A License to Learn

 

Posing with My check pilot after completion of in-house checkride on Halloween Day. The mask WAS NOT worn in-flight.

 

Hey there readers, I hope you are doing well:

I write to you as a newly certificated Commercial Pilot! I completed the DE checkride process on the 20th of last month and it was quite an adventure. The Commercial certificate is where you take everything you’ve learned and polish it to a professional shine. The desire is to get paid for flying one day after all!

Next I will be beginning my Flight Instructor Course (CFI). I will be staying some extra time into Christmas break to get a head start on it. The Flightline is open until the 24th. I’m staying until the 20th.

Right now we are entering the final week of regular classes here in Daytona, and everyone’s eyes are glazing over at the amount of work ahead of us. Or is that just me? I currently have two classes with grades right on the B/A margin and it’s the most aggravating feeling. I have to Ace two final tests to make those B’s become A’s. A wise man once said that the private certificate is a license to learn.Therefore, everything that proceeds from that is continual pursuit of aeronautical knowledge. Remember what I spoke of in a previous post about being a Student of the Skies? Learning never stops in an aircraft, no matter the pilot’s level of experience.

Single-Engine Commercial Course at ERAU (FA321 P141)

You will fly two aircraft: CE-172 NAV III    and the    PA-28r-201

  •  Stalls and slowflight are re-visited, with the addition of accelerated stalls and Spin Awareness. Note: Your stalls will be recovered at the onset of a buffet, full stalls are not practiced per the Commercial PTS.
  •  A new ground reference maneuver is introduced: Eight’s on Pylons in the Cessna.
  • Three new Performance maneuvers are done: Chandelles, Steep Spirals, and Lazy-Eight’s to accompany your steep turns.
  • Our old friends,  the short and soft field takeoffs and landings are demonstrated again in the PA-28r. You will have 100 feet to make your point, reduced from 200 feet in the Private PTS.
  • Pilotage and Deduced Reckoning, Use of Navigation systems and Radar Services, Lost Procedures, and a Diversion will be redone,  refined, and re-tested from your Private level of experience.
  • Emergency Operations are practiced: You will demonstrate an Emergency Decent, a Simulated Emergency Approach to landing, and the fabled Power off 180° (short approach) in the Arrow. You will also  brush up on your knowledge of survival gear.
  • New Aeronautical Knowledge of High-Altitude operations, Pressurization, Oxygen systems, Complex gear and prop systems, FAR’s, and Commercial Pilot Privileges will be added to the knowledge from your Instrument and Private course.
  • Yes, you still have to know all the past subjects, and in finer detail!
  • The End of Course process is L  e  n  g  t  h  y  !  After a successful Pre-prog Oral, Cessna flight, and Arrow flight; you will be signed off for Checkride. First  There is an ‘In-house’ checkride process which includes an Oral, a Cessna, and Arrow flight with an ERAU check Airman. After completion of the inhouse, you graduate Embry-Riddle’s Commercial flight course. But you must then pass a Designated Examiner Checkride (DE) In order to get your actual certificate from the FAA. It will cover all of the same material and maneuvers as the Inhouse but with a Certified Examiner outside of the Embry-Riddle culture. If you  passed once with Riddle, you can do it again. The DE’s are really neat guys, I had Ken Luckett. Once you pass the DE, you are a commercial pilot, and will enjoy the satisfaction of being handed your signed certificate then and there.

I started working on my Commercial Rating over the Summer, so it’s been a long process and I’m very satisfied with the result. I can’t wait to see what more lies in  store for me through the Flight Instructor course. Now I’ll get the opportunity to practice teaching something that is close to my heart. It is that shared experience of piloting an aircraft that keeps props turning here at Embry-Riddle. The love of flying and the desire to do it for life is what drives our Eagles to soar.

Are you thinking of looking into ERAU? well I implore you to take your first step right now.  Send me an email with any questions you have and I can point you in the right direction.

Wilkinsz@my.erau.edu

 

 

 

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