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“Be willing to be uncomfortable. Be comfortable being uncomfortable. It may get tough, but it’s a small price to pay for living a dream” -Peter McWilliams

This quote has been my motto ever since my senior year of high school, when I decided I wanted to go to school in Florida… 3, 140 miles away from my home in Lake Tapps, WA. Most of my friends were choosing to attend colleges either in the state of Washington or in the surrounding states. Everyone thought I was crazy for wanting to go to school all the way across the country, but this quote is what gave me the faith to pursue my dreams and move to Daytona Beach.

Throughout my first four months of college, I can tell you that I have been uncomfortable many times. But being uncomfortable in this case does not have to have a negative connotation. I believe that being uncomfortable can also mean living outside of our comfort zone, and I am a strong believer that stepping out of our comfort zone is what helps us to truly experience growth as a person.

Making the decision to attend ERAU in Daytona Beach has been the biggest and most difficult decision of my life so far, but I am positive that I made the right decision by coming here. I am able to pursue my major, which is Aviation Business Administration, and also network with so many people who are high-up in the aviation industry. Embry-Riddle provides so many opportunities for students to meet with industry professionals and the Career Expo is just one of them. Had I not come to ERAU, I am certain I would not be holding conversations with professionals who are high up in the aviation industry, especially as a first semester freshman!

My suite mates and I at the Career Expo on campus.

My suite mates and I at the Career Expo on campus.

Not only do I love my school and all the academic opportunities that are available here, but I also love to experience new things. By coming to ERAU, I have been able to do so many things that I never would have been able to do if I went to any other university. These are just a few examples…

The Florida coastline from 3000 ft above.

The Florida coastline from 3000 ft above.

Here at ERAU, flying is in our DNA. Even though I am not a pilot, I still have a passion for aviation. There is something so freeing about being thousands of feet above, looking down and seeing the buildings get smaller and smaller, and then looking to your left and to your right and watching the clouds float past your window.

I want to give you a peek at some of my experiences I have had throughout my first semester…

Me standing on the Daytona International Speedway finish line.

Me standing on the Daytona International Speedway finish line.

The USAF Thunderbirds flying over the beach for the Wings and Waves Air Show.

The USAF Thunderbirds flying over the beach for the Wings and Waves Air Show.

 

I got to stand in front of a C-17 at the NAS JAX Air Show.

Me standing in front of a C-17 at the NAS JAX Air Show.

I went boogie boarding at Ponce Inlet.

I went boogie boarding at Ponce Inlet.

 

I got to tour the observatory at ERAU and see the telescope on top of the COAS building.

I was able to see the ERAU telescope on top of the COAS building.

The original ERAU Waco.

The original ERAU Waco.

I got to spend a day at the "Happiest Place on Earth".

I got to spend a day at the “Happiest Place on Earth”.

I am so glad that I decided to step outside of my comfort zone and attend ERAU. Peter McWilliams’ quote has held true for me throughout my first semester. Taking the risk of moving across the country, starting a new life, and beginning university is a daunting task for anyone, but it has definitely been worth all of the experiences I have already had, and will continue to have here in Florida. I am completely in love with my new life here at Embry-Riddle and I know that even though I am continuing to push myself to live outside my comfort zone, “it’s a small price to pay for living a dream”.

 

 

 

 

Out of the Holding Pattern.

Rocking my SCHEYDEN sunglasses!

March, already?! Time change, already?! 7 more weeks of school, already?! I guess it’s a good thing when the time flies- you know you’re enjoying yourself. Either that, or you’re way too busy to notice! I’m excited to finish off most of my gen ed classes and Commercial Pilot Operations- it’s been such an adventure so far. This Wednesday I will be leaving for the Women In Aviation Conference in Nashville, Tennessee! This will be my first time attending the WAI conference and I could not be more excited than to spend it with the Women In Aviation ERAU Chapter. Spring Break is also next week and I will be posting some photos and blogging about my adventures, so keep squawking the blog!

The best fuel I had this past week, found in this quote: “Fear and excitement. Two emotions that come hand in hand when you commit to the important work of flying blind and of doing something completely unique.” In this process we call college, we’re still finding our way; we’re still ships exploring new horizons..but the cool thing is being able to live unbound during the process. When you realize how many opportunities you have, how limitless your boundaries truly are, let that fear and excitement motivate you.

Over the Atlantic Ocean

If dreaming is in your comfort zone, ask yourself why it is. A dream is only comfortable if we are sleeping in a warm, cozy bed, but the pursuits of a dream are, in fact, quite the opposite. They’re tough. They’re annoying. Difficult. After all, who wants to deal with the difficulties, right? You could stay in the holding pattern all day, but eventually your airplane will run out of fuel. You won’t have that excitement coupled with fear. You’ll stay comfortable, but you’ll also stay in the same spot. Here’s where the ‘what if’ comes in. ‘What if’ I could get out of this holding pattern and land this thing? See, when you’re in an airplane, you have to think quick. You have to be in front of the airplane at all times and it’s going to keep propelling regardless if you don’t. Get rid of those ‘what ifs’ because a result is going to happen anyway- the question is, is it worth the result? I’ll ask you.. would you rather stay in the holding pattern circling around contemplating the ‘what ifs’, or pick a destination and land? How long before we wave hello to the indulging and daring part of flying blind? If there’s something I realized coming to college all the way from the other side of the country, regardless if you are taking a quiet leap or kicking and screaming all the way, you still have made the risk. And wow, has it been worth it.

So try and let your fear and excitement propel you. You may come to find that not only will it push you to places you have never been before, but also that it’s a little fun. As for holding patterns.. eh, not so much.

See you at the Women In Aviation Conference.

Blue Skies

NASCAR, Parent Weekend, Fantasy of Flight and more

 

Hi everyone. February is now coming to a close and what a February it was! During the time since my last entry, Parent Weekend came and went. Other events I’ve attended were a Giant scale RC Fly-In in Deland, Fantasy of Flight air museum and the Daytona 500.

NASCAR, Daytona 500

Daytona 500

On the weekend of February 10th, my parents flew down from Vermont for Parent Weekend. During that time, parents are encouraged to attend classes with their son/daughter, and attend different programs throughout the weekend. On Saturday I was able to take my dad flying around the north practice area in preparation for my private check ride. He thoroughly enjoyed the experience, so much so that he took a nap on the way back in to Daytona Beach. Guess I must have done a good job in giving him a smooth ride.

On Sunday, the 10th, we went to Disney World and spent the day in Epcot. This was the first time since I was five that I was able to go to Disney. I enjoyed spending a day with my parents in Epcot and I’m sure they did as well.

The next weekend was President’s day weekend, which the student body enjoyed a three day weekend. I spent one day during that weekend attending the Deland Giant-Scale RC Fly-In. I was only a spectator since I didn’t have an airplane big enough to fly there. I was incredibly impressed at the aerobatics some of these pilots were doing. Having only flown Control-line for the past six years, I’ve gotten out of touch with the RC world and forgot just how insane the aerobatics can get.

Low knife edge pass at full throttle

During that weekend, I also attended the Sprint Unlimited, a no points winner take all NASCAR race in Daytona International Speedway. After watching NASCAR racing at Daytona for years, I never thought I would be 3 feet from the fence watching them race by at 200mph.
This past weekend I went to Fantasy of Flight with the Sport Aviation Club. Fantasy of Flight is an air museum owned by Kermit Weeks. He owns all the airplanes that are there, and the ones that are on display in the museum are ready to fly. We took multiple tours of different areas of the museum, and I was amazed at all the engines and planes that he owns. In one hangar across the street from the museum, he had the fuselage to a B-29 lying there, along with more airplanes than you count. Hopefully Kermit will restore the B-29 to flying condition and fly it since there is only one flying at this current time.

A beautiful example of a P-51B Mustang at Fantasy of Flight

The next day was the Daytona 500. After hearing about the wreck in the nationwide race the day before where the engine ended up in the stands, we were expecting a good race! Once again, watching the race in person was more entertaining than watching it on TV. Jimmie Johnson became a two-time winner of The Great American Race that day.

Kasey Kahne gets loose causing a 9 car pile-up

On the academic side of these past few weeks, everything has been going well. I’ve had very little homework which is not what I would consider normal for college. I am enjoying the lack of homework since it gives me more free time to be doing what I have been doing during the weekends. I am also very close to my private check ride, which I am hoping I will have before spring break. Progress has slowed down to a crawl since we had a bad day with weather, and waiting for my turn. The instructor I was with today said one more flight and I will be ready for my check ride, which I am really excited about.
If anyone has any questions they have regarding campus life, flying at Embry-Riddle, feel free to email me at colanm@my.erau.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter, mcolan94 or subscribe to my Youtube account, flycl756355.
‘Till next time, fair skies and light winds!
Matthew Colan

Nothin’ but AVgas & Sunoco Green E15.

POSITION: Daytona Beach, FL

Whew! What a week it’s been! It’s been pretty stormy on campus lately. I’m hoping this weather will clear up soon. So far, school’s going great. I’m only wondering- WHERE is the time going? It’s flying by my seat like the NASCAR drivers were today at the Daytona 500! The USAF Thunderbirds were in town for the race, but unfortunately could not perform today.. so the flying part wasn’t as realistic.

POSITION: Embry-Riddle Flight Line

Lots of blimps have been invading our Class C airspace recently because of the race. As cool as they are, I’m happy I don’t have to watch out for the traffic on takeoff anymore. ;)

Toyota Camry relaxing on campus.

For the many reasons, this is one in which explains why I love my school. While we aren’t going fast in the sky (ha ha) we’re into speed on the ground!

Photo from today at the Daytona 500 here in Daytona Beach.

Here’s a quick snap from today’s race! I was rooting for Danica Patrick and Dale Earnhardt! Such an awesome race- full of intensity and a few mishaps. Needless to say there was never a dull moment! These fields are bred for risk takers. Totally inspiring.

RNAV Circling Approach RWY 25R

My friend, Dane, took this as I was on a circling RNAV approach to RWY 25R. This is what is awesome about having observers. You get to re-live your hallmark moments when you can’t seem to get a free hand to grab a camera. I think this photo sums up my Instrument training.. a concept that is, at first, hard to grasp because everything is vision beyond sight, but once you get it- it’s the coolest thing you’ll ever want to do with a partial view. I am currently finishing up my Instrument Rating and will soon be onto my Commercial Pilot’s License. So far, NOTHING beats shooting an ILS to minimums and breaking out of the clouds to grease a landing. That’s what fuels me.

You could say my life has been pure speed these past few weeks. When you love where you are, what you do and who you are doing it with- the time seems to fly faster than you can catch it. To be honest… I don’t see it slowing down any time soon. After all, what’s wrong with a little RPM in life? See you at the track.

Update: I am now a sponsored pilot; sponsored by SCHEYDEN Precision Eyewear! I am so excited to start this new journey!

Keep squawking the blog!

Blue Skies (and black oil tracks)

February 28, 2011

 Hi everyone. I hope all is well with you. Things are good here in Daytona Beach. The weather has been in the 80’s and the town has been bustling with the race events and seasonal tourism. This is really my favorite time of year. As I have mentioned before, it is a nice change from the usual slow-pace that Daytona Beach is most of the year. If you plan to attend the Accepted Students day or visit the campus this spring, you will be able to see what I am talking about.

Well, there is a lot to talk about, so I will start at the beginning. As I have written in my previous journal entries, I have been involved at Daytona Beach International Airport working in the Operations department as a shadow, basically. However, a few weeks ago, I was offered a part-time position as a “special worker” in the Operations department and, of course, accepted. I was then airport ID-badged and put to work. I started the week of the Daytona 500 race, the busiest time of year at the airport, so it was exciting to say the least.

Because the Speedway is directly adjacent to the airport, the airport plays host to all of the military aircraft plus the 250+ private jets that fly in for the event. The 3 Fixed Based Operators on the airport are full to capacity and every imaginable space—including the secondary runway 16/34—are used to park these airplanes. I got to see and experience some very cool things, and I am going to share those with you.

I do want to say first, though, that I was off from work on Saturday and was able to attend the Nationwide Series NASCAR race with my friend Justin. It was great and we had a lot of fun watching. I remember last year watching the Daytona 500 and being freezing. This year it was the complete opposite—it was about 80 degrees and sunny!

If you watched the race on FOX, you may have noticed that the United States Thunderbirds Demonstration Team performed the pre-race flyby. This is an incredibly exciting experience for the fans, but a great deal of work behind the scenes. To support all of the crew and equipment the Thunderbirds travel with, two Boeing C-17 Globemaster cargo planes had to fly in.  These airplanes are absolutely huge and, because only some taxiways at the airport can handle the immense weight of the aircraft, it actually had to use its reverse thrusters to back itself up off the runway and onto the taxiway it parked on. What an incredible sight.Once it landed, it was a huge process to unload all of the suitcases, trucks, and carts. Then, it took about 4 hours to pump in the almost 100,000 gallons worth of fuel that the aircraft needed, actually depleting the stock of jet fuel the FBO had in their fuel farm. Unbelievable. The same process occurred when the aircraft came back after the race to load back up, plus an additional Lockheed C-130 Hercules aircraft that the Air Force flew in for the team.

 The Thunderbirds are neat not only to watch in the sky but also on the ground because of the elegance of everything they do. Everything must be perfect and smooth, so even tasks like removing the chocks from the gear or lowering the canopy are done in sync and at a running-type pace.

In addition to the Thunderbirds, several other military aircraft flew in for the other races’ flyovers. Five F/A-18 Hornets flew in as well as some T-38’s. The F/A-18’s notoriously drip a lot of their jet fuel when they are parked, so this made for quite a clean-up effort after they departed. The pilots were very friendly and allowed me to sit up in the jet and take pictures. It was a great time.

The two air carriers here, Delta and US Airways, both increased their aircraft capacity for the race week, meaning Boeing 757-200’s flying in for Delta and a mix of Airbus A319, A320 and Boeing 737-400 aircraft for US Airways. One night, the terminal saw 3 757’s and 2 737’s parked there overnight, a rarity here.

As I mentioned previously, over 250+ aircraft fly in for the race, usually race fans, drivers, and race teams. The pictures show just how full the airport is. One thing that is really neat is how after the race ends, the airport is completely clear of jets within 1-2 hours. They race out of here. Some celebrities fly in as well, such as Fergie, Josh Duhamel, and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, which was pretty neat to see. It really is great experience to see the way that the airport stays operational during the race, and I think we did a great job handling so many aircraft.

This time of year at school is also the time of year that housing decisions must be made for the following academic year. Freshman, as you likely know, are required to live on campus. For upper classmen though, the decision must be made as to whether you will live on campus or off campus, and it really is a tough decision. I decided last year that I would live on campus for two of the four years, simply because I think that when you are new to the college thing it is better to be more directly involved on campus. Next year, however, my roommate and I were lucky to find a really nice, new apartment in a town just south of Daytona called Port Orange. While I do not love the fact that I will have to drive to campus for classes every day, it is a great apartment and I think we will enjoy it a lot.

I may also have mentioned before that my parents recently purchased a house down in Southern Florida. This is great for them and something they have wanted to do for a long time, and I will be able to see them a little more often now. This past weekend, I went down there as they were beginning to purchase furniture, etc. We had a great weekend and it was the first time my whole family had been together since I came back to school in January. My uncle also came down so we really had a good time. The weather was perfect, mid 80’s and sunny the whole time. I am looking forward to going down there again in a few weeks.Classes and everything are going well. This semester’s workload hasn’t picked up to the intensity of last semester yet, but I continue to work at managing my work so that I don’t get slammed with a huge amount all at once.

I know that this time of year is difficult if you are considering different schools and trying to weigh your options. Please do not hesitate to ask me any questions you might have at all in making these decisions. I am here to help and enjoy hearing from my readers. My e-mail address again is grecoj1@my.erau.edu.

Until next time, take care and talk to you soon!
Pete

January 2010

It’s now two weeks into the Spring 2010 semester and I must say it’s going well. My classes are as follow: Introduction to Aerospace Safety (SF210), Air Traffic Management I (AT200), Principles of Management (BA201), English Comp & Literature (COM122), Survey of Meteorology (WX201), and Instrument Flight Single Engine (FA 221). I just started to get in depth work for these classes and I’m excited most about AT200 and SF210; my core courses.

I started my first Part 142 course hear at ERAU which includes a hefty amount of simulator time. I’m currently working towards an Instrument Rating, an additional privilege to my private pilot’s certificate.

During the last two weeks I had books to buy and other supplies. But over the weekend I drove to Orlando with some friends to go plane-spot, a common activity amongst pilots.

The famous Daytona 500 and the Speed Weeks are approaching and will bring in quite a number of visitors to Daytona Beach. I’m excited as it will be my first races, aside from practices. I’m hoping to attend the 500 as well as the Rolex 24.

That’s all for now. More follows as the semester continues.

Over and Out.

February 8th

Hello again to all you readers out there! Let me just start this journal by saying thank you to all of the people who have sent emails with questions, and friends and family who are always chomping at the bit, waiting for me to post another journal. Things here in Daytona have been flying, and I couldn’t be happier with this semester’s turnout so far. Classes are still going fairly well and I am beginning to feel a little more at ease with the workload and overall expectations of what’s to come. I had two tests this last week, in Calculus and Physics, which I felt thoroughly prepared for and my performance was reflected in that. I scored very well on both tests and it was very pleasing to see the work I’d put in so far pay off. It has been freezing cold all this last week, but the good news is that it is supposed to be in the seventies during this entire upcoming week. I can definitely dig that! Walking to classes in the cold, especially at eight in the morning, is a real bummer – particularly when you are late so running through it is your only option. Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to warmer weather.

As far as student activities are concerned, I just have one thing to say about last week. Rush Week was a blast! All of the events were planned and organized very well, so it was nice to just be able to attend, have a great time, and get to know all of the brothers in Pike. I was able to attend all of the rush events, which included an “Invitation Only” dinner on Friday night, which was essentially for all of the men who received a bid to join Pike. We had a blast, and I am very happy with my decision to rush Pike. Besides Rush Week, there have been quite a few things going on in Daytona. We had the Rolex 24 race last weekend, then yesterday was the Budweiser Shootout, and all this coming up week is the Daytona 500 celebration leading up to the race on Sunday. It should be a lot of fun, but it will certainly be crowded. I headed across the street to the Volusia Mall yesterday, and was informed that I was being charged forty dollars for parking. I told the woman I just simply wanted to go to the mall, and she waived the fee. That seems like the start of a crowded and overwhelming week. I’ll try to stay on campus to avoid it all.

As I said before, my classes are at their stage where tests are beginning to start flying at me from all angles. I had two tests last week, and I have three tests this week. I feel fairly confident, but it is a little much all at once. Regardless, I’ll keep you updated as to how I perform. I am also looking into doing an internship in West Palm Beach working at the ATC Tower and TRACON (Terminal Radar Approach Control – basically the guys who handle all the departures after takeoff and arrivals before landing) facilities. I have completed all of the paperwork and have met all of the requirements to apply for the position, but I am required to wait until the first of March to go any further. However, I am excited about the opportunity nonetheless.

I hope you all enjoyed the Super Bowl. I am a Jacksonville Jaguars fan, so I really didn’t care who won the game. The Pikes had a get-together at one of the brother’s houses, so some of my pledge-brothers and I went and hung out. It was a great time, and an excellent opportunity for me to continue to meet more of the fraternity. Anyway, that’s all for now. I have an Air Traffic Management test tomorrow at eight o’clock in the morning. What was I thinking taking a class that early? At any rate, shoot me an email if any questions arise about Riddle or college in general. You can also find me on Facebook.

See ya!