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Five Students Earn Private Pilot Certification

Five Students Earn Private Pilot Certification

Randolph-Macon Academy’s flight program celebrated an amazing level of success in helping students achieve their private pilot certification this past week, when five students earned the rating between May 23rd and May 28th.

Earning this certification requires tremendous dedication, as student pilots must pass a written exam, and oral exam and a check ride with an FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) examiner. The five Randolph-Macon Academy (R-MA) students flew to Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport to complete their exams: senior Teunis Verheul of Great Falls, VA, on May 23rd; Falcon Scholar Mike Grieg of Arlington, VA, and senior James Christoph of Front Royal, VA, on May 24th; Falcon Scholar Jeff Wilson of Perrysburg, OH, on May 25th; and junior Tommy Yu of Ji Nan, China on May 28th. (Falcon Scholars are postgraduate students who have received a scholarship from the Air Force Academy Falcon Foundation. They are completing a year of college prep studies in the hopes of attending the Air Force Academy the following year. Both Wilson and Grieg have appointments to the Air Force Academy and will report there on June 25th.)

“I am extremely proud of these five young men,” said R-MA Flight Director Laura Abraham.  “They all worked very hard to accomplish their goals before the end of May.  Obtaining a private pilot certificate is A LOT of work, especially when you are a full time high school student juggling academics, sports, and other extracurriculars.”

This is the second time that R-MA has had five students earn the private pilot certification in one year, but the first in which five have achieved them in such a short time period. Another student is considered ready to complete the exam, but must wait until his 17th birthday before attempting to do so.

Randolph-Macon Academy’s flight program is the only one of its kind in the contiguous U.S. The airplanes are owned by the school and the two instructors are school faculty members. Approximately 30 to 40 students participate in the program each year. In an average year, two to four students receive their private pilot’s certificate, and five to eight solo for the first time.

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 is affiliated with the United Methodist Church and is located in Front Royal, VA.