UNO Aviation Institute holds 12th Durham Lecture


By Beth Flynn

UNO Aviation Institute held its 12th annual Charles W. Durham Distinguished Guest Lecture Series Thursday night at the downtown Doubletree Hotel.

The newly appointed federal security director for the transportation security administration, Michael A. Kudlacz, a retired general, was this year’s distinguished speaker.

Kudlacz, an Omaha native and graduate of UNO, shared his personal experience with aviation from first flight to working in the Air Force. He also spoke about the different positions for Reserve Officer’s Training Corps and the aviation industry.

Kudlacz has exceeded 3,200 flight hours, flown an assortment of aircraft and received numerous awards for his services. Some of the many include the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal and Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.

During his speech, Kudlacz took time to explain the goals and accomplishments of the Transportation Security Act.

“The mission [of the TSA] is to deliver secure means of transportation, to ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce,” Kudlacz said.

He gave some helpful hints for those traveling, saying one of the key points is for the public to be educated with what is occurring with the aviation industry. He also said that at Eppley Airport the average wait limit is currently about 10 minutes. The longest has been 17 minutes.

Other advice Kudlacz offered to decrease the amount of time spent waiting in line was to arrive early and allow plenty of time for your flight. Kudlacz also suggested passengers be aware of which items can and cannot be brought to the checkpoint.

Kudlacz also thanked Don Smithey for his contributions to Eppley Airport.

Brent Bowen, director of UNO’s Aviation Institute, along with Lt. Col. Charles Lane and Smithey, presented Kudlacz with the William F. Shea Award for Distinguished Contribution to Aviation. This award is named after the founder of the Aviation Institute, William Shea, and is given to those who, during their aviation careers, have affected the aviation industry in one way or another.

Past recipients have included NASA administrator Daniel S. Goldin, Memphis Belle pilot Col. Robert K. Morgan, Retired USAF Lt. Col. Charles Lane, Col. Francis S. Gabreski and Col. Rich Graham.

This year the program not only hit a record enrollment of 600 but was also reaccredited by the Council of Aviation Accreditation. The distance program was named the 2002 Outstanding Credit Program by Region Eight of the Association of Continuing Higher Education and will be recognized next week with an international award for distinguished achievement at an international meeting.

The lecture was open to all, including many students who attended. There was no cost, but donations were accepted to raise funds for the Aviation Institute.

The lecture series will be televised at 3:30 p.m. Nov. 4, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 5 and at 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. Nov. 8 on The Knowledge Network.

For more information, visit the Aviation Institute’s Web site at


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