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Professional Pilot Training

by John M. White |

Today has been an interesting day as I interviewed Dana D. Siewert, Director of Aviation Safety, at the University of North Dakota. This interview will be published as a podcast on this website shortly, so be sure and look for it. As today's pilot age, the need for well-trained pilots will increase, and finding well qualified pilots will become a challenge for many companies as the economy recovers. It may seem strange that a large flight program associated with a University located in North Dakota would be one of the largest professional aviation training universities, but because of the dedication of a former student and dean, John D. Odegard, the University of North Dakota's School of Aerospace Sciences has become one of the premier aviation training programs in the country. Today the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace has more than 1,200 students, with over 600 learning to fly at any one time. And for parents, the level of training and degree of commitment to safety is nothing short of exceptional. University of North Dakota As Dana and I talked I was impressed with how the culture of safety is completely integrated into all the training conducted at the school, starting with the very first encounter with the aviation program and continuing throughout the course of study. With over 100 aircraft and flying in excess of 100,000 hours per year, safety of students and staff are a high priority at the university. As new purchases of replacement aircraft are considered, a committee is assigned the responsibility for making the right choice of new aircraft and after market equipment, with safety as the first consideration at all times. Soon the university will be replacing its present fleet with new Cessna Skyhawk aircraft, and one of the main considerations is the AmSafe Air Bag Seat Belt restraint system which functions much like the air bags in automobiles, and have been responsible for reducing serious injuries resulting from accidents. Because of this the university enjoys an enviable safety record, and continues to work to improve as new tools are made available. For example, after-market equipment like the Appareo Vision 1000 "black box" technology is being examined as an add-on to the aircraft in the fleet. This equipment would allow instructors to download the flight data from a particular flight and examine how well both pilot and aircraft are performing. As the university becomes aware of new and innovative safety devices it considers them for its fleet of aircraft. It is no wonder that the school enjoys a superior reputation for training our next generation of pilots. Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 In flying I have learned that carelessness and overconfidence are usually far more dangerous than deliberately accepted risks. — Wilbur Wright in a letter to his father, September 1900

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