John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences

News and information from the UND John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences.

UND names Al Palmer as interim director of its UAS program

UAS Research, Education and Training (UAS Center), succeeding Jeff Kappenman, who resigned to pursue other career opportunities and be closer to family.
Palmer recently retired after serving for 10 years as director of flight operations at the UND John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Science during his 30 year-plus UND career; he also is a brigadier general and chief of staff, North Dakota Air National Guard.

“Al’s passion for the Odegard School and his commitment to our success at a time when we need his level of leadership was enough to coax him out of retirement,” said Bruce Smith, dean of the Odegard School.

Even though his time at UND was short, Kappenman made a significant impact.

“Jeff greatly enhanced the program’s credibility through his military and industry contacts,” Smith said. “His leadership helped to steer the UAS Center through a critical time in its development and we were fortunate to have him.”

Palmer joined the North Dakota Air National Guard in 1981 and served as a maintenance officer and supervisor prior to serving in several command positions including the 119th Supply Squadron, 119 Maintenance Squadron, 119th Logistics Squadron and the 119th Support Group. He is a 1984 graduate of the UND aviation program.

“I want to contribute my experience from overseeing the ND Air National Guard’s UAS mission and look forward to the challenges and opportunities of fostering this emerging sector of the aviation industry at UND,” said Palmer said.

About UAS Center:
As UAVs revolutionize the aviation industry, the opportunity exists right now for creating new aviation industry markets. The goal of this Center of Excellence is to commercialize UAVs for a vast application in the private sector, creating highly skilled and highly paid professional positions throughout North Dakota. Partnering with the Center for Innovation, The Center for UAS Research, Education and Training is positioned to introduce newly discovered technologies directly into the marketplace via partnerships with entrepreneurial companies in the Grand Forks area.


About UND Aerospace:
UND Aerospace, which includes the Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences at the University of North Dakota and the UND Aerospace Foundation (UNDAF), is an international leader in collegiate and contract aviation education and training services flying over 115,000 hours per year in over 140 aircraft. UNDAF also has facilities in Spokane, Washington, with Spokane Falls Community College; Phoenix, Arizona, in conjunction with Chandler-Gilbert Community College; and Crookston, Minnesota, with the University of Minnesota in addition to its home-base in Grand Forks, North Dakota. With more than 1,900 students from throughout the world, the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences is the second largest college at the University of North Dakota. Undergraduate and graduate programs leading to a variety of rewarding careers in aerospace are offered through five different academic departments: aviation, atmospheric sciences, computer science, earth system science and policy, and space studies. The UND Aerospace training complex is the most technologically advanced environment for aerospace education, training and research in the world.