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CEO Corner

October 2018:

It seems like only yesterday I passed my first FAA check ride. It was a hot muggy night in August 1975 at the Hector Airport in Fargo, North Dakota.  I worked hard to gain my private pilot’s license while attending college and never thought it would be just the beginning of a lifetime journey in the world of aviation. 

That fateful night of my private pilot check ride, I was flying a powerful Cessna 150 with a 100 horsepower Continental, and it seemed like a rocket ship as I tried to keep up with everything (the aircraft). The FAA Designated Examiner sat next to me not saying much of anything.  This was a drastic change from my flight instructor, who was always nagging me about something that I was doing wrong.

Anyway, when we got out of the airplane and tied it down for the night, the examiner said to me:  “I will provide to you a license to go out and learn how to fly.”   I will never forget that night - never knowing how wise the examiner really was.

Now, some 43 “accident free” years later, with pilot ratings of Commercial, Instrument, Multi Engine, Seaplane, and CFI, I wonder “HOW HAS LIFE FLOWN BY SO FAST?”

Aviation has been a large part of my life and provided many memories to reflect on.  Our family has five FAA licensed pilots, and two of them work at the bank in the aviation lending division as of today (read “future” between the lines).

As with many aviation families, we took many trips in the family airplane(s) and have stories to tell about some of those trips in future “CEO Corner” articles.

The most important part of any hobby or occupation is to “Keep it Fun and Interesting.”  This all began back in 1994 when I was working at the Red River State Bank (yes, the same bank as today) and I thought it would be interesting to bring my passion for flight and aviation to work, and begin lending money on private airplanes.  What more could I ask for than to be able to “LIVE MY DREAM OF FLIGHT AT WORK.”

Now, thousands of aircraft loans later, we are still providing aircraft loans to the first time aircraft owner, corporate owned airplanes, seaplanes, experimental aircraft, agriculture aircraft, and even a few warbirds.  We never lost sight of our original mission, which is the same as our local airport mission statement “TO KEEP FLYING FUN!”

After serving on the local airport authority for 30 years, I have to laugh looking back to realize you also agree to be a full time lawn mower, runway lighting repairman, snow removal operator, and master sprayer of the weeds around everyone’s hangar, never expecting to get paid or a thank you for a “Job well Done”.  All knowing:  “This why aviators are such great people”.

It is not all work, and I was able to locate this old photo of “We might actually go flying one day” taken years ago in a Piper J3.  We were all much younger in those days gone by.  Names and ages to be disclosed later.