Frequently Asked Questions about R-MA Flight

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Answering questions about Randolph-Macon Academy's flight program, located in Front Royal, Virginia.

1.  How old do I have to be to participate in the flight program?

2.  Can I be taking medication when flight training?

3.  If I am taking a disqualifying medication can I solo or obtain certification after I stop taking it?

4.  Can any doctor give an FAA medical?

5.  What is the difference between ground school and flying?  Can I fly without taking ground school?

6.  What does it mean to "solo"?

7.  How long does it take before I will solo?

8.  How often and when will I be able to fly?

9.  Do I have to maintain a certain GPA to participate in the flight program?

10.  Is there an opportunity to fly on the weekends?

11.  How long does it take to obtain a private pilot certificate?

12.  How much does it cost to obtain a private pilot certificate?

13.  I am not a United States citizen. Can I participate in the flight program?

14. What do I need to do to participate in the flight program?
 

Have a question about the flight program that is not addressed here? E-mail the Flight Director, Laura Abraham, at labraham@rma.edu


 

1.  How old do I have to be to participate in the flight program?

There is no official age you have to be begin flight training; however, most of our flight students are juniors and seniors due to the popularity of the program.  We do occasionally allow sophomores to begin training, but that is rare.  You have to be sixteen years old to solo and seventeen years old to obtain a private pilot certificate. 

2.  Can I be taking medication when flight training?

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) publishes a list of medications that would be considered disqualifying medications and would prevent you from obtaining an FAA medical.  You will need a current FAA medical to solo or to obtain a private pilot certificate.  You would still be able to participate in the flight program even if you are taking a disqualifying medication; however, you would not be able to solo or obtain a certificate.  If you have a question or concern about a certain medication, you can contact the director of flight training at labraham@rma.edu.

3.  If I am taking a disqualifying medication, can I solo or obtain certification after I stop taking it?

You have to be off of the medication for at least 90 days. Then, a letter must be obtained from the prescribing doctor saying that you have had no adverse affects from going off of the medication.  The letter is taken to an Aviation Medical Examiner, and he/she sends the letter to the FAA headquarters in Oklahoma City.  After that is done, the Aviation Medical Examiner will receive a letter from FAA headquarters either granting or denying permission for the issuance of an FAA medical.  This process can take several months or even as long as a year.

4.  Can any doctor give an FAA medical?

No, an Aviation Medical Examiner is the only doctor who can issue an FAA medical.  We are fortunate to have an Aviation Medical Examiner in town.  Her name is Dr. Nirmal Kanal.

5.  What is the difference between ground school and flying?  Can I fly without taking ground school?

Ground school is geared toward students wishing to obtain a private pilot certificate.  Usually only juniors and seniors can be enrolled in the ground school due to the popularity of the class.  If your goal is to just solo, the instructors can teach you what you need to know in order to solo on a one-to-one basis.  Ground school is an academic class that meets during first period every day.  You do not need to be enrolled in the ground school to begin flight training. 

6.  What does it mean to "solo"?

When your instructor feels that you are ready to fly by yourself, you will fly in the traffic pattern without an instructor.  You will complete three unassisted take-offs and landings. Soloing is required to obtain a private pilot certificate.  It also builds a tremendous amount of self-esteem!

7.  How long does it take before I will solo?

Every student is different.  R-MA's first concern is safety, and we will not solo you unless the instructors feels you are ready.  Obviously, the more consistent your training is, the faster you will progress.

8.  How often and when will I be able to fly?

We encourage our students to schedule at least one lesson per week.  Sometimes there are opportunities to fly more than once a week.  In order for all of our students to be able to fly once a week, you will occasionally miss academic classes to fly.  You are not allowed to miss the same class two weeks in a row.  You are also not allowed to fly if you will be missing a quiz or test, unless you have permission from your teacher. 

9.  Do I have to maintain a certain GPA to participate in the flight program?

We do not require a certain GPA, but there are academic restrictions. Students with all As, Bs, and Cs may miss class to fly with teacher permission. Students with any Ds may fly after classes. Students with any Fs, who are on cadet development, or on APSH (Academic Probation Study Hall) may not fly.

10.  Is there an opportunity to fly on the weekends?

Occasionally there is an opportunity to fly on the weekends.  It is determined on a week to week basis.

11.  How long does it take to obtain a private pilot certificate?

Again, each student progresses at a different rate.  It is a Federal Aviation Regulation though that each student must log a minimum of 40 hours flight training before they can take their private pilot checkride.  On average though, it takes 60-75 hours to obtain a private pilot certificate.

12.  How much does it cost to obtain a private pilot certificate?

It is hard to say what the exact amount of your flight training will be.  Each student progresses at a different rate.  The director of flight training would be more than happy to discuss this with you if you have further questions. You can contact her at labraham@rma.edu.

13.  I am not a United States citizen. Can I participate in the flight program?

Yes, you may participate, but you must see the director of flight training to fill out the international student application.  You must bring your passport to us and know your addresses and phone numbers for the past five years.  The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) charges a $130 application fee during this process.  There may also be an additional cost for fingerprinting.  TSA approval takes an average of two months to complete.

14. What do I need to do to participate in the flight program?

You should contact one of the flight instructors for the necessary paperwork.  A copy of a United States passport or birth certificate and a US government issued photo are needed and an indemnity agreement must be signed by a parent or guardian.

 

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