College students on the John D. Odegard College of Aerospace Sciences flew a complete of 126,000 hours from July 1, 2020 to June 30, blowing effectively previous the earlier file of 110,000 hours set in 2013. Flight operations at UND have been suspended from March by Might final yr, as the varsity responded to the coronavirus pandemic. When flight coaching resumed, college students and instructors took again to the air with a brand new set of pandemic protocols.
“This flying hour milestone is a end result of the arduous work of all of our college students, instructors, maintainers, line workers, and others,” stated Robert Kraus, aerospace dean, in a UND information launch. “Much more so, they’ve completed it professionally and safely, even beneath pandemic restrictions.”
Jeremy Roesler, chief flight teacher at UND, stated he knew the varsity was taking a look at a file setting yr, by way of flight hours. When flight operations resumed, college students wanted to get again within the air to make up for 3 months of misplaced flight time, and put their paths to commencement again on observe. College students are actually largely caught up, Roesler stated, which reveals their willpower to get again within the air. Teamwork performed a key position in making that occur safely.
“There is not one particular person or one division that’s actually answerable for this,” Roesler instructed the Herald. “It was simply the truth that all people got here collectively and we tackled this problem whereas there is a international pandemic happening, and I feel that is what’s actually phenomenal about it.”
The slowdown in business aviation meant flight instructors at UND didn’t go away to take jobs within the airline trade. Extra flight instructors have been employed to assist meet college students’ coaching wants. Earlier than the pandemic, the varsity averaged about 160. The quantity peaked at 245, to assist as many as 1,400 college students with their classes. The variety of flight instructors now sits at about 215. Some have left to take jobs in business aviation, which is trending again to pre-pandemic norms.
A gentle winter in 2020 which continued into spring, additionally performed a job in serving to aerospace college students set the brand new file for flight hours. Aviation college students made up the majority of the visitors at Grand Forks Worldwide Airport, which made the airport the busiest in the nation on a couple of event.
And college students and instructors acquired these hours completed safely, and in a number of other ways. On the well being facet, college students tailored to COVID-19 mitigation protocols, together with masking and sanitizing cockpits between flights. Brian Willis, director of aviation security, stated the rule-oriented nature of flight college students and UND’s tradition of security, helped navigate the return to flying final summer season, and the rise in hours.
“From our administration’s places of work to college students and instructors on the runway, security is all the time the precedence in how we make choices,” Willis stated.