For years the Air Force has told its members to “Aim High,” so it’s not surprising that two of Randolph-Macon Academy’s Falcon Scholars, who hope to be headed for the Air Force Academy this summer, have taken the slogan a bit literally.
Jeffrey “Jeff” Wilson of Perrysburg, OH, and Michael “Mike” Grieg of Arlington, VA, both entered Randolph-Macon Academy as Falcon Scholars this past fall. (Falcon Scholars are postgraduate students who have been selected by the Falcon Foundation to receive a special scholarship to attend one of seven Air Force Academy prep schools in the U.S.) The two students immediately joined the school’s unique flight program, and both advanced quickly. Wilson flew his first solo flight on November 19, 2014–only two months after beginning flying lessons–and Grieg soloed on February 2, 2015. Both solo flights took place at the Front Royal/Warren County Airport.
Although the two young men have the same goal of attending the Air Force Academy, their reasons for flying are completely different.
“When I was seven, my parents got me a pack of toy fighter planes,” Wilson said. Like the Wright brothers before him, he fell in love with flying through the toys. Wilson’s goal is to become a fighter pilot in the Air Force. “This seemed like the perfect opportunity to get flying,” he said.
Grieg decided to give flight a try because it seemed like it would be fun. “Since I’m going to the Air Force Academy I thought it would be good to know, and it seemed really interesting,” he said. It also gives him practical experience he may use later, as he hopes to major in either aerospace engineering or electrical engineering.
Both student pilots are now striving for their next goal: earning a private pilot certification before the school year ends on May 30, 2015.
Randolph-Macon Academy (R-MA), founded in 1892, is a college-preparatory, coeducational day and boarding school for students in grades 6 through 12. Students in grades 9-12 participate in R-MA’s 91st Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) and have the option to participate in a flight program. R-MA became a Falcon Foundation School in 2012, and graduates of the program have achieved a 100% acceptance rate to the Air Force Academy. R-MA is affiliated with the United Methodist Church and is located in Front Royal, VA.