John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences

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John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences
Unodak aero clifford hall.jpg
John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences - Clifford Hall
Established 1982
Dean Bruce Smith
Chair Elizabeth Bjerke
Students 1,500
Location Grand Forks, North Dakota, USA

The John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences (UND Aerospace) is a part of the University of North Dakota (UND) in Grand Forks, North Dakota. The school was formed in 1968. The school's fleet of 120 aircraft is based at nearby Grand Forks International Airport and is the largest fleet of civilian flight training aircraft in North America. Today, the school has many aerospace-related programs including commercial aviation, air traffic control, and airport management, Space Studies, Computer Science, and Atmospheric Sciences.[1] Currently, the school has over 500 faculty and 1,500 students making it the second largest of UND’s degree-granting colleges. The present dean of the school is Bruce Smith.


John D. Odegard started the program in 1968 with only two donated aircraft and one other faculty member besides himself. Over time, the program was able to purchase more aircraft and grew dramatically in the number of students enrolled. In 1982, the Center for Aerospace Sciences was established as a result of the growth of UND’s atmospheric research and aviation education programs. In 1997, as part of a 30th anniversary celebration, the school took on its present name in honor of its founder.

The founder of the aviation program at UND, John D. Odegard, logged over 10,000 hours of flight time in his life and was licensed for commercial flight and instrument operations. He was type-rated in Cessna Citations, Learjet, and Beechjet, as well as being a CFI and certified examiner for commercial, instrument, tailwheel, multiengine, and Citation type-ratings. Having broken the sound barrier in the Concorde (as a passenger) and having flown as a crop-duster to help pay for college, Odegard was no stranger to the varied envelopes of flight. He was quite familiar with the many aspects of aviation and his vision for a well-rounded school which trains pilots in all aspects of flight helped the aviation program at UND become what it is today. Odegard died of cancer in 1998 at the age of 50. He is buried in Grand Forks, less than a mile away from the UND campus.


UND Aerospace maintains facilities including 360 degree air traffic control tower simulators, a remote learning classroom, and a wireless network that is available throughout the entire aerospace complex on the main campus and in any of the buildings at the airport. Funding for additional buildings has already been secured.

Main campus[edit]

All School of Aerospace Sciences facilities on the main UND campus are connected by a series of skyways. Buildings here include Odegard Hall, Clifford Hall, Ryan Hall, and Streibel Hall.[2] The complex also includes several other buildings including the Center for Entrepreneurship and the Skalicky Tech Incubator.

Odegard Hall is the main building in the School of Aerospace Sciences complex on campus and was the first of the four buildings to be built. The building houses classrooms, the main office of the School of Aerospace Sciences, a full-motion spatial disorientation simulator, an altitude chamber (used to teach flight students about the effects of various human factors in flight), as well as other specialized laboratories. The centerpiece of the main floor is the 200-seat Arthur P. Anderson Atmospherium Planetarium and Lecture Bowl. The second floor hosts many of the School's administrative offices and the Regional Weather Information Center. Connected to Odegard Hall by a large, windowed room is Streibel Hall which is home of UND's Computer Science department.

Clifford Hall houses the Atmospheric Science department, the Space Studies Department, the UAS Center administrative offices, the Upper Midwest Aerospace Consortium, and the Scientific Computing Center. Dedicated in May 1992, it is the newest addition to the aerospace complex on the Main Campus. The main floor hosts much of UND Aerospace's computing power as well as UND's 360-degree visual Air Traffic Control Tower simulator. Centered on top of Clifford Hall is UND's Polarimetric Doppler Radar used by the Atmospheric Sciences Department.

Ryan Hall is home to UND's flight simulators, including one Piper Warrior flight training device, four Piper Seminole flight training devices, five Cessna 172 flight training devices, a Schweizer 300 Helicopter flight training device and a Canadair Regional Jet FAA Level 6 flight training device which is used to provide a basic introduction to turbine engine systems as well as to prepare graduate students for the pace of airline training. In addition, there are various simple instrument panel trainers, a basic instrument simulator CBI lab and a FAA Written Test Center, and a pair of air traffic control tower simulators. Finally, Ryan Hall is home to the remote classroom and several state of the art digital classrooms.


The Grand Forks International Airport campus consists of the dispatch office where students request aircraft and are assigned to practice areas.[3] The dispatch office opens out onto Bravo Ramp where the Seminoles, Arrows,and Decathlons are based. It also connects directly to the display hangar where aircraft not in use are sometimes kept. There 12 heated hangars lining Bravo and Charlie Ramp all owned by UND. These hangars are capable of housing up to 130 aircraft. South of Charlie Ramp is UND's newest hangar, which houses dispatch, flight planning, and general hangar space for the helicopter department. North of Charlie ramp is UND's Flight Operations Administrative building which contains offices for UND Aerospace's Helicopter Department, the Standards and Publications Departments, Administrative offices and a cafeteria.


UND currently operates a fleet of 104 aircraft including 90 airplanes, 14 helicopters, and 9 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV's). The majority of these aircraft are based at Grand Forks International Airport with the remainder located at various satellite campuses throughout the United States.[4] The fleet is primarily made up of 62 Cessna 172 Skyhawks equipped with the Garmin G1000 glass cockpit avionics suite. Currently the Skyhawks are used to teach students the fundamentals of aviation and instrument as well as the more advanced Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) and Certified Flight Instructor - Instrument (CFII) courses. UND Aerospace took delivery of its first Skyhawk, tail number N511ND, in 2008 as a replacement of the earlier Piper PA-28 Warrior III fleet. UND Aerospace always tries to provide new, technologically advanced aircraft to its students. UND modified its fleet to include the Cessna 172 aircraft after Piper discontinued producing new Piper Warrior III's.

In addition to the Skyhawks, UND owns 5 Piper PA-28R Arrows with retractable gear and constant-speed propellers which allows CFI candidates to obtain their complex endorsement and fly on conventional "steam gauge" instruments. Students utilize 15 Piper PA-44 Seminoles in order to obtain their multi-engine commercial pilot certificates.

Rounding out the fleet, UND Aerospace's Flying Team practices in 3 Cessna 150's. These aircraft were the original aircraft used for pilot training by Odegard. Aerobatic and spin training is provided in 2 American Champion Super Decathlons. Contract students from Air China fly 2 of the University's King Air aircraft, a BE-90B. Lastly, the Atmospheric Sciences Department employs a Cessna Citation II for weather and atmospheric research.

Helicopter training is primarily accomplished in 10 Schweizer 300B two-seat helicopters. Rotorcraft students also receive training in the fleet's 4 Bell 206B III turbine four-seat helicopters.

As of September 2011, the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) department employs nine aircraft for various missions including three CropCam, two Ravan, two Scan Eagle, one Draganflyer, and one Telemaster UAV's. Along with the aircraft, the university provides realistic ground training in UAV flying with its two Reaper, one Predator, and one Scan Eagle flight training devices (FTD).

Past aircraft included various Piper and Cirrus aircraft. Prior to the arrival of the Cessna 172 Skyhawks, UND's primary fleet consisted of a combination of glass and conventional-gauge Piper Warrior III's which were the primary workhorses of the UND fleet from 1989 to 2010. The last conventional-gauge Warrior was retired in March 2010. On March 28, 2008, UND Aerospace took delivery of a new Cessna Citation Mustang business jet. However, the school sold it in order to purchase a second King Air[5] The school also was given a Piper PA-12 Supercruiser that was overhauled to provide students another aircraft to practice tailwheel landings.

The current UND Aerospace fleet includes the following aircraft (as of March 2012):

Historical UND Aerospace Fleet has included the following aircraft:

  • Beechcraft Baron BE58 (N??ZM, N3255U later became N555ND)
  • Beechcraft Beechjet 400A
  • Beechcraft King Air (Owned by local business)
  • Beechcraft Premier I (Owned by local business)
  • Beechcraft 1900
  • Cessna 150H
  • Cessna 172 Amphibious
  • Cessna Grand Caravan Amphibious (Owned by local business)
  • Cessna Mustang
  • Diamond Aircraft A-1 Katana DA20-A1
  • Diamond Aircraft C-1 Katana DA20-C1
  • Diamond Aircraft Katana Motorglider DV20-A1
  • Douglas DC-3 (Delivered October, 1968)
  • Douglas DC-8 DC-8-72 (Owned and operated with NASA Dryden Research Facility) (N817NA)
  • Piper Cadet PA28-161
  • Piper SuperCub PA-18-150 (N66ND)
  • Piper CubCrafters CC18-180 Amphibious (N18ND)
  • Piper Cheyenne II PA-31T (N25ND)
  • Piper Warrior III PA28-161
  • Schweizer Glider SGU 2-22CK (N5952V)
  • Cirrus SR-20


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 47°55′18″N 97°05′07″W / 47.92167°N 97.08528°W / 47.92167; -97.08528