UND Airplane Flight Training – Status Update

Flight training students-

This is an explanation of our process to determine which students are invited back to flight training and answers to many of the questions that are being asked.  This all pertains to the airplane flight training courses.

The overall student demand to return to flight training this summer is greater than we anticipated.  This is great to see.  This is a welcome challenge. 

Everyone must understand the rules and restrictions in place are for everyone’s health and safety.   We are operating under tight restrictions and need to ensure everything is done properly.  If we do not, Flight Operations may be shut down again stopping flight training for all.

The January 2020 Spring semester began with around 1,400 students on the flight schedule.  We cannot resume with everyone all at once.

We are trying to cap each flight instructor to a maximum of 4 students.  This allows for a greater frequency of flight training lowering the time needed to complete the course.  This is not be the case for AVIT 325 and AVIT 414 and explained later.

Some students are able to resume flight training right away when invited back.  Some are not and need a week or two before resuming.  This is another detail to managing this puzzle.  We cannot concentrate solely on students that are currently in Grand Forks.  If we did this promotes that everyone should immediately rush back to Grand Forks for flight training.  Everyone rushing back is not good COVID mitigation and is not desired by Flight Operations, UND, and the city of Grand Forks.

The first round of student invites back to flight training were the students enrolled in Summer semester flight courses.  The majority of these summer students require finish up flight training from the previous Fall and Spring semesters just like the vast majority of the other AVIT students.  Again, controls had to be in place to gradually bring students back to the flight line.  This initial step allowed for that.

The second round of invites were the students that applied and been approved for graduation but still need flight training.

The third round were all students from the Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 semesters that want to return and have at least 70% of their flight training complete.  These students should require the shortest calendar footprint to complete their flight training and then make room for more students.  Course clears and stage checks have begun.  This means students are beginning to complete their training.

Some students and parents have voiced frustration thinking freshman and sophomores are getting priority over the juniors and seniors.  This may appear that way, but I assure you it is not the purpose.  AVIT 325 and AVIT 414 continue to be the toughest flight labs to cover due to AVIT 325 requiring an MEI and AVIT 414 requiring the CFI meet strict FAA experience requirements.  All CFIs that teach AVIT 325 and/or AVIT 414 are over booked.  There is no room until more students complete their training.  Meanwhile the less experienced CFI has room for more work.  This is why more students in the lower courses were invited back before students in AVIT 325 and AVIT 414.

This week we invited back all AVIT 102, 323, and 415 students back to flight training that stated on the survey they want to return in June.  These courses do not require a highly experienced CFI to teach.

Many of the lower experienced CFIs are still students themselves working to complete AVIT 415.  When they do, they will be able to work with AVIT 221 and AVIT 222 students.

CFI hiring has resumed.  New CFIs originally planning to come on board in March and May will be attending new employee training in July or August.  We are planning to conduct our regularly scheduled hiring workshop in July.  More details about July hiring will be provided soon.  We have begun bringing back former CFIs for short term employment as the airline industry recovers.  These former CFIs have an MEI or AVIT 414 teaching experience.  We do expect to have a very good number of CFIs on staff this Fall.

From the student survey we have 205 students that have not taken the survey and 116 that indicated they do not intend to return for summer flight training.  All other students that responded are our focus.

To date:

  • 773 students have been invited back to flight training
  • 296 students indicated on the survey they want to return for summer flight training but have not yet been invited back.
  • The course breakdown of those 296;
    • AVIT 102:            2
    • AVIT 221:            70
    • AVIT 222:            90
    • AVIT 323:            0
    • AVIT 325:            87
    • AVIT 414:            45
    • AVIT 415:            1

The flight schedule and determining when students can return to flight training is a continuous process.  Time is needed to allow for more students to complete their training before inviting more.  This a week by week process.  We want to bring students back to flight training as soon as we can but need to ensure it is done properly and at a controlled rate.

We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding.  We are very thankful to hear engines running and see airplanes waiting at the hold short line.

Thank you everyone.

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