James E. Feir, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering at The George Washington University, had a long and distinguished career as a civil engineer, researcher, and teacher. Dr. Feir served as Associate Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science until his retirement in 1995. Professor Feir was an avid, skilled private pilot with an instrument rating and greatly enjoyed flying his Cessna 182 Skylane in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia as well as cross country.

Professor Feir earned his Bachelor of Science in 1950 from the University of Alberta, Canada, and his Master of Science in 1955 from the Imperial College of Science and Technology of the University of London, England. After several years as a research engineer at the Hydraulics Laboratory of the National Research Council of Canada, he took sabbatical leave to attend Cambridge University, England, to earn a doctor of philosophy in mechanical sciences, with a concentration in fluid mechanics. At Cambridge, Dr. Feir worked with his adviser, Professor T. Brooke Benjamin, Ph.D., to experiment on the disintegration of waves in a wave tank. The disintegration was unexpected, but was explained in Dr. Feir's dissertation and his groundbreaking paper with Dr. Benjamin entitled “The Disintegration of Wave Trains on Deep Water," published in the prestigious Journal of Fluid Mechanics in 1967. This paper has been referenced countless times in the scientific literature and continues to be the basis for research in the field of fluid mechanics. The process was explained in their paper and put the name, "Benjamin-Feir Waves" and "Benjamin-Feir Instability" into the lexicon of fluid mechanics. After Cambridge, he returned to the Hydraulics Laboratory as director. Later, he accepted the position as Associate Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at GWU. Dr. Feir was instrumental in establishing a graduate coastal engineering degree program with the Coastal Engineering Research Center of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Professor Feir left this mortal life March 10, 2015, at age 86. Immediate survivors are a daughter and three grandchildren, who live in Australia.

A scholarship has been established for 4 Virginia Wing cadets to be awarded $250 each per year to fund a "first hour" of dual flight instruction (or a little more time if flown in CAP aircraft). 

This scholarship is to honor the memory of Professor Feir, a life-long flyer, by introducing youth to the joy of flying. 

The criteria for this scholarship is as follows:

1. No specific application is necessary. 

2. Cadets eligible for a First-flight Scholarship:
    a. have not started flight instruction,
    b. show excellence in scholarship,
    c. evidence leadership/leadership potential, and
    d. are engaged in community service, extra-curricular activities, work, or sports.

2. Names of four eligible cadets will be randomly drawn from the pool of eligibles for award of a $250.00 scholarship.

3. If fewer than four cadets are eligible in any year, money not awarded shall be held for future award.

4. Scholarship usage, reimbursement, and required documents detailed in section 7 of the FY-19 VAWG CP Scholarship & Financial Assistance Procedures still apply. 

Past VAWG Scholarship Awards

2020 Feir First Flight - $250
  • Zarling, Lucas C/2d Lt 
  • Burgos, Jasmine, C/SMSgt
  • Campbell, Kellista, C/SMSgt
  • Owens, Aleena, C/SMSgt
2019 Feir First Flight - $250
  • Morrison, Ralph, C/CMSgt
  • Sydow, Joshua, C/CMSgt
2018 Feir First Flight - $250
  • Hewitt-Qualls, Saffron, C/Lt Col
  • Kirkpatrick, Joshua, C/Lt Col
  • Hart, Quinn, C/CMSgt