RMC Flight Team Fairs Well at Nationals

The Intercollegiate Flight Team at Rocky Mountain College competed recently at the national competition of the National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) held in Cahokia, Ill. While RMC's team did not earn enough points to be ranked, the competition was a great success for the 10-member team.

The event, hosted this year by Parks College of St. Louis University, was six days long and pitted the best 28 collegiate flight teams in the nation against each other. The invitation to nationals was RMC's third in the past six years, considered an excellent showing by the small school. There is only one national competition for all collegiate aviation programs, regardless of size.

"To earn a spot on the national stage took a great deal of work by our students," said Dan Hargrove, director of aviation. "We're proud of their teamwork and commitment. They really are a great team of professionals."

The competition includes nine different events in which students compete in both flying skills and ground knowledge. Flight events included navigation, precision landings, and message drop. Ground events include precision flight in a simulator, flight planning, aircraft pre-flight, and aircraft recognition. Seventy-seven colleges and universities competed at various regional competitions, hoping for a berth at nationals.

The overall top performing male on RMC's team was Team Captain Brandon Templeton, who excelled in the simulator event. The top performing female was Heather Kasubowski. The Outstanding Team Member Award went to Grant Gagnon.

Team members included: Brandon Templeton (captain), Grant Gagnon, Heather Kasubowski, Kevin Keegan, Jacob Keierleber, Brian Kelleher, Hans Kellogg, Hannah Neel, Dmitriy Nesmeyanov, Jesse Taylor, Christ Wiens (advisor), and Matt Cichosz (coach).

Team members are selected from among the approximate 100 students enrolled in the aeronautical science four-year degree program at RMC. The academic program prepares graduates to enter the world of professional aviation and includes flight training to obtain FAA certification as commercial pilots with instrument and multi-engine ratings.