It’s National Aviation History Month and North Dakota has many ways to celebrate. Take time to explore our stories and displays about North Dakota’s past, present and future in the air and beyond.
North Dakota is destined to be a player in the future of space travel and airborne services. Already a leader in unmanned aerial systems (UAS), North Dakota is playing a role in the future of space travel as well. See the display at the North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum (https://statemuseum.nd.gov) explaining our work in developing a space suit for a Mars expedition. That work is cutting edge, just like the exploits of Carl Ben Eielson in the early 1900s.
Eielson was an aviation pioneer recognized for his achievements in aviation at the Eielson Museum (http://hattonmuseum.com) in Hatton. Eielson was the first man to fly over the North Pole from Barrow, Alaska, to Spitsbergen, Norway, in 1928. His Fokker airplane and other artifacts are on display at the museum.
For displays on a larger scale, visit the Fargo Air Museum (www.fargoairmuseum.org) and Dakota Territory Air Museum (www.dakotaterritoryairmuseum.com) in Minot. The Fargo Air Museum includes warbirds like the WWII-era P-51 Mustang, Focke-Wulf Fw 190 Wurger and B-25 Mitchell and a modern Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial surveillance aircraft. Displays change often as planes routinely fly in or leave the museum. Dakota Territory Air Museum has indoor and outdoor displays of vintage military and civilian aircraft and is a short takeoff and landing from Minot Air Force Base (www.minot.af.mil), one of the state’s two Air Force bases. The other is Grand Forks Air Force Base (www.grandforks.af.mil). Each base allows tours with advance notice. Aviation fans may also enjoy guided tours of flight simulators and air traffic control labs at the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences (https://aero.und.edu/) on the UND campus in Grand Forks.
For those who want to see the lights of the city from above, Executive Air Taxi (www.executive-air.com/sightseeing-flights) in Bismarck, Minot Aero Center (https://minotaerocenter.com/flight-instruction/ and Fargo Jet Center (www.fargojet.com/flight-school) will take you into the friendly skies.