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  • December 01, 2022 11:05 | Anonymous

    On October 6, 2022, the 6th Annual Props & Hops event was held at the Mandan Regional Airport - Lawler Field. The event rallied local aviators and area businesses to help support long-time aviator Kelley Bethke in his battle against prostate cancer. “The event brings the community and local aviators together for a night of fun and support for our friend Kelley,” says committee member, Dean Affolter.

    This year, Props and Hops generated $17,000 in net proceeds, through ticket sales, silent auction donations, corporate sponsors, and private donors. 100% of the proceeds were passed along to the Bethke family to provide some joy and relief.

    “As a selection committee, we look every year for a way to help within our small local aviation community. Those around the Mandan Regional Airport know the good person Kelley is. We want to rally around him and his family and show him that he is not alone. Kelley is a very deserving beneficiary.” Says committee member Lyle Kinnischtzke. “We hope the community will come out to help us raise money and support his fight against cancer.” 

    The event featured regional craft and light beers, along with Mandan’s famous Robby’s ribs. Entertainment for the evening included live music, a silent auction, and a conversational aircraft static display. Special thanks to Dr. Danny and Paula VanBuskirk for bringing their T-6, Bob and Carol Simmers for bringing their C195, and Taylor Anderson with Cirrus Aircraft for bringing her SR-22 to the event! 

    Props & Hops appreciates the support from over 20 regional and aviation sponsors. Our Stein and Boot Level sponsors of $1,000 or more include Silicon Plains, Cirrus Aircraft, Signature Events, Northern Plains & Equipment-Mandan, BNC National Bank, and the Mandan Aero Center.

    Props & Hops is a state and federally registered 501c3 nonprofit organization that was founded in 2017. The organization’s mission is to bring positive attention to the aviation community by showcasing the benefits that the airport brings to local communities and raise funds for aviation related causes that are tied to Bismarck/Mandan and surrounding area. The organization designates a selection committee made up of five local aviators to determine an annual beneficiary within the surrounding aviation community. Props & Hops has been able to donate over $80,000 to selected causes over the years.


  • December 01, 2022 10:51 | Anonymous

    The 16th Annual UAS Summit and Expo was held in Grand Forks, ND, this past October. There was an excellent turnout, with over 600 attendees, more than 60 speakers, and dozens of exhibitors. 


    The UAS Summit & Expo started as a small gathering of regional stakeholders. Now, 16 years later, the event in the Northern Plains of North Dakota has become a yearly major event for UAS experts from around the world. It’s the original epicenter of drone research, earned its place as the Silicon Valley of Drones and as you’ll see from the commercial, government and military flight activity filling the sky of the Northern Plains and beyond every day, it has truly become America’s UAS proving grounds.


  • December 01, 2022 10:36 | Anonymous

    Welcome back, everyone! What an exciting past couple of months it has been for the North Dakota Aviation Association (NDAA)! We were thrilled to host the second annual Summerfest event in Williston this past August. It was a day of clay shooting and golfing for aviation enthusiasts across the state, who came together to network and raise money for scholarships. An exciting evening followed, with a steak dinner hosted by Overland Aviation and the Williston Air Show performers, who showed off their aerobatic talents the next day at the airport. It was two days of awesome events led by a great group of volunteers. 

    October brought the third annual Career Expo, held at the Fargo Air Museum in Fargo, ND. This event consists of industry leaders, exhibitors, aircraft displays, guest speakers, and of course  scholarships! The goal is to provide students with information and resources that will help them look beyond the horizon and develop a vision for their future. There were static displays of aircrafts from all aspects of the industry and numerous companies exhibiting at the event, who shared with students what their role is in aviation. In addition, we award over $13,000 in scholarships to deserving aviation students. Again, this event was led by an amazing group of volunteers, and we were thrilled to have over 170 students, instructors, exhibitors, and supporters in attendance. 

    Finally, the NDAA was honored to be recognized by the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) with the Excellence Award by a Regional Group for all the progress this organization has made over the past few years! Several members of the board attended the NBAA national conference in Orlando, FL, to receive this prestigious award. 

    We would also like to offer a huge thank you to all the hard-working volunteers and committed NDAA board members, who see all the possibilities of this industry in our great state. It also couldn’t be done without the support of every member, sponsor, exhibitor, and friend to our industry. Your continued support and participation are noticed and recognized. Preparations have already started for the 2023 Fly-ND Conference, which will be held March 5-7 in Bismarck, ND. If you have any ideas for speakers or sessions, we encourage you to reach out and share your ideas with us. We are looking forward to another great conference and hope to see you there! 

    As the new year fast approaches, I love the last few months of the year almost as much as the first day of January! The last few months feel like the best time to end the year strong and feeling prepared for the best start of the new year. It is time to start ramping up for a great start to 2023. What a perfect time to get involved and give back! What might that look like for you? Well, there are so many options to get involved in the NDAA; I hope you consider how you can make a difference! 

    Stacy & Mike Krumwiede

    NDAA Executive Director

  • November 22, 2022 14:19 | Anonymous

    Over the last year, the North Dakota Aviation Association (NDAA) has accomplished quite a bit in expanding opportunities for youth in North Dakota. Most recently, this October, the association hosted the third annual Fly-ND Career Expo at the Fargo Air Museum in Fargo, ND. This event continues to build off of the success of last year’s Career Expos, with more than 170 students attending this year’s expo. We appreciate all of the exhibitors that shared their passion for the industry with all of these students and the sponsors that helped make the event happen. 

    Students were able to hear about the industry from Karen Ruth, an A330 captain for Delta Airlines, as well as a panel of students pursuing aviation in the collegiate environment. Students were exposed to careers in a cross section of the industry including pilots, mechanics, air traffic control, military, game and fish, engineering, unmanned aerial systems, and many more. The event provided a great opportunity for the aviation community to rally together, share experiences with high school students, and network among themselves. There was great energy during the event. 

    In addition to the learning opportunities during the event, students were awarded $13,500 in scholarships. I am excited to see the scholarship opportunities for these students grow! These aviation scholarships help ease the financial burden for many students. I am constantly amazed by the donations of individual and corporate donors, and am also very pleased to see a couple of scholarship funds have now become endowed and will fund an annual scholarship. 

    Mike McHugh, Aviation Education Coordinator 

    North Dakota Aeronautics Commission

    701-328-9650 |

  • November 22, 2022 14:01 | Anonymous

    In early September, 2022, the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission (NDAC) was in attendance at the National Association of State Aviation Officials Conference (NASAO) in Greenville, SC. This is an annual gathering of state and federal aviation officials, as well as representatives from all facets of aviation, to network and discuss current and future issues within aviation. There were 33 states in attendance and this year’s theme of “Future Forward” covered a vast array of issues that impact aviation across the United States. North Dakota’s aviation team participated on multiple panels and NDAC staff member Mike McHugh received two national awards for his work on a state and national level to enhance and promote aviation education initiatives. It was a great showing from North Dakota!

    North Dakota provided a general session presentation and discussion on the implementation of the ND Statewide Beyond Visual Line of Site Network, VANTIS. Pictured from left to right: Frank Matus – Thales, Jim Cieplak – NPUAS Test Site, Kyle Wanner – ND Aeronautics, Trevor Wood – NPUAS Test Site.

    ND Aeronautics Commissioner Kim Kenville (far left) participated on a panel discussion that discussed the future aviation workforce.

    NDAC Staff member Mike McHugh received the NASAO “State Aviation Distinguished Service Award” for exceptional work throughout his career to develop and enhance aviation education opportunities throughout North Dakota and the United States. Pictured from left to right: Mike McHugh – ND Aeronautics Aviation Education Coordinator, Kyle Wanner – ND Aeronautics Commission Director

    NDAC Staff member Mike McHugh received the NASAO “Chair Award” for his work throughout the past year to provide strategic direction to the NASAO Center for Aviation Research and Education. Pictured from left to right: Tony McCloskey - NASAO Chair and Director of Aeronautics in PA, Mike McHugh – ND Aeronautics Aviation Education Coordinator

    Congratualtions, Mike! 

    Thank you for all you do for aviation in North Dakota!

  • November 22, 2022 13:51 | Anonymous

    I am excited to announce some major enhancements that have recently been made to the North Dakota Aviation Hall of Fame. Last spring, our office met with individuals from the Bismarck Air Museum Foundation and was informed that the group had made the decision to no longer pursue the establishment of a facility in Bismarck. They made the decision to donate the remainder of their funds to a project that would enhance aviation history, and the North Dakota Aviation Hall of Fame was the avenue that was chosen. I want to thank the Bismarck Air Museum Foundation for the donation and further commend them for their multi-year effort to preserve North Dakota’s history. 

    After this meeting, the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission (NDAC) staff collaborated with the North Dakota Aviation Association (NDAA) to discuss options that could be considered for improvements to the Aviation Hall of Fame. It was decided that an investment would be made into new software, which would be able to house the information, pictures, and videos of our hall of fame inductees. This software was developed and is now available to access from the Hall of Fame portion of the NDAA’s website at

    Additionally, a kiosk was purchased to house the software and further enhance the physical location of the North Dakota Aviation Hall of Fame, which is situated next to the ticket counter of the lower level at the Bismarck Airport Terminal. A new electrical hookup was provided from assistance from the Bismarck Airport and now the kiosk is a fully operational centerpiece of the room. Past visitors to the Hall of Fame have only been able to view and read the information included within each inductee’s plaque. Now, this new interactive kiosk will enhance the experience by allowing people to further dive into the history of each Hall of Famer, where pictures and videos are available. We hope that in the future, similar kiosks can be installed at our North Dakota Aviation Museums and Commercial Service Airports to help promote our state’s proud aviation history and heritage. 

    In our efforts to continually improve the Aviation Hall of Fame experience, I also want to announce that if you have pictures or videos of hall of famers that were inducted prior to 2009, we could use your help. North Dakota’s Aviation Hall of Fame was established in 1996 and currently honors 47 individuals. In 2012, we began an initiative to develop a video production for each Hall of Fame candidate and we are currently working behind the scenes with the University of North Dakota’s Aerospace Network to develop additional video materials for past hall of fame inductees. We currently have 17 videos that have been produced of the most recent hall of fame inductees. We are interested in gathering information on hall of famers that do not have current videos or pictures beyond the individual’s headshot. If you happen to have media files of past Hall of Famers that you would be willing to provide to us, please reach out to the NDAC by giving us a call at 701-328-9650 or e-mailing us at 

    Additionally, we want to make known that opportunities also exist to create scholarship endowments to honor any of our hall of fame inductees, while also helping to assist the next generation of aviators. We would enjoy working with any interested individuals that would like to help find a way to continue to share and preserve the history and heritage of these amazing individuals.

    Lastly, I invite you to spend some time to view the recent enhancements to the Hall of Fame, whether in person or online at It’s important to set aside some time to learn more about the incredible aviators that have paved the way so that all of us are able to utilize, participate, and enjoy our current aviation system.

    Wishing you smooth flying, Kyle

    Kyle Wanner, Director

    North Dakota Aeronautics Commission

    701-328-9650 |

  • November 22, 2022 13:40 | Anonymous

    Hello again to all of our readers, I hope this issue of the Quarterly finds you doing well! 

    I am very proud to announce that the North Dakota Aviation Association (NDAA) was recognized by the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) as this year’s recipient of the Outstanding Excellence by a Local or Regional Group Award winner. This award was presented to the NDAA at the annual NBAA Convention held in Orlando, FL this past October. Our organization was recognized for its hard work in transforming the Association to its current structure, for the success we have had in implementing the career expos, and the great success of our scholarship program. 

    This really is an incredible honor to be given to our organization, and with it comes many thank yous. Thank you to all of our board members, past and present, who have helped in bringing all of these ideas to fruition. Thank you to all of the volunteers on our committees that we organize throughout each year. Thank you to all of our sponsors, donors, and exhibitors. And thank you to all of the people that work hard behind the scenes to ensure the organization and all of its events go off without a hitch. THANK YOU! This award is for you and because of you!

    Thank you for making the NDAA an Outstanding Excellence organization!

    NDAA members receiving the 2022 Outstanding Excellence by a Local or Regional Group Award at the NBAA Convention in Orlando, FL.

    Justin Weninger, Chairman

    North Dakota Aviation Association

  • July 27, 2022 17:31 | Anonymous

    By Jeff Beach, Agweek

    Rain, wind, changing regulations and the lure of high commodity prices all have an effect on aerial applicators during the 2022 growing season. Jeff Beach, Agweek

    Matt Hovdenes flew his spray plane from Casselton, North Dakota, to Moorhead, Minnesota, on Monday, June 6, 2022, to visit with Agweek.

    Erratic weather, inflationary prices and changing regulations have altered the calendar for crop spraying in 2022.

    “We have a lot of different versions of wet,” said Matt Hovdenes, owner of Right Way Ag, who flies out of the Casselton, North Dakota, airport west of Fargo.

    Matt Hovdenes operates Right Way Ag, an aerial application service, out of Casselton, North Dakota. Evan Girtz / Agweek

    His own home base area in the Red River Valley, crops went in late but are sitting in pretty good shape, but to the north and west “there are areas where nothing has happened,” Hovdenes said on Monday, June 6.

    In south-central Minnesota, John Thisius farms and runs Thisius Flying Service. Planting was late there, too, but emergence, for the most part, has been good.

    But windy weather has hindered some applications and even damaged some soybean fields, forcing a few farmers to replant.

    “Some planting was still going on yesterday,” Thisius, who farms at Wells, Minnesota, near Albert Lea, said Tuesday, June 7.

    Thisius said strong winds have meant blowing dirt has damaged some soybeans, and some farmers have gone back into plant a second time right over the top of the first planting.

    Farmers with late-planted soybeans are up against a June 12 cutoff date to use dicamba, under spraying regulations updated this year in Minnesota.

    In Minnesota, there can be no dicamba applications made south of Interstate 94 after June 12. For those north of I-94, there’s no dicamba spraying after June 30.

    “It’s going to be difficult to get that dicamba put on,” Thisius said, noting that 20 miles to the south, farmers in Iowa have until June 20 to use dicamba.

    New regulations also mean chlorpyrifos is no longer available. 

    Gary Jerger is just north of I-94 near Moorhead, Minnesota. He said farmers there are sitting pretty well but you don’t have to go far to the southeast to find farmers more heavily impacted by wet fields and a couple rounds of severe storms in May.

    Even so, “I’m at least a month behind,” said Jerger, who runs Ag Spray, Inc. and is in his 48th year as an aerial applicator.

    Gary Jerger’s plane was still in its hangar on June 6, 2022, east of Moorhead, Minnesota. Jerger said he was a month behind schedule. Jeff Beach / Agweek

    Across the Red River in North Dakota, Hovdenes has been busier, putting out some cover crop to protect sugarbeets from the wind and some preemergence herbicides.

    Randy Melvin, near Buffalo, North Dakota, has used Right Way Ag this spring to apply fertilizer and herbicide to some rye that he grows for his own cover crop seed.

    “There was no way we were getting a ground rig in that ground,” Melvin said as he was planting navy beans on Tuesday, June 7.

    Progress is very scattered in North Dakota.

    Matt Hovdenes climbs into his plane on Monday, June 6, near Moorhead, Minnesota. Hovdenes runs an aerial application service called Right Way Ag in Casselton, North Dakota. Evan Girtz / Agweek

    “We have wheat that went in fairly early and we have wheat that just went in the ground two days ago,” Hovdenes said Monday, June 6. “So a lot of the applications are going to be spread out, mismatched this year. It won’t be all at once like it has been in the past.”

    He said farmers are pretty determined to get a crop in where that’s possible to take advantage of high commodity prices. But he expects some prevented planting acres that may still need weed control.

    “I would rather spray fungicide on a customer’s growing crop that they’re going to make revenue off of than go out and keep weeds out of a prevented plant field,” Hovdenes said.

    Thisius said some farmers who may be on the fence about whether or not to use a fungicide on corn are pulling the trigger this year to make sure they maximize yields to take advantage of the high prices.

    But like fertilizer, chemical herbicides and pesticides have shot up in price.

    Hovdenes said prices for some products have more than doubled and others can’t be found because of supply chain issues.

    “Some guys are changing some of their agronomic practices because of the pricing,” Hovdenes said.

    Reprinted with permission from Agweek.

  • July 27, 2022 17:26 | Anonymous

    At its recent grand opening, the Mission Network & Operations Center (MNOC) was described as integral to Vantis and the entire system’s success. Why is the MNOC so crucial to Vantis and the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) that fly on it?

    It’s everything. The MNOC provides both the brains of the system, but also its heartbeat that keeps beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) flights successfully operating, with capabilities to reach the entire state of North Dakota and beyond.


    The control center is made of displays and workstations that are monitoring real-time activities of Vantis.

    Inside the MNOC

    The MNOC, which is housed at GrandSky at Grand Forks Air Force Base, is the name for the building as a whole, but the heart of the operations is the control center. The core functionality of the MNOC is in that one room, where it monitors the critical infrastructure.

    The control center is made of displays and workstations that are monitoring real-time activities of Vantis. Operators are seeing real-time deployed operations - the actual flight tracks, flight paths and plans - taking place right now in western North Dakota. 

    The team is also seeing the health monitoring of all of the other system components. Is there a solid internet connection? Do we have all of system components online? Are the radios transmitting properly hundreds of miles away? Are they receiving the proper internet signals and are they responding?

    Operators check for radar accurately picking up targets, and to make sure the test target is always “in sight.” Monitoring all of the critical real-time activities establishes credibility and reliability with the FAA, with whom Vantis works closely. The system provides situational awareness for UAS to see and avoid other aircraft. If an emergency situation occurs or is imminent, Vantis operators can notify the appropriate air traffic control.

    The MNOC currently has eight workstations to house operators, command missions, collect data or a variety of roles simultaneously. As traffic increases, the ability to facilitate more personnel will be scalable, allowing expansion of services for a larger region.


    In the UAS Epicenter

    Being where it is, the MNOC benefits from the confluence of many UAS operations and the community in general. North Dakota is already known for being an epicenter of UAS activity, and now Vantis is helping that industry grow and thrive. 

    Another benefit of its Grand Forks location is being able to utilize the state’s high-speed fiber network, Stagenet, which connects public utilities, education, law enforcement and emergency services throughout North Dakota. One of Vantis’ strengths is taking advantage of the infrastructure and investment already made by the state in reliable, high-tech solutions. 

    Data from command and control (C2) and surveillance reach the MNOC through Stagenet, with system integrator Thales providing cloud-based components so it can be remotely monitored as well. While an individual UAS is flying, the Vantis team has the ability to continuously monitor every vital component of a flight operation, not just the aircraft itself.

    That means if a radar is down, they have the ability to restrict flight activity in that sector. Or if the C2 link is down, they will restrict aircraft from flying on that radio, keeping them in an airspace covered by the Vantis system. Without that backbone monitoring, the BVLOS operator could be flying into a hazardous situation without even knowing it.


    At the MNOC’s integration lab, operators can use a climate-controlled environment to integrate new technologies onto their aircraft and test them against a baseline system.

    Testing at the Integration Lab

    While the command center is the MNOC’s most visible function, it has another critical component located right next door. At the MNOC’s integration lab, operators can use a climate-controlled environment to integrate new technologies onto their aircraft and test them against a baseline system.

    This is the spot to try out a new technology on the aircraft, either changing the hardware or software of the UAS. The Northern Plains UAS Test Site, which administers Vantis, has long been a testing ground for UAS. The MNOC now provides a well-suited facility to get the crucial data to improve one’s aircraft and operations.

    Opening the MNOC represents the next step in BVLOS flight for North Dakota UAS operators. Its coordination keeps the entire Vantis system moving forward.

    Reprinted with permission from Vantis.

  • July 27, 2022 17:24 | Anonymous

    WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure, announced today the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) awarded a total of $1,865,085 in funding from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

    “Today’s funding from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is another win for our state. These dollars will specifically aid projects to improve North Dakota’s airports,” said Senator Cramer 

    The funding will be used to repair runways, rehabilitate hangars, reconstruct taxiways, and modernize airport infrastructure.

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