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MSU Profiles

Reflecting on the V-5 program

This spring, Leland Brand, Taylor rancher, visited Minot State University's Westlie Room to reminisce about when he was an instructor for the V-5 program at Minot State during World War II.

"We trained navy flight cadets to take off, fly and land," Brand said. "After their initial training with us, they were sent to Iowa City for physical training and then on to secondary schools to learn how to fly heavier aircraft."

Brand began as an ROTC student at North Dakota State University in 1939. In 1940, he enrolled in civil pilot training, and he learned how to fly in an open biplane. He learned all of the spins and got a cross-country instructor's license. In September 1941 at the age of 20, he joined the naval reserve and was assigned to the Minot State flight school until 1944. At its inception, Minot State's V-5 program had three instructors, who had six students each. So, the first class had 18 students.

"We were all a bunch of young kids at a pivotal time in history," Brand reflected.

As a favorite memory, Brand remembers flying over the beautiful Red River Valley in an open biplane in the spring.

After the V-5 program closed, Brand bought one of the cub planes and returned to his ranch in Taylor. In addition to ranching, he flew for hire and crop sprayed. Frequent customers were U.S. Fish and Games officials, Department of the Interior biologists and forest and park service rangers. The last group he flew were rodeo cowboys going to Texas.

The 95-year old sold his last plane in July, and his pilot's license runs for two more years.