Announcements and Events

2015 Aviation Program Outstanding Performers

This year's guest speaker at our annual Aviation Awards Banquet was Don Bintz, president of Unmanned Systems, Inc., a company in Nevada that works in testing an evaluation of large unmanned aerial systems. He talked about career opportunities in UAS and how the RMC minor in unmanned systems will help our graduates.  Award winners received a total of $20,000 in scholarships.

Congratulations to these award winners for the 2014-2015 academic year:

  • Jeff Lindsay and Jesse Taylor Spirit of Aviation Award: Joseph Mutchler
  • #1 Graduate in Program: Linda Gutmann
  • Dr. James T. Lovitt Outstanding Freshman Awards: Jonathon Bartl and Jacob Ramirez
  • Outstanding Sophomore Awards: Nevada Kramer and Tyler Hoppe
  • Outstanding Junior Awards: Piotr Held and Jerid McCabe
  • Outstanding Senior Awards: Axl Snure and Cole Cattelan
  • Outstanding Student Majoring in Aviation Management: Marissa Jones-Flaget
  • Dr. James T. Lovitt Safety Award: Connor Arnold
  • Unmanned Aerial Systems Awards:
    • Vertical Lift: Jake Ramirez
    • Fixed Wing: Jerid McCabe
  • Order of the Lion Award (AVS 405):
    • Sky Course Air: Muri Cole and Axl Snure
    • Made in the Rain: Stewart Shoe and Samantha McAlpin

Flight Training Awards

  • Outstanding Private Pilot: Michael Sandstead
  • Outstanding Instrument Pilot: Donovan Parker
  • Outstanding Commercial Pilot: John Barlow
  • Outstanding Multi-Engine Pilot: Brian Joswick
  • Outstanding CFI Applicant: Seth Livengood
  • Outstanding CFI Employee: Chris Farmer


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. 

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.

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:

  • FedEx
  • United Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Delta Airlines
  • Allegiant Airlines
  • African Inland Missions (in Kenya)
  • Cape Air
  • Air National Guard
  • Matheson Flight Extenders
  • Civil Air Patrol
  • Edwards Jet Center
  • Skywest Airlines (in Denver)
  • Southwest Florida International Airport