Tuesday, May 10, 2016
On the bright, clear morning of April 15, 2016, Jared Keefe achieved his longtime dream of flying solo in an airplane, completing three successful takeoffs and landings at Front Royal/Warren County Airport. Jared, a sophomore at Randolph-Macon Academy (R-MA) in Front Royal, is the son of Gabriel and Tammy Faath of Williamsburg, VA, and Richard and Karelyn Keefe of Sebring, FL.
Jared began flying as part of the Randolph-Macon Academy flight program in the fall of 2014. During his freshman year, he managed to squeeze in only about nine hours of flight time. To achieve his goal of obtaining his private pilot certification before graduating, he knew he was going to have to fly more this year. With that focus in mind, he flew another 23 hours this year as he prepared for his first solo flight. A few days after his 17th birthday, R-MA flight instructor Laura Abraham informed Jared he was ready and she got out of the plane. So he taxied around and began his first take-off, albeit with a bit of trepidation.
“Once the plane lifted off, I thought, ‘There’s no way out, I have to do it now,’” Jared later recalled. “Once I landed the first time, I wasn’t nervous at all.”
R-MA’s unique flight program allows students to fly during class hours. The students are responsible for ensuring they do not miss the same class twice in one week, that they do not miss tests, and that they make up any work they miss. Jared has been managing this successfully and is consistently named to the Dean’s List (earning a GPA of 3.3 or above) for his outstanding grades.
Currently Jared is considering becoming a military pilot via Air Force ROTC at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, or becoming a commercial pilot. For now, he will continue to work on his private pilot certification through Randolph-Macon Academy’s flight program.
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, VA.