“This Isn’t ‘Goodbye,’ It’s Only ‘See You Later.’”

Hello there!

I’ll assume that if you’re reading this, you’ll have no idea who I am: which is good because I have a few lines to make a good first impression!

In addition to living in NJ, I also work in New York City!

My name is Billy Nguyen and I’m from Eatontown, NJ. For starters, no NJ is nothing like the TV show “Jersey Shore.” Actually, it’s quite far from it and I highly recommend coming down in the summer since the beaches and night life is pretty cool around here, or you can go to California: I won’t judge you. Growing up, I didn’t have that many opportunities to pursue my interest in engineering or really anything aerospace related. What I did to get by was take the engineering courses offered at my high-school and spend countless hours flying in Flight Simulator X. Still to this day, I fly regularly in that game.

Oh so artsy.

On the side I started doing photography, videography, music, acting, graphic design, drawing, and computer work; a mouthful right? While my hobbies weren’t directly related to my major of Aerospace Engineering, I was able to find some outlets for my hobbies to keep myself engaged and active during my first semester here at Embry-Riddle. Thanks to my ingenuity, I’m now a general member of the Avion newspaper and I regularly cover campus events as a photographer. I wish I had time to join the Acafellas and Riddle Players, but maybe someday I’ll tryout. (You have been warned.)

Adjusting to life at Riddle was extremely challenging: definitely a step-up from high-school for sure. As we near the end of the first semester I can really start to grasp how much I’ve learned and changed these past few weeks and it’s really amazing. I think I’ve changed for the better; I’m now more aware of how important time management is (note how I didn’t say I got better at time management,)  and I’m starting to learn how to navigate the world on my own. It’s a life changing experience and my curiosity and passion for learning is what will ultimately carry me through all of this.

As my high-school’s cheerleading manager of 3 years, the quote in the title was

adjust is to get involved. If you have a passion for

tossed around a lot towards the end of each season and it makes me think about all the things that could happen in the 4-5 years when you’re away at college; only time can tell how things will turn out for me. For now, hopefully I come home for Winter Break I can impress my friends with the MATLAB programs I can write.

My advice for anyone still trying to adjust is to get involved. If you have a passion for something, chances are there is a club for you; you don’t even have to join a

Wings & Waves was my first ever airshow and I was amazed.

Wings & Waves was my first ever airshow and I was amazed.

club on campus per-say. There’s plenty of opportunities in the Daytona area. There is literally so much you can do at Embry-Riddle but you have to take that first step. Also, keep in touch with your friends and family. I like to send letters to my friends and I think I’m one of the few people still keeping the post office running.

So on that bombshell, “Allons-y!”
Billy N.™

Year one complete!

Hi everyone,

My freshman year at Embry-Riddle has officially come to a close with me passing my checkride and becoming a private pilot! I am currently in the midst of packing up and waiting on the phone call to get my temporary pilot certificate.

I left off my last blog entry with two airshows to highlight; the New Smyrna Balloon and Skyfest, and Sun n’ Fun.  The New Smyrna airshow was definitely a treat as it was the debut of Kyle Franklin’s new airplane called Dracula. One of my friends described it as a what a plane would be if a Pitts, Geebee, and Waco had a kid. The performance of that airplane was incredible! Some quick stats on the airplane: It is powered by a 500hp supercharged fuel-injected radial engine, the G rating on it is +/-12g’s, and Vne (Never Exceed speed) does not exist because the airplane won’t be able to go that fast. The airplane also sported one of the most beautifully done fabric finishes I have ever seen on an airplane

Dracula taken out of his coffin

At that airshow, I was able to see Kyle Franklin, Matt Younkin, and Manfred Radius. One of my friends and I helped Manfred solder sparklers onto his wingtips for his night airshow. What does he hold them onto the airplane with? Duct tape!

A couple of us were planning to go to the Barrett-Jackson collector car auction in West Palm Beach the day after the New Smyrna airshow, but decided against it because we were all still battling the lingering effects of colds.

The next airshow was Sun n’ Fun, one of the biggest airshows in the United States. A group of us went out Friday afternoon ignoring the forecast for thunderstorms. We arrived just in time for the night airshow.  This was the first night airshow I have seen and it was one of the cooler things I’ve seen at airshows.

Since one of my friends works for an airshow performer, we were able to camp out underneath his Piaggio twin gull seaplane.

What isn’t there to love? First thing you see outside your tent is airplanes

Before the airshow, we spent the day in the performer hangar looking at all the pretty airplanes and talking with some of the airshow performers. One real treat I got to see was one of the original batmobiles and original batcopter from the 1960s TV show.

The original Batmobile and Batcopter!

During the week, they were forecasting thunderstorms for the weekend.  The airshow never saw a drop of rain the entire time we were there. Instead, it was hot! I overheard a guy saying it was 134 degrees on the tarmac.

The airshow went on, and we enjoyed another treat. Matt Chapman and world renowned RC pilot, Quique Somenzini flew formation aerobatics.  This was the first time this had been done at an airshow, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

We decided to leave the airshow early and head home because we only got four hours of sleep and after spending a day in the Florida heat, we were tired. On the way back, a friend recommended a BBQ restaurant called Four Rivers to stop and eat dinner. When we got there the line went out the building, and wrapped around the corner. After a wait of only 30 minutes, I ate the best ribs I’ve ever had in my life! It turns out this restaurant was voted the best BBQ in Florida and one of the top 50 best BBQ’s in the United States.

The next two weeks consisted of continuing to prep for checkride, and for finals as well. The amount of model airplane flying dropped to only about six flights for about two weeks because of the semester coming to a close and needing to study for finals.  However, on the study day, the RC club hosted the electric indoor fly-in.

Just hovering, don’t mind me.

This was a lot of fun and I got to fly my foamie for a little while. I ended up crashing it when I got out of sync in the rolling harrier. I never bothered to fix it because the plane didn’t fly that well, so my friend Jim let me fly his foamies for the rest of the day.

The next week was a stressful one, having to study for finals, pack up my room, and study for my checkride.  I got through it all, and passed the oral portion of my checkride. The next week was just a waiting game on when to be scheduled for my flight.  I was one of about 130 others waiting to get scheduled as well. I finally got scheduled but had to incomplete the flight, so I continued to wait to get scheduled. Three attempts later (scheduling conflicts and weather), I finally got to go up and finish up the checkride, and I passed!  That brings me to today where I am waiting on the call to go pick up my temporary pilot certificate, and in the meantime packing up my belongings in preparation to fly home for the summer.

This school year was one for the books. I made some great friends, attended many airshows, built model airplanes in my dorm room, along with many other “shenanigans.” I’ll end this entry with a little slide show of some of the pictures I took throughout the year.

Hope everyone found the blog interesting, informative, and helped make your decision on what college to attend. I’ll be writing the blogs again in the fall semester, so I’ll be back!

The Piper Cub I got to take a ride in one of the first weekends I was at Riddle

It went down as .5 in the logbook, but it was the most fun I ever had in an airplane!

My desk turned into a workshop

Cocoa Beach airshow

Wings and Waves Airshow

What I call the Dorm Room Special prior to it’s maiden flight

Took 3rd place in expert at the King Orange International

Deland Giant Scale fly-in

Daytona 500

Fantasy of Flight

 

 

Spring Break has come and gone. Now for the home stretch!

Spring Break is now over, and we are down to the last month of school before finals and summer break.  I can’t believe just how quickly time has flown over this past year and I am weeks away from completing my freshman year of college.  If I went to another school, I don’t think I would have learned as much about flying airplanes, meeting airshow performers, or sharing the passion of flight with all my friends.

During spring break, I went home and enjoyed a week of home cooking and relaxation.  I spent most of the week in the workshop getting my new Control-line contest plane polished and ready to fly.  The weather was too cold to run the engine, but I’ll be able to do that in a couple of weeks when summer break comes around.

Since spring break has ended, I have been out flying my CarbonZ Yak54 with the RC club on campus a couple times a week.  Now that it doesn’t get dark until 8pm, I’m able to get a few flights out of it before the darkness of nighttime sets in.  I have now learned how to fly rolling circles and rolling loops with it.

On the full size flight training side, I needed a couple refresher flights to shake the rust off from spring break, and now am hoping to get signed off for my check-ride by next weekend.  I grounded myself because I’m currently battling a cold.  I learned my lesson the hard way of why not to fly when you have any sort of congestion.  On my solo cross country to Melbourne, I had a very mild cold, and even then, I felt like my head was going to explode when I was on descent.

The next two weekends I am planning on traveling to West Palm Beach for the Barrett-Jackson collector car auction, New Smyrna Balloon and skyfest, and Sun ‘N Fun. I am looking forward to attending these events and will hit on the highlights for the next entry.

‘Till next time, fair skies and light winds.