Rocky Mountain College Flight Team Selected for National Competition

BILLINGS, Mont., November 11, 2019  - The Intercollegiate Flight Team at Rocky Mountain College has been selected to compete at the National Competition of the National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) to be held in Oshkosh, Wisconsin the week of May 18, 2020. The competition is six-days long, and pits the best 30 collegiate flight teams in the nation against each other.

In October, Rocky attended the Regional Competition in Denver hosted by Metro State University and finished second overall out of five teams, earning the invitation to Nationals.  Senior student and Team Captain James Duren was named Top Pilot out of over 60 competitors.  

“James’ performance is particularly noteworthy,” said RMC’s Director of Aviation, Dan Hargrove, “but it also took a tremendous team effort to earn the invitation to Nationals.”

Coach Samantha Morris added, “I am so proud of this team. They worked hard for months preparing for Regionals. We are all excited to start preparing for the National Competition!”

The competition includes nine different events in which students compete in both flying skills and ground knowledge. Flight events include navigation, precision landings, and message drop. Ground events include precision flight in a simulator, flight planning, aircraft preflight, and aircraft recognition.

There is only one level of collegiate flight competition, unlike football, for example, which has various divisions based on the size of the school. Though Rocky is a small school, the team is in competition with the largest programs in the country, including the United States Air Force Academy, which took first place at the Regional Competition.   

Hargrove added, "Students on our flight team now have an added competitive advantage in their careers. They've learned even more about excellence, teamwork, and leadership."

The RMC Flight Team previously reached the National Competition in 2004, 2007, 2009, and 2012. The Intercollegiate Flight Team is one of many activities offered in Rocky's professional aviation program. Students graduate as commercial multi-engine pilots, with flight training in technologically advanced glass-cockpit aircraft and simulators, readying them for professional careers throughout the aviation industry.

A high resolution image of the RMC Flight Team is available upon request.

RMC’s 2019 Flight Team (from left to right):

Front row: Gino Giovagnoli, Sawyer Cousineau, Drew Richter, Bridger Lamb, Konnor Bithell, Russ Matt, Carina Bracy, Erica Elpers, Justin Garcia, Carter Brownlee, Josh Candib, Eric Marshall, Zach Hammler, Samantha Morris.

Back row: Team Safety Officer Andrew Sleet, Team Captain James Duren