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September 21, 2023

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Partnership takes aviation program to new heights

The University’s aviation department has joined a new partnership with North Star Aviation, Inc.

Beginning in fall, North Star Aviation Inc. will provide flight instruction to aviation students and will operate and own the training department at the Bowling Green Flight Center.

In addition, the Flight Center will build a new hangar and classroom space. The University will continue to oversee the program.

The change has been in the planning stage for over a year and a contract was signed in February.

North Star Aviation, Inc. is based in Mankato, Minn., and is a general aviation company that provides an array of services to its customers and their aircraft.

Venu Dasigi, interim dean for the College of Technology, Architecture and Applied Engineering said the privatization of flight operations was “prompted by the desire to increase quality” of education and experience within the aviation department.

Some of the things that are happening as a result of the partnership include refurbished planes, a new hangar, more flying opportunities and improved simulators.

Junior Dominic Suboyu, a student in the aviation department, said he is excited about the change.

“North Star is a great company that I believe can assist in the growth and prestige of our already great flight school,” Suboyu said.

Dasigi said the University saw “a great potential” in the partnership with North Star, Inc. and that it was viewed as a way “to offer a much better service for the students.”

The fact that the company has experience in another state [they have a similar partnership with Minnesota State University] as well as knowledge and experience with the Federal Aviation Administration was a major plus, Dasigi said.

Senior Joe Rehm is currently working on his Flight Instructor rating and said that he has seen many positive changes from the partnership so far.

“I’m also looking forward to the possibility of a new facility including a hangar and classroom space,” Rehm said.

As for negatives, Rehm said there are “very few” but he does not like that the number of aircraft will be downsized from nine to six.

Overall, the partnership is expected to aid students and staff in more ways than one. Dasigi said this partnership is “allowing us to focus on academics much better.”

Now that North Star, Inc. is taking charge with regards to planes and facilities, instructors are able to give more attention to the education that the students will receive inside the classroom.

While the partnership has the opportunity to bring positive changes to the University and its aviation program, Dasigi said that this will not result in a hike in costs to the students.

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