UND Aerospace College Hosts Upcoming Events in April

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Kelsie Hildebrand, General Reporter

UND offers the most robust aviation major in the nation, so it is only fitting that the UND Aerospace College celebrates its credibility by showing it off to the community. There are many events held throughout the year by the Aerospace College, but there is something special about April this year. 

The University of North Dakota is hosting their fourth Aerospace Community Day on April 2nd, 2022 and is free and open to all ages throughout the Grand Forks community. “Tour the facilities and stamp your Aerospace Passport at various hands-on stations, fly spacecraft and aircraft stimulators, and experience the thrill at UND Aerospace,” the University of North Dakota said. 

Courtney Olson is the event coordinator for Aerospace College and claims it gets a little bit easier each year to coordinate. Community Day started out as an annual event, but the planning takes a lot of time and effort, so Olson and team decided to host every two years. 

“Grand Forks Airport brings over a couple different pieces like their big snowplows so kids can see the scale of how big things are,” Olson said. “We typically have an Archer, Seminole and one of our helicopters on display so the kids can sit in and get a feel for what it is like to be a pilot.” The college has four departments involved being Aviation, Earth Systems Science and Policy, Atmospheric Sciences, and Space Studies, so the event is not just for Aviation students. 

Community Day began in 2018 for the 50th anniversary of the Aerospace College when the Associate Dean had the idea to set up their college like a pop-up museum for the community. 

“We get a lot of inquiries throughout the community and even people hours away wanting to bring school classes over for tours, and this is a great way we can open the college on an off-business day,” Olson said. “We are also not interfering with our students learning, so it is a great day to open our doors to the community because we are not always able to accommodate the individual requests or tours.”

For the first time since 2019 due to Covid, Aviation Family Weekend, April 21st to April 24th, will occur with the first two days hosted by SAMA Aviation Services. These days include conferences and workshops by industry speakers to inform anyone seeking to learn more about Aviation.

Alpha Eta Rho, a professional co-ed fraternity, oversees the family sign-ups for family flying where students get to take their families up in the UND planes. Students can fly by themselves with their families, without an instructor, if they are certified correctly. 

“We have about 15 planes in reserve dedicated to this event and all the spots have filled up with more trying to sign up still,” President of Alpha Eta Rho Judy Nguyen said. “Family flying is the big attention getter because we have a lot of people outside of North Dakota come to UND for flight school, which Alpha Eta Rho hosts safety briefings for.”

There is a pancake breakfast, lunches, displays and airplanes for viewing, and the scholarship banquet which is open to the public like the conferences and workshops, which shuttles are provided from Ryan Hall in Odegard to the airport.

“This event serves as a boasting event for the student pilots because not a lot of people can do this because you have to maintain your grades and stuff,” Nguyen said. “It is rewarding for the pilot to show their family what they can do.”

Kelsie Hildebrand is Dakota Student General Reporter. She can be reached at [email protected]