Fourteen students from surrounding communities completed the first private pilot ground school offered at Black Hills State University. Hasina Ahmad (left), distance education coordinator at BHSU, and Robert McNew (center), certified flight instructor from Belle Fourche, present a certificate of completion to Tal Wammen from Reva.

Fourteen students from surrounding communities recently completed the private pilot ground school held at Black Hills State University. This was the first time the non-credit course has been offered at BHSU.

The 10-week course, held in conjunction with BHSU Educational Outreach and Wheels-Up Aviation, was taught by Robert McNew, a certified flight instructor with advanced ground instructor rating from Belle Fourche.

McNew, who has 40 years of flight experience and a teaching background, approached the BHSU Educational Outreach office about offering the course. He saw the promotion of aviation as a way to enhance life, promote economic growth, and advance professional development. “BHSU’s excellent academic reputation and a beautiful campus assisted in drawing interested students,” said McNew.

Participants learned about aircraft instruments, engines and systems, airports, air traffic control and airspace, aerodynamics, aviation weather, navigation, and modern avionics. Other areas of instruction included Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) flight rules, aircraft performance, aeronautical decision making, cross country flight planning, and aeromedical factors.

Successful completion of the course qualifies participants to sit for the FAA private pilot written examination, the first step in attaining a license to fly.

“Everyone seemed to have a positive experience and many have gone on to take actual flight lessons in pursuit of a personal or career goal. We have more flight students in Spearfish than we have had in many years,” said McNew.

To learn more about the course or to sign up for flight lessons, contact Robert McNew, Wheels-Up Aviation at (605) 569-0550.