Announcements and Events

Unmanned Aerial Systems Buzz RMC Aviation Program

Professor Wilson and studentsAn unmanned aerial systems (UAS) – drone – curriculum is flying high at the Rocky Mountain College aviation program, where Professor Scott Wilson’s students flew six drone vehicles this spring while studying legal and physical ramifications of drone use. Wilson’s spring class on drones has built on concurrent legal issues and technological advances of UAS.  

Wilson and students Joseph Mutchler and Ryan Rogeski recently offered a presentation of recent program advances, demonstrated new equipment, and discussed legal ramifications of UAS use. 

Wilson has more than 1,000 hours of flight instruction and 10,000 hours of ground instruction. He is also an aviation attorney who has served as vice president of a cargo airline and fixed base operator and currently is the regional legal counsel for the Airline Owners and Pilots Association. He has litigated FAA enforcement cases and negotiated international aviation contracts in Europe and Asia. Professor Wilson has also served as Special Assistant U.S. Attorney and Assistant Attorney General for Montana as well as chairman of the Billings Police Commission. He has flown for the Navy, U.S. Forest Service, various FBOs, and commercial operators. He retired as a Captain in the U.S. Navy after serving several years with NATO forces overseas, where he worked closely with foreign military officers including in supervision of Long Range Planning (J35) for all air operations in Saudi Arabia.  

Mutchler, a sophomore from Billings, flew 13 years in the armed forces on missions over Afghanistan and many Middle Eastern nations such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Oman. He was a flight officer in charge of avionics such as autopilot, navigation, and communication systems.

Rogeski (’14) soon reports to Naval Officer Training School in Rhode Island to become a U.S. Navy fighter pilot. From Nine Mile Falls, Wash., he graduated from RMC  with private pilot, instrument rating, commercial, and multi-engine certifications. 


2014 Aviation Program Outstanding Performers

This year's guest speaker at our annual Aviation Awards Banquet was Andrew Bonney, vice president of Cape Air Airlines. He talked about career opportunities at that airline and a pending bridge program for RMC students and graduates that could lead to jobs there followed by employment at Jet Blue Airlines. 

Congratulations to these award winners for the 2013-2014 academic year:

  • Jeff Lindsay and Jesse Taylor Spirit of Aviation Award and Scholarship: Tommy Condon
  • #1 Graduate in Aviation Program for 2013-2014 Academic Year: Muri Cole
  • Outstanding Freshmen Award - Dr. James T. Lovitt Scholarship: Tyler Hoppe and Ian Ricketts
  • Outstanding Sophomore Award and Scholarship: Jerid McCabe, John Barlow
  • Outstanding Junior Award and Scholarship: Cole Cattelan, Linda Gutmann
  • Outstanding Senior Award: Chris Gartner, Seth Livengood
  • Dr. James T. Lovitt Safety Award and Scholarship: Jordan Little
  • #1 Aviation Management Major: Bill Bender
  • Outstanding Unmanned Aerial Systems pilot – Vertical Lift: Joseph Mutchler
  • Outstanding Unmanned Aerial Systems pilot – Fixed Wing: Ryan Rojeski
  • The "Lion Award" for Outstanding Airline in AVS 405 Airline Management Simulation: Dairy Air – Marc Halderman and Chris Gartner; Shipwright Airlines—Stephen Klem and Christian Gardner

Flight Training Awards

  • Outstanding Private Pilot Award and Scholarship: Jason Jorgensen
  • Outstanding Instrument Pilot Award and Scholarship: David Mack
  • Outstanding Commercial Pilot Award and Scholarship: Max Dubbe
  • Outstanding Multi-Engine Pilot Award and Scholarship: David Shaffer
  • Outstanding CFI Applicant Award and Scholarship: Chris Farmer
  • Outstanding CFI Employee: Jason Tobin

Boeing 727RMC Aviation Students Train on Boeing 727

Rocky Mountain College aviation students will be able to use a Boeing 727 aircraft for classes to help prepare them for their careers.  
 
FedEx recently donated the Boeing 727 aircraft to the Billings Airport. The ceremony took place at RMC Flight Operations at the airport. 
 
FedEx and the Billings Airport Management are both pleased the aircraft will be used for educational purposes by both the Airport for Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF) training and by RMC students. 
 
“We teach classes in heavy aircraft systems already. But getting to touch the equipment on a large aircraft like this adds so much to our classroom instruction,” said Dan Hargrove, RMC director of aviation. 
 
The relationship between the Billings Airport and RMC is very strong. Students and their professors will have nearly unlimited access to the aircraft in relevant courses at no cost to either them or the college.  
 
“At RMC, a student has all of the advantages of a small school while also having access to a great educational aid such as this that very few collegiate aviation programs have,” Hargrove said.
 
Many of the systems in the aircraft will remain operational enhancing instruction in aircraft systems, cockpit layout, and safety.
 
FedEx is retiring their fleet of older Boeing 727 aircraft, and they are donating them for educational and training purposes across the country.

Industry Support for RMC Aviation

SATELLITE TECHNOLOGY COMPANY: At graduation in May, Rocky Mountain College gave an honorary doctorate in aviation to Mr. John "Jack" Mowell. He has become a good friend to the aviation program and to RMC. He is chairman of CEO of EMS Technologies, one of the pre-eminent satellite technology companies in the world, with headquarters in Florida. The company will play an integral role in the first manned mission to Mars, among other large projects. He's also a new member of the RMC Board of Trustees. He said, "I became acquainted with Rocky Mountain College's aviation program first, because it is my life interest, and I can tell you, Rocky's program is second to none." Rocky Mountain College President Mike Mace said, "Praise from a man of his experience and stature is truly remarkable."

SKYWEST AIRLINES: The aviation program also has a very strong relationship with SkyWest Airlines. The manager of crew resources (oversees all pilot hiring) recently said this about RMC:

"We need pilots who are leaders and those who seek to be true professionals. We value those who have strong technical skills, integrity, and pride in their profession. We look for those who will be successful in a glass cockpit environment within Regional Jet operations. We've had great success finding these qualities within Rocky graduates, and we certainly welcome more. It is our goal to visit Rocky every year, and we're very pleased with the strong relationship we have."

Many RMC graduates have gone on to very successful careers at SkyWest. Their technical training in Regional Jet flight management systems, glass cockpits, advanced cockpit displays, and Regional Jet aircraft systems make a big difference, but their overall professionalism and leadership skills are what sets them apart.
Senator Baccus visits campus

Senator Baucus Visits Rocky Mountain College Flight Operations

U.S. Senator Max Baucus of Montana visited Flight Operations at Rocky Mountain College. He toured the facility at Billings Logan International Airport, crawled around the airplanes, and asked important questions about how the program is helping students achieve their goals of becoming leaders in professional aviation. Senator Baucus has long been a strong supported of RMC's aviation program.

After the tour, Senator Baucus said, "I continue to be impressed with the growth and advancement of the aviation program at Rocky. I'm very proud of the contributions this excellent program is making. Montana students and those from out of state who study and fly at Rocky are fortunate to have such a professional program. Rocky Mountain College is doing a tremendous job preparing students for good paying, exciting jobs and bright futures here in Big Sky Country."

Senator Baucus met with students, flight instructors, and other employees in the program. He was at the Billings Airport as part of the open house sponsored by Corporate Jet, a new FBO in Billings. Senator Baucus was elected to the U.S. Senate from Montana in 1978 and is currently chairman of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee. He has worked closely with RMC and the aviation program for many years.


Professional Aviation Speakers Series

We are very pleased to offer a strong lineup of professional speakers in our classes, which are open to all students. Direct contact with these professionals is a great opportunity to network and ask important career questions.

Recent speakers have included:

  • The manager of crew resources (in charge of all pilot hiring) at SkyWest Airlines
  • General (retired) Robert Foglesong - 4-star general, former Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force and a fighter pilot, currently president of Mississippi State University
  • Air ambulance pilot (RMC Graduate)
  • Charter pilot based in Idaho, flying King Air aircraft (RMC graduate)
  • Airport planner, working for an engineering firm that builds and improves airports (RMC graduate)
  • Fractional Airlines (Flight Options) pilot (RMC graduate)
  • Senior captain and interview/recruiting pilot for SkyWest Airlines (RMC graduate)
  • Northwestern U.S. representative for the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and former aviation manager for Home Depot Store
  • General manager for United Airlines at Billings Logan International Airport, spoke on airline operations
  • Captains from Northwest Airlines, United Airlines, Horizon Airlines, Big Sky Airlines and SkyWest Airlines
  • National Weather Service forecaster
  • Corporate pilot who flies and manages a privately owned plane (RMC graduate)
  • U.S. Marine Corps pilot and officer selection officer
  • Missionary pilot in Africa
  • Chief pilot, Big Sky Airlines
  • Fish, Wildlife, and Parks pilot, former Border Patrol pilot
  • Member of Montana Air National Guard, with information on tuition assistance and pilot opportunities

Students have spoken about internships with the following companies:

  • Northwest Airlines
  • Big Sky Airlines
  • Matheson Flight Extenders
  • Civil Air Patrol
  • Edwards Jet Center
  • SkyWest Airlines in Denver
 
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