UND Lauds New Federal Law on Air Traffic Control Hiring Practices

For the past two years, Paul Drechsel, assistant chair for the University of North Dakota Air Traffic Control Program, has been on a mission to make the road to becoming an air traffic controller (ATC) a little less bumpy.

Photo courtesy of UND Archives
Photo courtesy of UND Archives

That’s why Drechsel, an associate professor of aviation at UND’s John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, is lauding recently signed legislation out of Congress. The new law reverses federal aviation hiring policies that, in a sense, would have diminished a degree from certified ATC training institution such as UND. Read more

Senator Working with NASA, FAA to Advance UAS in North Dakota

Preparing for takeoff, a Predator goes through preflight checks at the new General Atomics UAS Flight Training Academy at the Grand Sky UAS Business and Aviation Park. Photo: UAS Magazine
Preparing for takeoff, a Predator goes through preflight checks at the new General Atomics UAS Flight Training Academy at the Grand Sky UAS Business and Aviation Park. Photo: UAS Magazine

U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., last week revealed that he is working with NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to create additional opportunities for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in North Dakota, home to one of six FAA-approved UAS test sites.

Hoeven spoke in Grand Forks, North Dakota, at two events. On July 28, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. made its first flight with a Predator launched from the company’s new UAS Flight Training Academy at the Grand Sky UAS Business and Aviation Park. On July 26, the University of North Dakota dedicated a new aerospace education facility to serve its UAS Center of Excellence.

Hoeven said he’s working with the FAA and has spoken to agency administrator Michel Huerta about obtaining a statewide certificate of authorization (COA) to allow beyond visual-line-of-sight flying for UAS above 10,000 feet through the Northern Plains UAS Test Site. The approval could come before the end of the year, according to Hoeven. Read more

Aerospace Earns High FAA Safety Ranking


An instructor performs a pre-flight check

The John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences has received notification from the Federal Aviation Administration that congratulates UND as having an accepted Safety Management System (SMS).

The FAA stated, “The Federal Aviation Administration congratulates UND on this significant accomplishment in implementing a fully functional SMS in accordance with international requirements.  Congratulations on your momentous achievement.” Read more

The UAS Classroom

Unmanned aerial systems newspaper and magazine articles plaster the bulletin board in Al Palmer’s office at the end of the fall semester at the University of North Dakota.

UND UAS

“Every article written about UAS is on the bulletin board,” says Palmer, UND Center for UAS Research, Education and Training director. By the end of the academic year, the UAS stories will be pinned to the bulletin board two or three deep, a testimony to the breadth of UND’s unmanned aircraft systems research and development.

The strength of UND, which offers a bachelor’s degree in unmanned systems, is sense and avoid and pilot training, Palmer says. The university is part of six UAS test sites that are charged by the Federal Aviation Administration with helping integrate UAS into the national air space. Read more

ASSURE Updates UAS Industry on Research Efforts, Future Plans

The Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE) consists of 22 schools and 107 companies working on UAS research. PHOTO: ASSURE
The Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE) consists of 22 schools and 107 companies working on UAS research. PHOTO: ASSURE

Several members of the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE) provided updates this week on their collective efforts to solve the biggest issues facing the emerging unmanned aircraft systems industry at a long-running UAS event held in New Mexico. Read more

Major UAS Manufacturers Share Plans, Visions

Three of the big hitters among UAS manufacturers and operators—Northrop Grumman, General Atomics and Textron Systems—shared some of their plans, insights and visions with attendees of the 9th Annual UAS Summit and Expo in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Doug Davis, Northrup Grumman director of airworthiness, spoke on the technical challenges and needs of integrating UAS into the national airspace. Dan Fritz, director of international programs for General Atomics, provided details on the company’s plans for a UAS training academy at the Grand Sky UAS park adjacent to the Grand Forks Air Force Base. David Phillips, vice president small and medium-endurance UAS for Textron Systems Unmanned Systems, discussed the company’s efforts to transition from the military to commercial UAS market. Read more

Team Deploys Unmanned Aircraft at Public Airport

The University has successfully deployed an unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) from the Lakota, N.D., airport.

Unmanned aircraft

This was the first time UND  has conducted UAS operations from a public general aviation airport.

The flight test was conducted in connection with North Dakota’s Northern Plains Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site (NP UAS TS), designated as such by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 2014. The aircraft was a Northrup Grumman SandShark. Read more