News Release

U of M Crookston Freshman Derek Cox, Walker, Minn., Completes Student Solo Flight on October 26, 2011, at the Crookston Municipal Airport

By ltollefs on
Monday, October 31, 2011

IMG_1958.jpgDerek Cox, an aviation major at the University of Minnesota, Crookston, recently completed his student solo flight at the Crookston Municipal Airport. The Walker, Minn., native is a freshman and completed his solo flight on Wednesday, October 26, 2011. His advisor is Mike Vivion, chief pilot on the Crookston campus.

The significance of the first student solo flight cannot be overemphasized.Landing an aircraft involves very difficult and complex eye-hand coordination. A student pilot begins flight training by learning a wide variety of tasks of which landing is one of the most difficult.  As flight training progresses, the ability to solo is largely predicated upon the flight instructor's assessment of the student's landings. Consistency is critical and sometimes one of the most difficult to achieve as even the best pilot can attest.

Around the middle of a private pilot's flight training, the instructor flies with the student IMG_1952.jpghaving him/her land. The instructor will exit the airplane and endorse the student pilot certificate and logbook for solo. With that designation, the budding aviator is sent off for three trips around the traffic pattern each followed by that all important landing.

The University of Minnesota, Crookston's aviation program is a partnership in which aviation fundamentals are provided by the University of North Dakota (UND) Aerospace Foundation. To learn more, visit
Today the University of Minnesota, Crookston delivers 26 bachelor's degree programs, 18 minors, and 36 concentrations, including 10 online degrees, in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology.  With an enrollment of 1,600 undergraduates from 25 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree.  "Small Campus. Big Degree."  To learn more, visit