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Senior Earns Private Pilot Certification

Danny Scarzello of New Market, MD, was excited for June 26th for the second year in a row. In 2014, that was the day he would turn 16 and be able to fly solo in an airplane—an event that finally took place on October 10, 2014. This year, he was ready to take his private pilot certification test on June 26th—it was his 17th birthday, the first day he would be eligible to do so. He had the flight hours and the knowledge. He just needed to turn 17. The test was scheduled.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans. Danny’s check ride was canceled due to rain. He tried a different date, but that didn’t work out either. He re-scheduled it for August 5th…and it was rained out again.Daniel Scarzello earned his private pilot certification just before beginning his senior year at Randolph-Macon Academy.

“I’m sort of used to the delays,” he later said with a laugh. “My solo was delayed three times due to weather, and my driver’s license test was delayed three times too. I just accepted it and figured that it would happen when it was meant to happen.”

He thought it would happen August 11th. However, the FAA examiner who was to do the oral test and the check ride had a conflict and sent a message to Danny to move the check ride up by an hour. Danny didn’t get the message. He still finished the oral exam that day, but had to re-schedule the check ride for August 23rd. It turned out to be a beautiful day at Front Royal-Warren County Airport.

“I guess the waiting was sort of worth it,” Danny said with a grin. He keeps his precious private pilot certificate folded up in his wallet, close to him at all times, and he took it out to proudly show it off. “The examiner noted that I was in the top two percent of all the check rides he’s ever done,” he said. “To put it in perspective, he said he’s done 4,000 check rides.”

In the fall of 2013, Danny enrolled in Randolph-Macon Academy (R-MA) as a sophomore, with his eyes fastened firmly on the school’s optional flight program. Now a senior at the Academy with his private pilot certificate, he has already begun his instrument training in the school’s flight program.

Danny, who also manages varsity cross-country and participates in varsity swimming and varsity track, hopes to attend an aviation college and become a commercial pilot.

Randolph-Macon Academy (R-MA), founded in 1892, is a college-preparatory, coeducational 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 opportunity to fly in a unique flight program.  R-MA is affiliated with the United Methodist Church and is located in Front Royal, Virginia.