Will Camp’s lifetime goal is to be a commercial pilot, and on July 11, 2011, he took one more step to bring that seemingly distant dream into a near-future reality when he earned his private pilot certification.
Camp, who is a rising senior at Randolph-Macon Academy (R-MA) in Front Royal, is the son of Steve and Ruthie Camp of Raleigh, NC. He first soloed an airplane on December 17, 2010. By the end of the 2010-11 school year, R-MA Flight Director Laura Abraham deemed Camp ready to test for his private pilot certificate. There was just one catch—he wasn’t old enough. A flight student must be 17 to test for the private pilot certificate.
That led Camp to enroll in R-MA’s summer flight camp. The check ride was scheduled for his 17th birthday, July 11th. All he had to do was prepare and wait, wait and prepare.
“I was nervous,” he admitted. When asked when he finally felt comfortable, Camp—only half-joking– replied, “Once the certificate was printed and in my hand.”
To become a private pilot, Camp had to:
- Complete a minimum of 40 hours of flight instruction, with 20 of that being with an instructor
- Fly three hours at night, three hours flying solely by reference to the flight instruments
- Fly ten hours solo
- Fly five hours solo cross-country (this means flying to an airport over 50 nautical miles (57.5 miles) from Front Royal)
- Pass both an oral exam and check ride with a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Designated Pilot Examiner
Camp completed his check ride in R-MA’s Cessna 172 Skyhawk at Front Royal-Warren County Airport.
Camp’s career goal is to become a military pilot, then later a commercial pilot. He came to Randolph-Macon Academy (R-MA) because of the unique flight program there, and because of the Air Force JROTC program. He only started at the school the fall of 2010, which was also when he began logging flight hours as part of his formal flight training.
Abraham credits Camp’s incredible dedication for his rapid progression in the program.
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 unique flight program. R-MA is affiliated with the United Methodist Church and is located in Front Royal, VA.