Rocky Aviation Adds Industry-Leading Software

BILLINGS, MT-The Rocky Mountain College Aviation Program has begun using new state-of- the-art software from Talon Systems. This software places them on the leading edge of technology in aviation education, further improving their safety, maintenance, scheduling, and training.

The aviation program used a Department of Education Title III grant as seed money to purchase Education and Training Administration (ETA) software. Approximately 75 students are currently flying in the program with grade books and syllabi that are completely electronic and accessible from anywhere. Josh Mlnarik, Director of Flight Operations, said, “Due to the numerous details that have to be tracked in flight training, ETA has improved our scheduling and record-keeping. It has also given us access to valuable information to help us easily evaluate, assess, and continuously improve our operation and program.” Dan Hargrove, Director of Aviation, said it is now nearly impossible for a student to fly a lesson out of order, or not complete a required maneuver because of paperwork errors. “We’ve seen our efficiency improve dramatically, resulting in students completing flight labs in record time.”

This year, the program added Resource Maintenance System software which improves parts inventory control, maintenance inspection scheduling, and maintaining aircraft maintenance records. Doug Erickson, Director of Maintenance, said, “RMS has increased the visibility of our maintenance operation and has transformed the department to be proactive rather than reactive. Direct results include reduced shipping costs due to better parts management and reduced downtime of aircraft, allowing more available aircraft for student training.”

The third component of the software is directly related to the implementation of Safety Management Systems-an industry standard process for improving safety. “Pilots now can easily report the smallest of safety concerns-anonymously if they want-so that we can track them and make improvements before the issue becomes a big deal,” said Tom Nelson, Director of Safety. He added, “Our reporting has more than doubled because of the new system, and we are safer because of it.”

The entire aviation program has over 100 students, which represents 10% of the student body at Rocky Mountain College. Graduates fly for airlines, the military, corporations, and in Alaska or manage airports and airlines. Hargrove noted, “Our graduates tell us their training and understanding of safety is better than that of their peers in their careers. We know these new software systems are making our program better and our graduates more marketable.”

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