Friday, March 6, 2020 - 13:05

In this week's episode of The Buzz, host Celeste Brooks, R-MA's director of communications, talks with R-MA Director of Unmanned Flight Brian Kelly and flight/drone student Jesse Johnston. The advanced drone applications program at R-MA had its first trial run during J-Term, and will return again for the four-week summer program. Next fall, the program will begin in earnest. Tune in to discover the expertise provided by Mr. Kelly, how the program began, what the J-Term class entailed, and what's on the horizon for this exciting new program!


Friday, December 20, 2019 - 13:26

Home to a flight program that has taught teenagers to fly since 1985, Randolph-Macon Academy added drones to the curriculum with an “Unmanned Flight Operations” class in 2017. Now, with the hiring of Brian J. Kelly in November, the Academy will be taking the drone program to a level no other high school in the country can claim.

A pioneer in the field of drones, Mr. Kelly is the founder and CEO of National Drone Services. He is also an award-winning television executive producer, writer, and director. Having been on board at R-MA for only a few...

Wednesday, May 1, 2019 - 19:40

For Trevor Grigas of Schenectady, NY, flying was a childhood dream, from a time when he would fly small foam Airhog planes. On Wednesday, April 17, 2019, he took one leap towards making that childhood dream a reality when he flew solo in an airplane for the first time. 

Trevor is a Falcon Scholar at Randolph-Macon Academy (R-MA) in Front Royal, VA. Last spring, the then-18-year-old received a coveted Falcon Foundation Scholarship, enabling him to attend one of five prep programs in the U.S., where he would develop his academics and physical fitness and then re-apply to the U.S...

Thursday, April 25, 2019 - 16:57

Randolph-Macon Academy Falcon Scholar Jake Hannas has finally reignited his passion for flying, and as a result, the 18-year-old took to the skies alone on Wednesday, April 17, 2019, in an important step on his way to his private pilot certification. 

It was not the first time this young man had flown solo. A member of Civil Air Patrol, he had participated in an intense ten-day flight program two years ago, soloing on the final day. Whereas a normal solo flight consists of two to three take-offs and landings, his first solo consisted of one. His ambition to attend the U.S. Air...

Tuesday, January 22, 2019 - 11:10

Lt. Michael “G-Bird” McElroy, USAF,  was awarded with the FAA Private Pilot Certification on January, 17th! Pictured is the handshake from the examiner for completion of a successful "Practical Test, Private Pilot Airplane Single-Engine Land” in FAA-speak.

Lt. McElroy began flight training early September, and passed his FAA checkride on his first attempt before his biceps outgrew the Cessna and before the Air Force finally figures out that he’s not supposed to be in high school anymore. 

The Lt. completed about 73 hours of dual (...

Wednesday, November 7, 2018 - 10:05

Randolph-Macon Academy brought in the final piece of the Hadeed Innovation Lab on October 31, 2018, when the Redbird TD flight simulator arrived. The Redbird TD is a Basic Aviation Training Device that allows private pilot students to log up to 2.5 hour towards aeronautical experience requirements and instrument students to log up to 10 hours toward an instrument rating. The R-MA Flight Department is now home to two flight simulators, as the Academy will continue to use the smaller Redbird Jay flight simulator for the variety of aircraft it includes. 


Tuesday, May 29, 2018 - 22:46

Most students anxiously await their 16th birthday, eagerly anticipating that rite of passage into almost-adulthood: obtaining their driver’s license. Not Jacob Gehly of Front Royal. He set his goal a little higher. So on February 6, 2018, five days after his 16th birthday, Jacob wasn’t in an automobile waiting to pass his driving test. He was at Front Royal/Warren County Airport, in an airplane, about to take off into the sky, alone in the cockpit for the first time.

Jacob, a sophomore at Randolph-Macon Academy, doesn’t remember a time when he didn’t want to...

Thursday, May 17, 2018 - 08:19

On April 18, 2018, three days after turning 16, Randolph-Macon Academy (R-MA) sophomore Connor Gamma climbed into the cockpit of R-MA’s Cessna 172 knowing it would be the day for his first solo flight. He had been flying for years already, accumulating over 50 hours of flight, and he was more than ready to bid farewell to his flight instructor, Randolph-Macon Academy’s Ryan Koch, and go it alone. 

Standing on the sidelines watching Connor and cheering him on were his mother, Mary Gamma; R-MA Commandant Col Frank Link, USAF, Retired, and his...

Thursday, February 22, 2018 - 11:33

Friday afternoons at Randolph-Macon Academy Middle School just got a little more exciting. Flight instructors Ryan Koch and Mark Kramer P '19 are bringing the R-MA Flight Program to the Middle School! "We've been excited about this for quite some time," said Koch. "Mark and I went to the Middle School during a mentoring session in the fall to present this club to the kids. It was very well received and they were excited about it." 

The two R-MA Flight Instructors are meeting with the middle schoolers every Friday from 2-4 p....

Monday, August 1, 2016 - 14:03

“So Parker, do you want to solo?” asked Randolph-Macon Academy (R-MA) flight instructor Ryan Koch.  Parker hesitated, but nodded his head and in his usual respectful manner replied, “Yes sir.”  

On Monday July 25, 2016, at Front Royal-Warren County Airport, R-MA student Parker Overstreet ’17 flew an aircraft with nobody else inside the cockpit next to him for the first time.  He has been flying for a year now and enjoys every second spent in the wild blue yonder.  

It is no small task to man an aircraft by...