Aviation Alumni Profiles

Lindsey Gray

Lindsey Gray moved from Las Vegas, Nevada, to attend
Rocky because of the personalized aviation program.
She graduated in 2010 with agray1 double major in Aeronautical Science and Philosophy/Religious Thought. She was Student Body President and also obtained her dispatcher certificate. She worked for Rocky as a flight instructor for three out of four of her years as a college student. 

Lindsey now works as a pilot/mechanic for a non-profit Christian organization called Africa Inland Mission (AIM AIR). She lives in Nairobi, Kenya flying people, cargo, and supplies to remote locations in East Africa. (Lindsey did an internship with AIM AIR in Nairobi the summer after her junior year at Rocky.)

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Lindsey commented, "Rocky provided an avenue to accelerate my flight training. I was able to fly with quality instructors in a professional environment. The training I received in the classroom and in the cockpit prepared me for my future career in aviation. I'm continually thankful for the investment each professor and instructor made in teaching and encouraging me along the way."


 

 

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Jessica Smith

Jessica Smith is small-town kid from Montana. Originally from Alberton, Montana, Jessica decided that Rocky Mountain College was a perfect fit for her. Once at Rocky, Jessica got all of her flight ratings within a year and then started teaching as a flight instructor for Rocky when she was a junior. In between her junior and senior years, Jessica completed an internship for SkyWest Airlines. This internship was instrumental in developing a lasting relationship with SkyWest that eventually led to her getting hired by SkyWest in 2010 to fly the Embraer Brasilia as a first officer. She then transitioned to the Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ) as a first officer.

After four years with the airline, Jessica earned a position as Captain on the CRJ, and she currently operates as a captain out of Minneapolis International Airport. Jessica said, “I know that my education at Rocky Mountain College has helped me to succeed in this industry. I know that the aviation specific courses in college have set me apart from pilots who did not receive such training. Even today, there are things that come up in daily operations that I understand better than most pilots because of my education at Rocky.”

Jessica specifically mentions that the Air Carrier Operations course, the Crew Resource Management course, and the Aircraft Powerplants/Systems courses have been of great use throughout the entirety of her career. Enthusiastically, Jessica claims, “I am so incredibly grateful to be able to say that I have a job that I love. I cannot imagine doing anything else. This truly is a dream come true. And it was Rocky that helped me to get here. I couldn’t have done it without this education! Thank you Rocky Mountain College.” 

 


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Tyler Cresswell

Tyler Cresswell traveled a long way from his home in Dalton, Pennsylvania, to attend Rocky Mountain College, attracted by the opportunity to learn to fly, ski race, hunt, and fish in beautiful MontanaDespite his very busy schedule flying and working, he graduated in three-and-a-half years.  

Through networking with previous Rocky graduates, Tyler got an interview and then a job one week after graduation, flying above the Arctic Circle for Ryan Air out of Kotzebue, Alaska.

The primary flying he does is transportation of every kind of cargo needed in remote areas of Alaska. Ryan Air moves everything from groceries and mail, to caribou meat and oil drill rigs, on and off airport, in one of the most remote areas in America. 

Flying in Montana helped prepare him for his new career, but he also credits the instruction and mentoring he received at Rocky.  Tyler commented, “The training I received at Rocky set me up for success in the challenging environment of Alaska. The relationships I was able to foster with my teachers, flight instructors, and peers at Rocky led directly to getting my foot in the door in the aviation industry. The ground instruction at Rocky put me miles ahead of the competition, particularly in aircraft systems and power plants, taught by Professor Clete Knaub. All of these factors together make my decision to choose Rocky one of the best decisions I've ever made." 


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Amy Hyde

Amy Hyde came to RMC from Denton, Texas and graduated in 2010. Outside of flying and the classroom she enjoyed weekend trips to the mountains and back country camping trips in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. She was hired as a flight instructor for Rocky during her senior year and was hired at the airlines just 7 months after graduation. She flew Canadair Regional jets for SkyWest Airlines based out of Salt Lake City, Utah until the winter of 2015, when she was hired by Delta Air Lines. At 26, Amy was the youngest pilot hired at Delta in recent years. She will retire # 1 on the seniority list at Delta Air Lines.

Amy said, “Rocky helped prepare me for a successful career as an airline pilot. The small class sizes and one-on-one attention from the professors and instructors is what makes Rocky stand out from other aviation schools. I had the best instruction both in the classroom and in the airplane. Specialized classes such as Advanced Aerodynamics and Aviation Professional Development were a great asset to me when interviewing at the airlines.  They were especially helpful at Delta Air Lines, which is extremely competitive and values aviation fundamentals a great deal. I am thankful for the great education that I received at Rocky both in the classroom and in the air, but I am mostly grateful for the connections and friendships that I have made throughout the years.” 

 


 

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Ryan Rojeski

Ryan Rojeski came to Rocky Mountain College from Spokane, Washington because of the small class sizes and personal touch in his education.  At Rocky he was involved in cross country and track and also was in the inaugural class of students studying Unmanned Aerial Systems.  During his senior year he was selected for U.S. Navy Officer Candidate School and for Navy pilot training. Currently he’s half-way through training, is his Class Leader and is at the top of his class.

Ryan recently told us, “Rocky prepared me well for the aviation community and life after graduation. Training at Rocky instilled confidence in me and my skills.  The procedures and training that take place at Rocky are the absolute best.  Whenever there is a simulated emergency in the aircraft, I am able to calmly, confidently, and quickly handle the situation because it is what I was taught at Rocky.  I cannot thank you enough or tell you how much Rocky has helped and prepared me.” 

Ensign Ryan Rojeski after his first solo in the Navy—just months after graduation from Rocky.

 

 


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Taylor Capers

Taylor Capers came to Rocky Mountain College as a transfer student, having attended Montana State University for six semesters. He was particularly pleased with the help he received from Rocky getting credits transferred and developing a solid plan to graduate soon. One thing in particular that attracted him to Rocky was the personal attention he received. He said, “There was always a goal and a plan. The people at Rocky were always more than willing to go out of their way to help me. I never felt like I was just a number. I felt involved.”

After graduation, Taylor was hired as an agricultural pilot at Curless Flying Service/Farm Air, Inc., in Illinois. Curless is the Midwest dealer for Air Tractor Aircraft. Taylor is the Chief Pilot and flies the Air Tractor 802 and has flown virtually every ag aircraft produced. 

 


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Mike Damrow

Mike Damrow is originally from Wisconsin.  He transferred to Rocky Mountain College from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and graduated in 2012.  He worked as a flight instructor at Rocky for two years while still a student and shortly after graduation and was very quickly hired as a First Officer flying the 71 passenger Dash8/Q-400 on the east coast for Republic Airlines.

After flying there for a year-and-a-half he found his current job as a corporate pilot near his hometown in Wisconsin flying a Bombardier Challenger 300 all over North America for Ashley Furniture. The Challenger 300 cruises at .83 Mach at 45,000 feet and is very capable.

Mike very much enjoys his lifestyle, the high quality flying he does and getting to live near home. Reflecting on his education, he said, “Rocky Mountain College Flight Operations gave me a unique opportunity to be part of a safety-minded culture that provided both personal attention and professional training. I was well prepared.”

 


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Ian Turner

Ian Turner grew up in Hayden, Idaho and came to Rocky Mountain College right after high school. He was Student Body President at Rocky and was awarded the prestigious President’s Cup when he graduated.  Besides student government, he was also involved with Intervarsity Christian Fellowship and the Rocky Mountain College Band where he played the French horn. His best memories at Rocky involve the friends he met and events he attended while involved in these groups.

Originally he planned to be a professional pilot but after becoming a private pilot during his freshman year, he decided he still loved aviation but wanted a career outside of the cockpit.  He changed his major to Aviation Management and triple minored in Aeronautical Science, Business, and History.  He was selected for an internship at the Bismarck, ND airport which led him to a position as an Airport Operations Specialist at Bellingham International Airport in Bellingham, Washington.  He now works as the Airport Operations Supervisor at Stockton Metropolitan Airport in Stockton, California. According to Ian, "Every day at an airport is a new one. I never know what to expect from each work day. I could be planning for the Super Bowl, organizing airport construction activities, or dealing with wildlife on the airport. It's all exciting and keeps me on the edge of my seat."

About his education at Rocky, Ian says, “The airport industry requires knowledge about so much outside of aviation. Rocky gave me that broad knowledge to be successful in managing an airport."

 
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