By: Laura Abraham
The Randolph-Macon Academy Summer Flight Program is truly unique, with the goal of introducing students to aviation in a fun and safe manner! Students have the opportunity to fly every day during summer school, weather permitting, and participate in a ground school that is geared towards students who are working towards their first solo flight.
After the students have breakfast, their flight day begins. They will either meet their instructor to go out to the airport to fly, or they will go to the ground school classroom for ground school. (Students who fly in the morning will have an afternoon ground school session; students who have ground school in the morning will fly in the afternoon.)
The Academy owns two Cessna 172s, which are common training aircraft with four seats. Four seat aircraft allow for tandem training; and for this, your student will be assigned a flight partner. One student sits up front in the pilot's seat, while the other observes from the back seat. They switch places half way through the lesson. Tandem training has proven to be quite beneficial for students due to the fact that they are learning the material twice.
The instructors tailor the lessons to each student's experience level. Some students join us for the summer program and have never flown, while other students already have some flight experience. The majority of flight time is spent in and around the Shenandoah Valley in Northern Virginia. During the first few weeks of summer school, the students are learning pre-solo activities and maneuvers including, but not limited to, preflight, fueling, taxi, airport environment, takeoff, slow flight, stalls, steep turns, ground reference maneuvers, emergency procedures, and landings.
The Academy employees a full-time certified ground school instructor. Some of the topics covered in ground school are: aerodynamics, airspace, aviation weather, airplane systems, flight planning, and navigation. There is no need for a student to purchase a ground school book. We have copies the students can use; however, if a student would like their own book, we use the Jeppesen Private Pilot Manual.
During the final week of summer school, the instructors take students to airports that are further away for a fun day trip. In the past, they have visited Ocean City, NJ; Ocean City, MD; Kitty Hawk, NC; and Gettysburg, PA. With this activity, students learn how to plan and execute a long flight.
The flight day typically ends around 4:30. At that time, the students have a study hall where they complete their ground school assignments. Study hall is followed by free time, dinner, and an evening activity, which may include swimming, bowling, movies, mini-golf, and/or on-campus sports.
Space is limited to only eight students and usually fills up quickly, so if you are interested in taking to the skies this summer, apply soon! If you’d like to know more about the flight camp, explore the summer section of our web site or call us at 800-272-1172.