The husband and I flew to North Dakota a couple of weekends ago for Parents’ Weekend at the boy’s school. We can’t believe it’s almost the end of his second year. By now, we’re confident he’s actually going to graduate.
Previously I’ve been reluctant to post where he goes to school, after all, he’s only 19 years old. But since he’s been up there a couple of years already, I think it’s ok. You can send him some care packages to help him get through the winters.
Though it’s technically spring when we were up there, the weather didn’t let up. The kids have certain restrictions under which they fly and when the parents were there, those weather restrictions were almost doubled.
The weather was touch and go and there were times when it appeared that the guidelines for flying were met but still the school wouldn’t let us take off. The boys decided it was because some students do silly things while their parents were in the plane – you know – the dumb freshmen. To which Kyle’s parents said, “Like you guys last year?”
How soon we forget.
So we watched the weather every second. After all, some parents came a long ways to get a flight.
All parents had to take a mandatory safety briefing and though we weren’t optimistic, the husband and I took one anyway. The student who was giving the safety briefing said his parents have never been up for aviation parents’ weekend. He is from Colorado so yes, that’s a long way and I told him so. He pointed to another set of parents in the room and said, “Well these guys came from Hawaii.”
Well, he could take consolation in knowing that his parents are paying a gazillion dollars to have him in the program.
They have a ton of airplanes.
I know I look tired in this photo. I was. I didn’t take a jacket and I felt so sorry for the boy who has to put up with nine months of winter. Look at me! I was only there two days and I was sick of the weather already.
This is a better photo of me – maybe it’s because I shouldn’t be flying fixed wing aircraft. Just a theory.
But the school’s aerospace department also has great indoor facilities. This is the building that houses the simulators, the air traffic control training and the FAA test center. There’s also a souvenir store – so guess where I was.
I know it’s hard to imagine that this great program is so far away from everything but maybe that’s why they graduate great pilots. There’s nothing else to do up there but study. There’s also a large contingency of Air China pilots and Saudi Arabia helicopter students. It’s a really a fantastic program.
The guest speaker was Brian Shul who mentioned that he was ashamed that he had no idea that UND’s program was so fantastic and how impressed he was with students and faculty. He gave a great presentation and the kids couldn’t wait to meet him.
He is a Vietnam War veteran and was seriously injured and burned over 70% of his body when he was shot down in his plane. He was able to get back on flying status and eventually flew the SR71. He’s an amazing and inspirational guy but more importantly – he’s also a great photographer! Very impressive! His books are full his own photos.
The kids know how hard it is to stay on flight status and now they know that it’s even harder to get back on flight status once it’s taken away from you. They’re hitting the gym harder after this I hope.
I’m so grateful that things have worked out the way they have. It was a long and arduous process on deciding where he should go to school and I feel that we made the right decision. Look at those boys! We’re in good hands everyone!