News Release

U of M Crookston Freshman John Niemczyk, Hugo, Minn., Completes First Solo Flight

By ltollefs on
Monday, October 17, 2011

University of Minnesota, Crookston Freshman John Niemczyk, an aviation major from John Niemczyk.jpgHugo, Minn., completed his first solo flight on October 12, 2011.  Niemczyk is the first member of this fall's private pilot class at the University of Minnesota, Crookston to complete the important milestone of flying an airplane without an instructor aboard.

 In keeping with an age-old tradition, Niemczyk's shirt-tail was "trimmed" and his name and the date of first solo was inked onto the cloth, which is now posted prominently at the Crookston Airport.

The John Niemczyk2.jpgUniversity of Minnesota, Crookston's aviation program is a partnership in which aviation fundamentals are provided by the University of North Dakota (UND) Aerospace Foundation. His advisor is U of M, Crookston Chief Pilot Mike Vivion. Niemczyk's flight instructor is Carolyn Clark from UND. To learn more, visit

Today the University of Minnesota, Crookston delivers 29 bachelor's degree programs, 18 minors, and more than 40 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 more than 1,500 undergraduates from more than 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