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Aviation symposium brings education, discussion to North Dakota

Aviation professionals from all over the region met Monday at the The North Dakota Aviation Council Upper Midwest Aviation Symposium. Its an annual event that allows those in the industry to exchange information and ideas.

Senator Heidi Heitkamp and Congressman Kevin Cramer were in attendance to talk about the importance of aviation in the region but also answer questions from those in the industry.

Some topics included in the discussion was how those in the industry feel about Unmanned Systems and their future in the region. Others included the pilot shortage and the need for a new airport in Williston. However, a big hot button issue was the Powder River Airspace Proposal which is coming out of Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota. The proposal would extend the airbase's airspace into North Dakota, particularly western North Dakota, to allow more room for training exercises. While South Dakota is in favor of this proposal many in North Dakota are not.

"What we're trying to say is think about what is absolutely essential, not what you want, but what's essential to perform the mission," said Heitkamp. "We're a little less supportive of it here because as it reaches more into North Dakota airspace we don't benefit as much from it," said Cramer.

Governor Jack Dalrymple has declared March 2014 as Aviation Month in North Dakota.