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New North Dakota University Program Tailored to Business Aviation

February 25, 2013

Hear an NBAA Flight Plan to learn more about specialized courses in business aviation being offered at the University of North Dakota.

If you could go back to school and focus your education on courses that help you specifically in your aviation career, what would you take?

The Department of Aviation at the University of North Dakota’s John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences has been asking that question of its students for years now, and their answers sparked a change in the course offerings at UND, resulting in a concentration of study focused on business aviation.

UND has offered a bachelor’s degree in aviation management since 1968, but the new courses give students an opportunity to specialize.

“It was created for somebody who has targeted business aviation as a career choice,” said department Chairman Kent Lovelace, who also sits on the governing board of NBAA’s Certified Aviation Manager program. “In the survey, roughly 50 percent of the student body wanted course work in that area.”

The business aviation specialization requires 16 credit hours, including courses in aviation Insurance, fleet planning and aircraft acquisition, marketing and management concepts for entrepreneurship and accounting and financial concepts for entrepreneurship.

“We are short on new blood in business aviation and that problem is getting worse. What this [course of study] does is better prepare students to move into the business aviation community and make a greater contribution sooner,” Lovelace explained.

The bulk of the new offerings will be available in the fall 2013 semester, he said. The classes have been developed with extensive input from the school’s industry advisory board to ensure their relevancy to today’s marketplace.

Lovelace pointed to the aviation insurance course as one of the most fascinating in the new curriculum, given its applications both in aviation business and in safety management. To that end, he said, UND is also offering Safety Management System (SMS) courses based on the early adoption of that concept by the business aviation community.

The fleet planning and aircraft acquisition class teaches students how to analyze the needs of a flight department based on its stated mission, and put that analysis to work in the selection of aircraft for purchase or lease. Included in the topics for instruction are finance options, insurance coverage and fleet management.

“Both the fleet management and insurance courses were prepared by folks with real-world experience,” Lovelace noted.

Who will take these courses? Lovelace believes it will be the next generation of business aviation leaders.

“People who have this kind of background will one day be running this industry,” he said. “We already have graduates in top positions within the industry. That’s a trend that will continue. These are the people who will inherit the whole industry.”