Hoeven Secured Funds to Restart UND's Army ROTC Cadet Flight Training Program

Senator Supporting Helicopter Pilot Initiative at UND, Advancing Innovative Measures to Alleviate Nation’s Pilot Shortage

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee, today marked the return of the Army Flight Training program at the University of North Dakota (UND). The program provides scholarships to 15 Army ROTC cadets per year, covering the costs of flight training. UND originally operated the program for 30 years, until its funding ceased in 2010. 

Hoeven secured $4 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 for the Army to again use flight schools like UND to train ROTC helicopter pilots. This allowed the program to restart, providing an important opportunity for the university’s students and helping incentivize more cadets to train as pilots.

“The shortage of pilots doesn’t just impact the military, but is a nation-wide issue,” said Senator Hoeven. “That’s why we’ve advanced a variety of innovative approaches to help address this shortage in recent years. The flight training initiative for Army ROTC cadets is an important part of that work and helps give UND students a leg-up when they graduate and are commissioned as officers. UND is a premiere aerospace and aviation university, and it only makes sense that we would leverage its expertise in resolving this issue.”

“It’s very uplifting to see a great program like the Flight Training Program return to the University of North Dakota,” said Paul Lindseth, Dean of the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences. “This has always been a cost-effective way to train future Army aviators, and we thank Senator Hoeven and his staff for their outstanding support.”

The helicopter pilot training initiative comes as part of Hoeven’s work to alleviate the nation’s pilot shortage. His additional efforts include:

  • Securing funding in FY2018 appropriations legislation for Air Force ROTC cadets to train at flight schools like UND
  • Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Pathways Program, through which students can be recruited as air interdiction agents.
  • Passing legislation as part of the FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that allows the National Guard to send unmanned aircraft pilots to a civilian contractor for training if the Air Force lacks the capacity to train pilots in a timely fashion. 

Hoeven has consistently raised the importance of training an adequate number of pilots with administration officials, urging them to advance innovative methods to address the shortage. Hoeven outlined this priority to Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein in a Defense Appropriations Committee hearing last week. Such efforts will benefit military, public and private operations.