It’s hard to believe, but I’ve already been up here in Grand Forks for a month now studying at the University of North Dakota’s Aerospace School! Getting back into the swing of things with classes and flying has been busy, so that’s why you haven’t heard much from me recently.

So here’s a little update of what I’ve been up to…

IMG_4323The adjustment to UND policies and procedures, after having arrived with a private pilot’s certificate already in-hand, has been challenging but nothing impossible.  The hardest part in my opinion is learning the UND way of performing maneuvers and checklist procedures. To put things into context, the standardization manual for a C172S at UND is over 130 pages long – That’s a whole lot different from renting a C172 at a local FBO!

I finished the last lesson of my UND 112 level course this past week, a 7 lesson course dedicated to transitioning private pilot’s into the UND learning structure. Later this week, I have my first ever UND stage check (sort of like a checkride, which you complete after finishing a course).

But things have been really fun up here and it’s been amazing to be surrounded by hundreds of aviation majors my age, who are just as excited about flying as I am. Better yet, with so many pilots around school, I’ve already been on some pretty cool flying adventures which you’ll read more about shortly.

Be it airport hopping around North Dakota in a friend’s 1947 Luscombe, going to a friend’s ranch for a rodeo, or flying into a private grass strip for a weekend campout/hog roast with 12 other airplanes,  there’s been a ton to do around Grand Forks!

Oh yeah, and one more thing. I made the decision to co-sign a 1 year lease with three close friends on a local 1968 Cessna 172I. The four of us split insurance cost for the year, hangar costs per month, and pay a $50 dry-rate per hour of flight. The managing company of the plane takes care of maintenance responsibilities and even performs 100 hour inspections  (which aren’t technically required since the airplane isn’t being used for commercial purposes). You’ll read more about N46015 soon, but it’s been a really great (and sometimes not so great) experiencing managing an airplane for the first time.

Stay tuned for more soon!

About The Author

If you want to become a pilot, I want to make your journey just a little easier. I'm a First Officer for Envoy Air, one of the largest regional airlines in the world, and have partnered with industry leaders like the U.S. Air Force to teach about various aviation careers. For a full bio, click the "About" tab above. Use the "Contact" tab to shoot me a message.

9 Responses

  1. Bryce VanLandingham

    That’s so cool! Hope you are enjoying your time! I was just in Grand Forks for Labor Day weekend checking out the school. I had such a great time and it looks like I’ll be at UND for the class of 2020 next year!

    • Swayne Martin

      You’ll love it up here at UND for aviation. It’s a lot of work but a really good time. Feel free to shoot me an email anytime if you have questions!

  2. H. J. "Sky" Ahn

    Awww man!! You ended up going to UND huh? Should’ve joined me down here in ERAU haha x)
    Ehh, all that aside, UND is a great school. I’m happy for you!
    I hope you enjoy your journey there and good luck!!

    Sincerely, Sky

  3. Dave

    Great to read about your adventures, Swayne. I’ll be up there with my son this weekend checking things out. He will be arriving with his PPL as well. Just checking it out to make sure. Any “off the program” visits or connections you recommend?


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