Washington column for June 7

Knick earns his pilot papers

Sean Michael Knick II holds in his hands the private pilot certificate he obtained on May 25.
Courtesy of Ranolph-Macon Academy
Sean Michael Knick II holds in his hands the private pilot certificate he obtained on May 25.

Sean Michael Knick II, the son of Sean and Debbie Knick of Washington, gave up his senior class trip to Busch Gardens so he could take a very important test.

Sean, a senior at Randolph-Macon Academy in Front Royal, has been a student pilot in the school’s flight program since his sophomore year. He soloed in January 2011, and set a goal to obtain his private pilot certificate before graduating from R-MA. He succeeded in doing just that, successfully completing his final check ride on May 25.

“I wasn’t going to accept no as an answer,” he said when asked if he thought he could reach his goal before graduating – which he also did last Saturday (June 2). “Once I see a possibility and it’s a little out of reach, I’m going to do everything I need to do to accomplish it, and that’s exactly what I did.”

To become a certified private pilot, he had to complete a minimum of 40 hours of flight instruction, 20 of those with an instructor. Sean had to fly three hours at night, three hours flying on instruments alone, 10 hours solo and five hours solo cross-country (this meant flying to an airport 57.5 miles from Front Royal). The final requirement was to pass both an oral exam and check ride with an Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) examiner. He completed the ride in R-MA’s Cessna 172 Skyhawk at Front Royal-Warren County Airport.

Fitting all this into his schedule was not easy. In addition to a heavy college-prep course load at Randolph-Macon, Sean has held the corps commander position since the beginning of the school year. This is the highest position in the Air Force JROTC program at the school, and comes with many responsibilities. He was also captain of the varsity golf team this spring.

In spite of all this, he managed to fulfill the requirements and scheduled his check ride with the FAA examiner for May 23 – but the ceiling was too low for the flight he had planned. He rescheduled it for two days later, but even then challenges arose. At 9:30 the night before, he learned that the ceiling for the next day was predicted to be too low once again. Determined to accomplish his goal, Sean recreated his entire flight plan for the check ride, finishing up around 1:45 a.m. only to get up at 6 a.m. to prepare for his test as his classmates boarded a bus bound for Busch Gardens.

“It was definitely worth it,” he said.

Sean plans to attend Virginia Military Institute in the fall, where he will participate in Marine Corps ROTC. His hope is that he will be able to “slide” into a pilot slot through the Marines, but as he put it, “I’ll see what opportunities open up.”

During R-MA’s Spring Family Weekend Parade in April, military awards were presented to the outstanding members of the corps of cadets: Sean received the MacArthur Cadet of the Year Award, which recognizes a cadet who demonstrates exceptional performance of duties and responsibilities in a leadership role throughout the year. It is sponsored by the Douglas MacArthur Foundation in Norfolk.

Congratulations Cadet Colonel Sean Knick. A job well done!

Mission trip

Rev. Jenks Hobson, Russ Collins, Lorraine Duisit and Harold and Mary Frances Beebout left on Saturday (June 2) on the latest mission to help St. Marc Episcopal Church in Trouin, Haiti. They were to be joined in Miami by Gary Hays of Erecta-Shelter, who supervised the construction of a new school in Trouin last August.

Jenks has been invited by Pere Michaud to lead the St. Marc church service Sunday morning which will be one of the trip highlights. On Sunday afternoon, the group expects to work on construction of the new school. Monday and Tuesday the team will visit the primary, secondary and trade school classes to meet the teachers and students, and gain a better understanding of the operation and needs of the school.

Lorraine will be the team’s French and Haitian Creole translator. Harold and Russ will act as team ambassadors, having each been to St. Marc before, and will help Gary and a team of Haitians with school construction. Jenks and Mary Frances expect to focus on the schools and ways to improve communication between St. Marc and its partners.

Bloodmobile visit

Red Cross Bloodmobile visits the Washington fire hall from 3 to 7 p.m. on June 27. Please be sure to drink plenty of water and eat a good meal before donating, and bring an ID. The reward for donating on June 27 is a $10 Target gift card. For more information, call 540-675-3638.

Bible School

Trinity Episcopal Church and Washington Baptist Church’s annual joint Vacation Bible School is June 25-29 at the Washington Baptist Church, 9 to noon each day. This year’s theme is “Hometown Nazareth,” where the children will learn what it was like to grow up in Jesus’ time. For more information, call 540-675-3336.

Free Clinic

Rappahannock Free Clinic is open again on Wednesday, June 20 at the Rappahannock County Health Department on Main Street in Washington. Registration is 5 to 6 p.m. For more information, call the Fauquier Free Clinic at 540-347-0394.

Book Barn Saturdays

Hardback novels will be on sale at the Book Barn during the entire month of June for 50 cents each, a real bargain. Stop in and stock up. All other books are at their usual bargain prices, including lots of paperbacks and children’s books. The Friends of the Library would like to remind Rappahannock County citizens that the Book Barn is open 9 to 3 every Saturday. The Book Barn? It’s that red barn-like building next to the county library. For more information, call 540-675-3532.


Birthday wishes go out to a dear friend of mine, Fran Krebser. She will celebrate her special day on Sunday (June 10). Happy anniversary to Mayor John Sullivan and his wife, Beverly. A little birdie told me they celebrated their special day on Wednesday (June 6).