RMC expands fleet with two new Piper Archer III aircraft

BILLINGS, Mont., February 20, 2019 – The Rocky Mountain College Aviation program has added two new 2018 Piper Archer III aircraft to expand its training fleet.

Rocky Mountain College’s fleet consists of five Piper Archer III aircraft, manufactured between 2002 and 2006, a Beechcraft Bonanza, a Beechcraft Baron, and a Cessna 172. The addition of the two 2018 Piper Archer III planes will provide students and faculty within the program access to the latest in cutting-edge aviation technology and better prepare graduates for the instruments they will encounter throughout their career. The new planes will expand the amount of flight instruction provided by the program while also reducing maintenance time and costs.

new aviation program plane


The 2018 Piper Archer III is a modern, advanced aircraft perfect for educating pilots-in-training on current aviation technology. Features unique to the aircraft include a glass cockpit, autopilot technology, and a fuel-injected engine. The glass cockpit features the GARMIN G1000 Avionics Suite, which increases the capability and performance of the flight deck. The cockpit system features a high resolution horizontal situation indicator (HSI) map, a surface watch, 3-D Synthetic Vision, and other computing features new to trainer aircraft cockpits.

“The addition of two new Piper Archer III planes advances our program technologically, and moves us toward a continued pursuit of excellence,” said Dan Hargrove, aviation program director. “Modernizing the fleet will help our students achieve successful careers within the airline and corporate industries.”

Aviation students of varying experience levels will have opportunities to fly the new aircraft over the course of their time within the program. However, senior students will initially gain more flight time with the two new planes. Modernizing the fleet with the new 2018 Piper Archer III aircraft technologically advances the program, moving courses toward the high end of avionics. Students will now be introduced to technology commonplace in advanced sectors of the aviation industry, expanding their post-graduate career opportunities.

Innovative aviation technology spans across all areas of the program as students also have access to sophisticated simulators, including a state-of-the-art Canadair Regional Jet flight management system simulator. Providing the latest in aviation technology positions the program to continue educating and training future aviation industry professionals and leaders.

Expansion of the RMC fleet will improve program retention, helping to meet the growing need for pilots around the globe. Hargrove envisions the program expanding its enrollment and furthering its technological capabilities.

“Growing our fleet will allow for an increased capacity to handle additional students in the program. There’s tremendous national demand for pilots, which is phenomenal for the College, the program, and the country,” said Hargrove. “The College provides a well-rounded liberal arts education, focused on academic success and personal growth. Students gain experience across different disciplines, allowing them to communicate, team build, solve, and lead. These skills are vital to the aviation industry. The best part about this program is that the mission of Rocky Mountain College is at the core of everything we do.”

Luke Ward aviation student

RMC aviation program student, Luke Ward, helped fly one of the new planes from Florida to Billings.