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Flight Training Assistance Program (FTAP)

Justification and History

The North Dakota Aeronautics Commission (Commission) has determined, from pilot statistics compiled by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), that in the past three decades, the number of licensed pilots in North Dakota (ND) has declined from 4,095 to 3,207, a percentage decrease of 22%. The FAA statistics further indicate a disproportional decrease of licensed pilots between rural and urban areas of ND.

The Commission is advised that at least some of the explanation for the disproportionate decline of licensed pilots in rural areas is the lack of availability of flight instruction at a cost comparable to the rates offered in urban areas. The higher price can be attributed largely to the cost of transportation incurred by the flight instructor while commuting to and from a rural airport.


The North Dakota Century Code states, in part, that the Commission shall “Cooperate with and assist … the municipalities of this state … in the development and coordination of all aeronautical activities,” which has been interpreted to include the making of grants for educational purposes. The Commission finds that grants that would facilitate the availability of flight instruction in rural areas of North Dakota is a proper and appropriate function of the Commission in the administration of its educational grants.

Flight Training Assistance Program

The intent of the Flight Training Assistance Program (FTAP) is to help defray additional student costs as a result of the direct transportation expenses incurred by commuting flight instructors. FTAP will be offered to public use airports which meet the following criteria:

  • The airport is currently not adequately served by an active flight instructor, AND/OR
  • The airport does not have an aircraft available for instructional purposes.

Commuting flight instructors are not required to be North Dakota residents, but primary instruction must be performed at a North Dakota public use airport. Instructors are eligible for reimbursement of transportation costs incurred while traveling to and from their based airport (via aircraft or motor vehicle) as well as meal and lodging expenses. These expenses are limited to the amounts authorized by state law.

In order for an airport to comply with the FTAP program requirements, the following must be in place before a state reimbursement is processed:

  • A written agreement is formulated between the airport and the flight instructor.  This agreement will request the local airport to pay 100% of transportation, meal, and lodging costs incurred by the commuting flight instructor.  The Aeronautics Commission will reimburse the airport for 75% of eligible costs.
  • A submission of the FTAP application form.  Participating airports must complete and re-submit the application form on a yearly basis.
  • A minimum of 3 hours of flight instruction per instructional visit must be attained. This minimum instruction time is not limited to 1 student.

Grant Application

The Commission will make available to the governing body of all eligible airports the grant application, which outlines the details of FTAP. Once submitted and approved, requested grant payments should be submitted via a grant payment voucher and will be computed at a rate of 75% pursuant to state guidelines. Grant checks will be made payable to the airport and mailed to the airport’s designated representative. Click here to see an example of an airport-instructor agreement (required for your application).

Aeronautics Commission Contact

Telephone/Fax 701.328.9650/9656