14:33 | Anonymous

    By Pat Fagan

    It’s interesting how one’s attitude can change over time. I suppose we shouldn’t fault politicians for flip-flopping, provided their change is sincere. But this isn’t about politics. This is about my change in attitude on what at first seemed to be a silly idea. 

    A couple of years ago, I was involved in a Utah Back Country Pilots work party at Mexican Mountain, UT. After the work was done, we were all sitting in the shade doing what pilots do, telling stories. There was a gal flying a short-wing Piper that had to be the most manic pilot I have ever encountered. She regaled us with tales of all the places she had been with her plane and shared all the places she intended to fly in the upcoming year. She practically lived in that airplane. 

    She told about how she had landed at every airport in several states, and how some of those states actually had programs that rewarded people for doing so. At the time, I felt like she must have some kind of OCD, but I enjoyed the hangar flying nonetheless.

    Fast forward to early this year, I was reading an issue of Sport Aviation and there was an article profiling a gal named Wendy who flies the heck out of a short-wing Piper. As I read, I remembered that hangar flying session and realized the article was about the very same person. In the article she mentioned that one of the states where she landed at every airport was North Dakota. She also said that for doing so she received “the nicest leather jacket I’ve ever bought”. 

    After reading this article, my change of attitude occurred. My wife, Carol, and I moved from crazy California to saner Arizona almost four years ago. In that time, I have been constantly busy developing the property and putting up buildings. It just so happened that my reading the Sport Aviation article coincided with me completing my last building project and feeling the deep-seated need for an adventure. Suddenly, flying to North Dakota and landing at every airport just to get a leather jacket seemed like the sanest thing in the world to do. 

    I mentioned this idea to Carol, who has tolerated many of my past crazy aviation ideas and she had the expected response, “Why not just buy a jacket?” But she humored me and agreed to let me go. Then one day I was flying with fellow Bearhawker Scott Williamson and told him about what I was going to do and he went from “that’s crazy” to “I’d like to go too” faster than I expected. Scott then mentioned it to Kevin Deutscher, another Bearhawk builder, who was suddenly teleworking from home due to COVID-19, and he eagerly agreed to go as well. 

    North Dakota’s program involves filling in a passport book with airport identifier stamps located at all 89 public use airports in the state. You are also required to visit their two aviation museums and take three courses through the FAA’s FAAST/Wings program. We requested and received in the mail our passports and I figured out a course on a North Dakota-only sectional they provided. So we were all set, just needing two things before we could depart. One was for the museums to reopen from Coronavirus, and another was for winter to loosen its grip. The museums finally reopened the second week of May, but there was an endless stream of bad weather blocking our path across South Dakota. 

    We finally had a weather window that allowed us to depart on May 16th. That day, we flew all the way to Custer, SD, where we caught up to the bad weather. The next morning we were up at dawn, looking at beautiful blue skies, excited to get our first stamp. But then we had to wait two hours for the sun to melt the frost off our wings. 

    We camped out in airport pilot lounges almost every night. Some were nothing more than an office and bathroom, while others had freezers, microwaves and showers. The most luxurious one we visited was at Williston, with a sleeping room, recliner sofas, showers, and the works. Unfortunately, Williston is a real airport so we weren’t allowed to overnight there, but the staff was tremendously helpful and helped us bide our time until the rain moved on. 

    The coolest airport we went to had to be Wahpeton. Kevin was taking a nap on the grass at Milnor Airport, as we landed at multiple grass strips, when he noticed a crack forming in the tail post spring perch on Scott’s plane. The FBO operator at Milnor suggested Wahpeton as a place to get it fixed. Boy was he right. In Wahpeton, they build fuselages for P-51 Mustangs. The whole fuselage. They can fabricate every part on a Mustang. 

    Scott uses a massive shock absorber tail wheel and not only did they fix the crack, they reengineered how it attaches to the tail post. While they did that, they gave us free range to explore the machine shop and the boneyard of projects. 

    Everywhere we went in North Dakota, the people we met were so helpful and sincerely happy to see us, especially upon learning that we had come all the way from Arizona just to do this. We got local pilot knowledge about the conditions at certain airports and warnings about conditions at others. Gackle Airport was the most pleasant surprise. We were warned by the gentleman who maintains the airport that he couldn’t vouch for its current condition, as it is surrounded by water and the entrance road was currently under water. He hadn’t been able to get to it to mow it or otherwise check on its condition, but we found it to be in wonderful shape and an absolutely beautiful spot. 

    I had no idea how much fun it would be doing this trip, but it far exceeded all my expectations. The sheer joy of airport hopping, sightseeing, never having to climb above pattern altitude, and all those grass strips made the trip memorable. All the wonderful people we met, so enthusiastic to see us, offering us cars and hangars and whatever else they could provide, made the trip memorable. We even air toured the Enchanted Highway, another special treat. I look forward to proudly wearing my jacket, but the simple passport book with all its stamps is an equally valuable souvenir. 

    Our last airport was Bowman and we took the courtesy car to town for a wonderful breakfast. Were it not for lingering Covid-19 concerns, I believe Scott would have hugged every person in the restaurant, he was so happy. We chose to fly to Mexican Mountain in southern Utah to spend our last night. It didn’t occur to me until late that night that adding that to our trip was the perfect topper; it was there that I first learned about North Dakota’s passport program from Wendy. The next morning we split up to head for our separate homes. Kevin made a statement that brought tears to my eyes: “Thanks for letting me come along and fulfill a dream I never knew I had.”

    About the Author

    Pat Fagan has been flying since he was 16 years old, paying for his flight instruction with money he earned working at Tastee Freeze. Over the years, he gained a wide range of piloting experience, from towing gliders and hauling skydivers to fire bombing. Pat found a career as an air traffic controller and spent 28 years working airplanes at Los Angeles Air Route Traffic Control Center. He built his Bearhawk aircraft from plans, before any kits were started. Completed in 2003, it was the eighth Bearhawk to fly. To honor Pat’s history flying tankers, it was painted like an air tanker and christened “Smokey Bearhawk”.  

  • August 18, 2020 14:28 | Anonymous

    By Kyle Wanner, Director

    North Dakota Aeronautics Commission

    701-328-9650 |

    I am sure that all of us could give examples of times in life where roadblocks were hit or where things did not go the way we had originally planned. Ironically, looking back on those experiences later in life, many of us find ourselves in appreciation for those times that made us stronger, wiser, and at the very least provided us with a good story to tell. 

    COVID-19 is now one of those roadblocks that has created challenges and sacrifices for all of us, in both our professional and personal lives. Like many of you, I have been trying to do my best to stay optimistic and look at the good things that have come out of this situation. In my personal life, that has meant spending more time with family, teaching my children more about the meaning of gratitude, and completing a variety of different house projects to help stay productive and positive. 

    Something that I have tried to do on a daily basis at the Aeronautics Commission is to locate the many positive things that are still occurring throughout the North Dakota aviation community. Finding silver linings within aviation in today’s environment may currently seem like a difficult task; but I still see and hear encouraging things every day. Most of all, I am impressed with the positive problem-solving attitude that most North Dakotans and industry leaders bring to the table. This is the secret sauce which will strengthen our resilience as we work through this temporary roadblock.

    Our public-use airports throughout North Dakota continue to remain open and flight training, in many instances, has resumed. I have even spoken to multiple pilots that have decided that now is the time for them to dust off their wings and get back into flying. Recently, our office has also seen a growing number of pilots who have shown an interest in starting our Passport Program and work to collect stamps as they tour the state’s 89 public airports. If you are someone who has also been looking for a reason to fly and take on a new adventure or are frustrated with the lack of fly-in events taking place this summer, I highly recommend that you take a look at this program. If you do not have a passport booklet and would like us to send you one, please contact our office.  

    I am also pleased to report that a majority of our airport construction projects this year have seen lower than expected bid prices. The weather has also allowed most of our contractors to progress on projects that were drastically delayed last construction season, due to the record wet season that our state experienced. Many airport operators are also taking advantage of the current slow-down by completing long overdue projects or tasks that are easier to complete during times of lower activity levels. Aircraft cargo and unmanned aircraft systems are also areas that continue to provide new opportunities and growth during this time.  

    Aviation has been an adapting industry for over a hundred years and will continue to do so successfully, no matter what challenge awaits. It is my hope that during this unpredictable time, all of us are able to rise up as needed for our co-workers and our family members so that we can help each other stay positive and productive throughout these times. 

    I also encourage you to plan an adventure, while enjoying the summer weather and the beautiful North Dakota skies, in your pursuit of finding those clouds with silver linings. 


  • August 18, 2020 14:22 | Anonymous

    By Brendan Sneegas, Director of Operations & Development, Angel Flight Central

    Following 25 years of service and over 28,000 free flights for people in need of long-distance travel to medical care and treatment, the COVID-19 outbreak shook the mission of Angel Flight Central (AFC), a non-profit charitable aviation organization serving those in the Midwest, including North Dakota. The ability to safely fly people to and from medical care became too dangerous for pilots, as well as their passengers. Angel Flight Central was quickly forced to suspend passenger flights and re-evaluate its mission. 

    “We realized that the safest way forward in the short-term was to concentrate on cargo flights,” said Don Sumple, AFC’s CEO and Executive Director. Utilizing a partnership with a rural hospital organization, AFC was able to arrange flights carrying Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to underserved rural hospitals across several states. However, as in every natural or national crisis, volunteer pilots have a great desire to assist. The PPE flights were not enough to satisfy the willingness of the AFC pilots. 

    It was around this time when Vitalant, one of the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit community blood service providers, started facing struggles getting blood products to their intended destination. With three donation locations in North Dakota, Vitalant’s ability to transport donated blood and blood products to processing centers was being affected with all the changes in commercial aviation routes. Vitalant’s Community Outreach Ambassador Jennifer Bredahl, reached out to North Dakota Senator Tom Campbell to ask for help. He connected Vitalant with Mike Kempel of Dakota Refrigeration, who offered to use his private plane to help. However, with the continuous transportation needs, the North Dakota Civil Air Patrol recommended connecting with Angel Flight Central.

    Vitalant is internationally recognized for their expertise in blood collection testing, logistics, distribution, special services and research. In other words, Vitalant had a life-saving product supply of plasma needing delivery multiple days of the week to a processing center 570 nautical miles away in St. Louis, while AFC had compassionate volunteer pilots calling to ask to help. A perfect match. 

    Rachel Nelson, Vitalant’s Senior Hospital Services Manager, summarized the experience. “During these uncertain times of COVID-19, our products for our patients were greatly impacted. We had logistical struggles on a daily basis, until we partnered with Angel Flight Central. Their organized diligence to support the needs of the community was impeccable. Because of their support, we were able to get our blood and blood products where they needed to go, so we could continue our life-saving mission. We truly cannot thank them enough!”

    The partnership is now in its fourteenth week. Twenty-seven pilots have flown 37 flight legs a total of 10,500 nautical miles. Over 5,000 miles of trips are planned for the weeks ahead, and if more pilots could join in, additional locations could be added.  

    With new screening and safety protocols, AFC resumed flying passengers to medical care in June, but the passion and inspiration that has evolved from two non-profits combining efforts to change and save lives has only gained momentum, thanks to the great people at Fargo Jet Center.  

    If you are a pilot and wish to learn more about AFC’s minimum requirements, please visit To learn more about Vitalant, visit their website at Both organizations would also greatly appreciate any charitable contribution to continue their work into the future.

  • August 18, 2020 14:12 | Anonymous

    Scholarships Awarded: The North Dakota Business Aviation Association would like to congratulate Ayden Olsen and Jilian Quale on each receiving a $200 scholarship. Ironically, both students are currently attending Wachter Middle School in Bismarck, ND where Ayden is in the 8th grade and Jilian is in the 6th grade. Ayden has expressed an interest in becoming an aerospace engineer specializing in landing gear systems at Boeing, while Jilian is still exploring all military aviation career opportunities. Jilian and Adyen are each raising funds to attend the NASA Space Camp held in Huntsville, Alabama.

    Merger: NDBAA was founded in 1947 with the purpose to promote the interests of those that benefit from the use of aviation in North Dakota. NDBAA accomplishes this through safety, advocacy, and educational initiatives. As of May 2020, NDBAA has merged with the North Dakota Aviation Association.

  • August 18, 2020 13:54 | Anonymous

    By Daren Hall, Chairman

    North Dakota Aviation Associaton

    I moved to Fargo 30 years ago and have worked at the airport every day since. I grew up three blocks from the airport in Minot and would often drive to the far end just to look at the lights and watch airplanes. I can remember a few times I would spot a North Central Airlines DC-9.

     Times have changed, and so have airplanes and airports. Some aircraft very much so, as they do not even have pilots anymore. As I write, I’m watching an MQ-9 in the pattern in Fargo. However, one thing in aviation has not changed: the wonder of flight. It is the excitement one gets when you are up close; the smell, the sounds, the sights that trigger a small dose of adrenaline to run through your body.

    Ironically, not once in the past 30 years of working at the airport, had I gone out just to watch airplanes. I realized this needed to change. A week ago, I saw a couple C-130’s doing some pattern work and thought, “Let’s go check it out.” After a quick bike ride to the airport with my son, Tommy, I soon re-experienced the excitement of aviation. It is a feeling like no other, when you are at the end of a runway and an aircraft flies directly overhead. I have lived and worked in the world of aviation my whole life and somehow along the way I missed something so simple, accessible, and inspiring. 

    With minimal travel and a slower-paced life over the past few months, the extra time has helped me find a better perspective in making the most of the time I do have. It has allowed me to rediscover the wonder of flight. 

    Here is my challenge for you: create time to be a kid again, rediscover your passion for aviation, and share it with other people. Visit your local airport. Go flying! And don’t forget to bring a friend.

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