Did you know that Bismarck Public Schools has its own aviation program?
For about 30 years, BPS has provided students with the opportunity to begin their dreams early on becoming certified pilots.
“The aviation program is not necessarily about flying, but it becomes a number of careers. They could explore the field of aviation. But the other thing we do, is we do let them fly. Every student gets a chance to fly in the airplane,” said Dale Hoerauf, BPS Career and Technical Education Director.
Located at the career academy on the Bismarck State College campus, the program aims to guide students into the field of aviation.
Students could even become certified pilots when they graduate.
“Aviation 1, it prepares them for the FA written test. And it also doubles, prepares them for the 107 drone test. Lot of it is the same information, just learning differences. In Aviation 2, we get more in-depth like engineering concepts, advanced aerodynamics,” explained Brad Stangeland, the Aviation and Technology Instructor.
The students not only have the chance to become pilots but can also pursue a career in drone operations.
“It’s a potential career path for them too. Because like right now you only have to be 16 years old to become a professional 107 drone pilot working for like real estate or taking pictures for somebody,” shared Stangeland.
Now school board members just recently approved the purchase of a Cessna 150 airplane for the program, allowing students to have more opportunity to fly and save money.
“A lot of students can’t afford paying the rent of an airplane. So the really helps out a lot. Plus we also get the mechanical side. We get to see how the airplane works. It helps us understand. And when you see the mechanical side as being a pilot, it helps you understand if something does go wrong. You understand how it works and how you can troubleshoot it when you’re flying and stuff like that,” shared aviation student Casey Wetzel.
Williston, Fargo and Minot all have their own aviation programs in their school districts, but Bismarck is unique because they’ll have their own plane.