Soaring Eagle Foundation

Mission | Values | History

Our mission is to educate and empower veterans by providing necessary training to obtain glider pilot certification.

Each two-day Flight Academy comprises a half-day classroom session discussing aerodynamics, weather and glider flying procedures. Students and FAA-approved instructors fly for the rest of that day and the following day. Thanks to the support of our partners, we’re able to offer Flight Academy at no cost to veterans. If a veteran elects to continue toward an FAA Glider Pilot license, training costs are shared.

Since its inception in 2012, the Soaring Eagle Foundation has given wounded and physically disabled veterans the opportunity to explore this exhilarating world of aviation. Though our program, we provide a unique and rewarding experience for the men and women who have bravely served our country.

Soaring Eagle Foundation is a 501(C)3 non-profit registered in the state of Colorado.

Board of Directors

Our board collectively served more than 85 years in our armed services.

Randy Rothe


A founding member of Soaring Eagle, Randy graduated from the USAF Academy in 1977. As an AF Reserve pilot, he flew C-130s during Desert Shield, advised the Rocky Mountain Civil Air Patrol, and was a sailplane instructor pilot at the USAF Academy. A United pilot and instructor since 1989, he is currently an A320 captain.

Bob Chapman

Vice President

Bob, a founding member of Soaring Eagle, graduated from the USAF Academy in 1984. On active duty and as a reserve member, he has flown the C-130 and UV-18 Twin Otter. A United pilot and instructor since 1995, Bob is currently a B-777 first officer.

Jenny Rothe


Jenny enlisted in the USAF after high school, reconciling Air Force Stock Fund reporting systems, accounting for Investment Equipment Funds and certifying fund availability for commitments and obligations, and supervising enlisted and civilian personnel. Currently an office manager, Jenny volunteers with bookkeeping and administration.

Stewart McQuillan


A former Royal Air Force engineer and pilot, Stewart spent most of his military career with a front line Squadron. After an accident paralyzed him from the waist down, he learned to fly a glider using hand controls. At the request of King Hussein of Jordan, Stewart worked with the British Army Air Corps to develop a system for individuals with spinal cord injuries to fly helicopters. He later met Randy and moved to the U.S. to help launch Soaring Eagle.

Chris Rothe


Chris started flying gliders with the Civil Air Patrol, earning his glider instructor rating at 16. A graduate of Metro State University, he joined the Air Force Reserve as a C-130 Aircraft Commander and instructor at Peterson AFB, transferring to the Academy in 2014 as a soaring instructor. Currently, he flies Airbus A-319/320s for United, and is a USAF Reserve evaluato and an instructor for the Academy soaring racing team.

Mark Dickerson


A former fighter and test pilot for the USAF, Mark flew more than 60 types of aircraft during his 25-year career. He holds a BS in Engineering Physics from Cornell, an MS in Aeronautical Engineering from Stanford, and an MBA from Regis. A graduate and former Deputy Commandant of the USAF Test Pilot School, he is an Associate Fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots. Mark is a tow pilot, glider flight instructor, disaster-preparedness volunteer, and adjunct faculty at Colorado Technical University.

Jim Pederson


After enlisting in the USAF in 1988, Jim started his flying career after graduation from the USAF Academy in 1996. He also has an MBA from Touro University. During his air force career, he flew more than 4,500 hours, including over 750 combat hours, and taught airmanship courses in the TG-16 glider at the USAF Academy, retiring in 2015. Jim currently flies the B-737 as a First Officer with United and is a glider flight instructor.