Fred Adams and Gary Ness to be inducted into North Dakota Aviation Hall of Fame

Gary Nessedit.jpg The North Dakota Aviation Hall of Fame committee announces the names of two individuals that were recently selected to be inducted in the ND Aviation Hall of Fame. The induction will take place on March 8th at the Upper Midwest Aviation Symposium banquet in Bismarck, ND.

Fred Adamsedit.jpg Fred Adams (left) and Gary Ness (at right) will join the prestigious aviation hall of fame group that currently includes 39 individuals who have all had a significant impact to aviation in North Dakota.

Gary Ness – Gary’s interest in aviation began in the baggage compartment of an Aeronca Champ, as his father, Oscar, gave flight instruction in Fargo during the summer of 1946. Interest continued at the Walhalla airport, when he listened as his father integrated the new business of aerial application into the local farming community.

Traditionally soloing on his sixteenth birthday and working in the family aerial operation at the Lisbon airport, Gary gained a larger appreciation for aviation. From birth to completing a college Political Science degree, flying, horses, and sports were always at the forefront of his activities.

After graduating from the North Dakota State School of Science (NDSCS) and North Dakota State University (NDSU), in 1967 Gary was accepted into the Aviation Officer Candidate School at Pensacola, Florida. He was designated a Naval Aviator at Naval Air Station Chase Field, Beeville, Texas, where his Wings of Gold were pinned on by his father. During the final two years of naval service, Ness was assigned as an Air-to-Air Gunnery and Carrier Qualification Flight Instructor at Training Squadron Four (VT-4) Naval Air Station Pensacola.

In 1986, Gary become the Executive Director of the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission (NDAC) and served in that position until 2008. During Gary’s tenure at the NDAC, he achieved many accomplishments, including leading the agency through the changes and new technologies introduced as the aviation industry progressed.

Gary served as Chairman of the National Association of State Officials (NASAO). He has been honored with several awards: NASAO’s Kenneth T. Rowe Ambassador of Aviation Award, National Business Aviation Association’s Silk Scarf Award, and the NDSU Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute Chairman’s Award. He was a member of the Greater North Dakota Association Board, NDSCS Foundation Board, NDSCS Letter Winners Club and National Agricultural Aviation Association’s Safety Curriculum Committee. He is a member of North Dakota State College of Science’s Athletic Hall of
Fame. Gary also helped establish, and served as Chairman, of the North Dakota Aviation Hall of Fame Committee.

Throughout his career, Gary was active in state and national aviation issues, encouraging a strong network of communication between aviation associations, especially the North Dakota Aviation Council. Gary’s efforts strengthened industry awareness and contributed to the national economy and well-being of the State of North Dakota.

Fred Adams – Fred was born in Pierre, South Dakota in 1950. His extended family included an uncle, Jerry Snedigar, who owned and operated a flying service in Rapid City. He began working during the summer of 1969 as an aircraft fueler while he was completing his college degree.

Fred soloed for the first time on May 10, 1970, and three years later had his Commercial Pilot Certificate with Single and Multiengine Land Rating, Instrument Airplane rating, and his FAA Certified Flight Instructor Certification. Fred started his flying career as an air mail pilot in the summer of 1973, and earned his FAA Air Transport Pilot Certificate on May 1, 1974.

Fred was designated by the FAA as a Pilot Examiner in 1979 while in South Dakota and again in 1981 when he moved to Bismarck. Fred was hired by Executive Air Taxi in 1981 with a primary duty to pilot a King Air under contract for Basin Electric Power Cooperative. Four years later he left Executive Air Taxi and was hired by TWA.

The Basin Electric Power Cooperative (BEPC) began its own business aviation flight department in May 1986, and Fred was hired to be their first Chief Pilot. While at Basin, Fred started a World Class paid flight internship, with the help of Dean John Odegard and Ken Polovitz from the University of North Dakota, along with support from Basin Electric’s senior management.

Fred has been associated with the North Dakota Aviation Council for over 23 years, during which time he held multiple leadership and committee positions. Fred’s leadership was also instrumental in the formation of the North Dakota Aviation Hall of Fame.

Fred has flown over 23,450 accident free hours. During the ten years he was an FAA Pilot Examiner, he gave over 600 flight examinations and over 100 FAA Part 135 check rides as a Check Airman.

Fred has also been an integral part of National Business Aviation Association’s Certified Aviation Manager (CAM) program. He was on the CAM Board of Governors for nine years and was in the first group to sit for the nationally accredited certification examination in 2003. Fred is also a recipient of the Silk Scarf Award from the National Business Aviation Association.

Fred has also been associated with collegiate aviation accreditation since 2006, and is on the Board of Trustees for the Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI). In 2014, Fred also received the Richard W. Taylor Industry Award which is provided to those who work to advance quality aviation education worldwide through accreditation and leadership.

Within his community, Fred has been involved in his church as a church elder and treasurer for over two decades. He also coached soccer when his sons were in school.

The awards ceremony will take place in Bismarck at the Upper Midwest Aviation Symposium on Tuesday March 8th. The social begins at 6 p.m. and the banquet begins at 7 p.m. To learn more information about the state aviation conference or to purchase tickets for the awards ceremony, visit Questions can also be directed to the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission at 701.328.9650.