(October 21, 2010)— Randolph-Macon Academy completed the upgrade to its small fleet of airplanes when the final Cessna 152 was sold and a second 2001 Cessna 172 Skyhawk was added to the program on October 1, 2010.
“It’s a beautiful plane,” said Flight Director Laura Abraham. “It came from private owners from Kentucky, and they kept it in a hangar. It’s meticulous.”
The previous owners also upgraded the radio and avionics. “It has a Honeywell Bendix/King KLN94 GPS,” said Abraham. “It also has a Honeywell Bendix/King KMD 550/850 Multi-Function Display. This unit is capable of many different things including giving weather information such as storm activity, other traffic in the vicinity, and a ground proximity warning system.”
Abraham is very excited about the fact that R-MA now owns two 2001 Cessna 172s, both of which were obtained within the last 15 months. The four-seater 172s offer opportunities for the flight instructors to do tandem training, Abraham said, something they could not do with the two-seater 152s. Also, there are other benefits such as improved power, instrumentation and avionics.
“We had had both 152s since the late 1980’s,” she commented. “These newer planes were necessary to keep up with the times. The instruments in the old planes were outdated. We needed two with GPS systems.” She added that the new planes both have autopilot as well. “We discourage the use of the autopilot, but it is nice to have to show the students.”
The final plane comes just in time to be considered a birthday present—this is the 25th anniversary year of R-MA’s in-house flight program. R-MA is the only secondary school in America that operates its own flight school.
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). R-MA is affiliated with the United Methodist Church and is located in Front Royal, VA.