In a pact that reinforces the region’s leadership in a growing global industry, the University of North Dakota and Northland Community & Technical College (NCTC) today signed a memorandum of agreement that joins two national leaders in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) education, research, and training.
UND President Robert Kelley and NCTC President Anne Temte inked a five year MOA that commits them to much closer collaboration in the preparation of UAS pilots, sensor operators, and the technicians who will be essential to keeping aloft those unmanned birds and their complex systems.
“This is an exciting day for us,” said Kelley during the signing ceremony at UND Aerospace headquarters in Odegard Hall. “I am delighted that this has come to pass, and I am enthusiastic about our UAS initiatives.”
There was plenty of excitement to go around.
“It’s unprecedented for two states to collaborate like this,” said Temte. “I have thoroughly enjoyed the warmth, support, and enthusiasm from UND as we (NCTC) have developed into this field.”
With the impetus of UND’s UAS programs, NCTC has received a total of $10 million in federal grants to facilitate the building of the its one-of-a-kind UAS maintenance program. Now, with the UND-NCTC collaborative agreement in place, the stage is set for ongoing development of UAS programs at both schools, Kelley and Temte said.
Under the agreement, NCTC will become affiliated with UND’s Center for Unmanned Aircraft System Research, Education and Training (UAS Center). NCTC is at the forefront of UAS development as evidenced by offering the first UAS Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic degree program in the U.S. UND’s John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences offers the first Bachelor of Science degree in UAS operations, training both pilots and sensor operators.
This energized spirit of cooperation will help both organizations enhance their reputation as a nexus of UAS activity worldwide, including airspace initiatives to allow more time in the air for the aircraft associated with these programs.
The UND UAS Center provides a vehicle for convenient collaboration with Grand Forks AFB and the Fargo Air National Guard, each designated UAS bases. The UAS Center maintains a presence as a tenant at Grand Forks AFB where it owns and operates the UND/L-3 UAS Training Center, an advanced Predator simulator. L-3 developed and produces the simulators used in the center’s training programs. The Center has collaborated in research and development with numerous other private sector partners including Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Atomics, Goodrich, Crew Training International (for MQ-9 courseware for use by USAF) and the Mayo Clinic for a Flight Medicine Residency incorporating UAS training.
The collaboration between UND and NCTC in the emerging field of unmanned aircraft systems, through NCTC’s affiliation with the UAS Center, will bring great benefit to both institutions and to the region. Each institution brings complementary areas of excellence to the partnership.
Additionally, this agreement underscores the broader cooperation within each institution across multiple disciplines, not just aviation, including nursing. medicine and health sciences, engineering, psychology, and business, just to name a few.
UND UAS Center http://www.uasresearch.com/home.aspx
NCTC UAS program
UND John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences
Juan Miguel Pedraza, writer/editor
UND Office of University Relations