Life Update…Prepare Yourself!

I admit, it’s been way too long since I’ve last updated you guys! So prepare yourself, because not even I expected this much to happen to me since August. Let’s just say that I have been extremely blessed. I am so grateful for all of the amazing opportunities that I have been given. It’s such a great feeling to reflect on all of the goals that I have set for myself since the start of my college career and to see them come to life. Don’t get me wrong, my junior year of college has also been the toughest for me. I’ve definitely had my fair share of struggles, but have managed to get through them shiny side up with the support of my family, hard work, and my strong faith in God.

Sigma Sigma SigmaSo here is a quick summary of everything that you’ve missed. Last semester I unexpectedly took on the role of president of my sorority in order to fill the position of a sister who took an internship. It also happened to be the same semester that I was taking my toughest classes. I somehow managed to pull through while still maintaining a 3.9 GPA. It was a very stressful time, but I learned so much being the leader of my sorority and wouldn’t change it for anything. My best advice to get through times like these: don’t be afraid to take on a challenge, even if it looks impossible. During times like these, you will surprise yourself at your potential and what you are really capable of accomplishing. I know that this was the case for me. I really learned the meaning of being a leader and also learned how important it is to push aside any prideful thoughts and ask for help when I really needed it.

DISSpeedweeks in February was definitely one of the highlights this year. Because I interned with NASCAR last summer, the department I worked with was awesome enough to get me passes to every race. I made it to as many races as I could, despite all of the assignments and tests that were thrown on me. I went to the Sprint Unlimited and NASCAR Home Tracks promoters hospitality event, the Camping World Truck Series race, Nationwide race, Daytona 500, Battle at the Beach, and saw the K&N East Series race at New Smyrna Speedway. You could say I was in heaven.

NASCAR Fans Pit Road

Boeing Scholarship Recipients

At the end of February, I got to take the trip of a lifetime!! This year I was selected as one of the Boeing scholarship recipients. Boeing invited all of the scholarship recipients from the Prescott and Daytona campuses to come tour the Boeing factory in Seattle, all expenses paid for. This was the first time that Boeing has ever done anything like this, so it was truly and honor to be selected to go on this trip. It was absolutely incredible walking through the factory where Boeing manufactures all of their planes, and then to walk on the flightline where these planes are delivered to the customers. We also were able to walk through a brand new 787 and 777! Can it get any better than that??

One of my goals for this year was to get involved in more engineering projects and focus more on my academic involvement because I already have a lot of experience with the social organizations I am involved in. I am proud to say that I have been initiated into Tau Beta Pi (an engineering honor society), Order of Omega (an honor society for Greek organizations), and I am currently working on a project that involves the design of a jet engine test cell.  Last semester I was involved in Formula SAE as a Special Topics credit. Special Topics is such a great way to get hands-on project experience while also receiving credit hours towards your degree program. I was a part of the engine team and assisted in the selection of new engine and the preliminary design report.

Space Needle

Elaine and I I’m happy to say that I have continued my work at Larsen Motorsports and am officially traveling to every IHRA Nitro Jam race with the team for the 2014 season! How lucky can a girl get?! I have taken on a marketing position with Embry-Riddle in order to market the university in conjunction with Larsen Motorsports. As a result, I get to work every event with the team in the all new Jet Technology Center presented by Embry-Riddle. This is an interactive fan experience at the race track that will take fans through the engineering, human factors, fabrication, and art work behind every jet dragster. Fans will have the opportunity to see future Larsen Motorsports jet dragsters built in front of their own eyes.

Houston RodeoOver Spring Break I went home to Houston for part of the week to catch up with the family. It was definitely a much needed trip and nothing ever beats going back to Texas. Some of the highlights included Whataburger (of course), Houston Rodeo (always a tradition), amazing Mexican food, family time, a new cowboy hat, and home-cooked meals!

 

 

Rodeo with family

Selfie with Roxy Family

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ERAU Jet DragsterAt the end of the week, I traveled to Tucson, Arizona for the first race of season with the Larsen Motorsports (LMS) teams! This year the LMS teams doubled in size. The team consists of 4 female jet dragster drivers who come from a variety of backgrounds but all have a passion for racing. Elaine Larsen, co-owner of Larsen Motorsports drivers the Miller Welding jet dragster. Marisha Falk, a double Embry-Riddle alumnae, drives the Embry-Riddle jet dragster. Kat Moller, one of the newest LMS drivers, drives the Matrix Systems jet dragster. And lastly, Dawn Perdue, the 2nd newest driver, drives the Sport Aviation jet dragster. Last weekend I headed back to Texas for the second race of the season in San Antonio! I’ll update you guys later about life on the road with the Larsen Motorsports teams. I have so much to tell you about our first two races and I’ll even include my race recaps.

At the trackLastly, I am excited to announce the launching of my new website!! It was designed by Star Computer Services, a business that my parents own. I guess having your mom design websites for a living has its perks. (: Check it out! I would love your support! www.paigesanchez.com

Be on the lookout for race updates next week!

A Riddle Student’s Spring Break!

Spring Break 2014 is a wrap from all of us here at ERAU!  I just wanted to have a short “photo” blog on what an “ERAU Student Spring Break” might look like…

Inflight meal service via Biscoff cookies is a must on ANY flight!

Inflight meal service via Biscoff cookies is a must on ANY flight!  Enroute to Sebring, Florida for the 12 Hour race night practice to kick off spring break.

Flying with my dad and girlfriend is always a great time!  Here we are enroute to Muncie, Indiana from Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Flying with my dad and girlfriend is always a great time! Here we are enroute to Muncie, Indiana from Grand Rapids, Michigan.

I had a few chances to go flying over break and my dad's 1950 Piper PA20 Pacer was exercised quite a bit!
I had a few chances to go flying over break and my dad’s 1950 Piper PA20 Pacer was exercised quite a bit!

Descending into ATL from IND on a Delta A320.

Descending into ATL from IND on a Delta A320.

 

A full Order of Busyness With a Side of Airplanes

 Hello there everyone, long time no see! I got a haircut while I was away. It’s good to sit down and write a little bit!

On a beach in San Diego, CA.

Me on a beach in San Diego, CA. I was there with the  Avion exec board and our Advisor, Wes, for a Conference.

Let’s catch up! the last time I posted was about 5 weeks ago :) First things first, I got the opportunity to be interviewed by the Daytona Beach News Journal about my place here at ERAU. They sent a photographer and put together a pretty nice story which can be found here. It’s an honor to represent my school, and just plain cool to be on the front page of the local newspaper too! I was referred for this opportunity by Ken Byrnes, the Chair of the Flight Department. I serve on a board of Flight students called the Chairman’s Advisory Council, and we meet with Ken weekly to discuss the Flight Program. Through that position I also was interviewed by Fortune 500 magazine on my view of the Regional Airline career path.  So if those aren’t two  good reasons to get involved on campus then I don’t know what is! I want to encourage you prospective students to set down roots here as quickly as you can. Embry-Riddle has so many staff members and professors who are looking for talented and dedicated students to represent our wonderful University. So, come with the intention to get involved and contribute to a better ERAU!

 

As you may or may not know, Here in Daytona we host the D  a  y   t   o  n  a  5  0  0          NASCAR race. I’m not a big fan of race cars, but it does bring a few billion dollars worth of amazing jets to DAB airport for the week. I, of course, took a few hundred photos of them and have created a Facebook airplane spotting page for them which you can join here to see the photos!  Most notable among them was the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. who performed the flyover. I’ll throw some of my favorites here in the blog for you to enjoy. I used a Canon 70D with a 100-400mm lens to shoot all of these. As an executive member of The Avion Newspaper, I get to use our camera equipment, that’s a definite plus! if you have an interest in photography or writing, consider joining the Avion once you get here!

 

An F-16 Falcon, one of the UF Air Force Thunderbirds!

An F-16 Falcon, one of the US Air Force Thunderbirds!

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From February 25-28 I went to San Diego, CA with other staff from The Avion Newspaper for the 2014 Associated Collegiate Press Conference. At this conference we get together with staff from other collegiate newspapers from Journalism Schools all around the country.  I got the chance to attend seminars on writing, editing, and photography taught by collegiate professors from some of the most well-known names in journalism. I sharpened my writing skills and realized many things that I’ve been doing wrong. There’s always room to get better, that’s one of my favorite things about a hobby. It was strange being there as a representative from a school as unique as Embry-Riddle, many of the people I talked to weren’t big fans of airplanes at all! They thought we were pretty neat, as most of the other colleges were liberal arts universities. It was a nice change of pace.

This week is Spring Break for ERAU students, so I’ve gotten plenty of time to relax. On this past Monday and Tuesday, I got a really great opportunity. I was hired by the College of Aviation Dean’s Office as a photographer for the 2014 National Training Aircraft Symposium. This landmark symposium was first started by Dr. Tim Brady, Dean of the CoA. It brings together representatives from Aviation Universities, Air Carriers, Aircraft Manufacturers, and the FAA to discuss the Aviation Industry. It was really neat to listen to more than 60 aviation professionals discuss how to make our industry run better in the wake of the ’1500 hour rule’. I also got a few business cards and talked with some awesome ERAU alumni who are working for major Airlines.

I’m at the point in my college journey where I’m getting pretty busy, but I still find time to answer the occasional Email, I’ll write some blogs more often too, I promise! So if you have any questions about ERAU and how to get involved here, email me at wilkinsz@my.erau.edu

Sitting in a Cirrus SR-20 at this years NTAS Conference

Sitting in a Cirrus SR-20 at this years NTAS Conference

Onwards and Upwards! 

NBAA Regional Forum: Great Success!

On January 30th I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the National Business Aircraft Association’s Regional Forum in Boca Raton, Florida on behalf of Embry-Riddle.  The exhibitor area and static display ramp were sold out with over 80 vendors and 20 aircraft.

The exhibitor area was packed with vendors and potential customers alike, really putting a positive vibe over the whole event.

The exhibitor area was packed with vendors and potential customers alike, really putting a positive vibe over the whole event.

The advances in technology were at the forefront in the static display area with Cessna showing off its newest revision Sovereign aircraft alongside its TTx piston rocketship and Gulfstream bringing its G280 demonstrator.  Turboprop aircraft were also shown off including a new Quest Kodiak, a Beech King Air 250, and the ever pleasing Piaggio Avanti II, rounding out the new aircraft contingent.  On the technology side, FltPlan.com was there supporting their online and mobile flight planning applications and many vendors were selling new iPad and wireless capable apps for everything from flight and performance planning to inflight wifi.  The ever changing technology is sure driving the revived business and general aviation markets!

 

Technological advances are really driving the business and general aviation markets as a whole.  New flight deck systems such as this Garmin system in a new Cessna Citation M2 are not only making pilot's jobs easier, but also making flights more safe and reliable.

Technological advances are really driving the business and general aviation markets as a whole. New flight deck systems such as this Garmin system in a new Cessna Citation M2 are not only making pilot’s jobs easier, but also making flights more safe and reliable.

The real purpose of traveling down to Boca was to interview five industry officials and get their take on the state of business and general aviation as a whole and maybe provide some insight into the future.  First I heard from Gil Wolin of Wolin Aviation Consulting, a man that grew up in the back of his dad’s V-tail Bonanza and has been in the industry for over 70 years.  He brought up the points that aircraft sales are up and that new aircraft are driving these numbers even higher, validating my point that new technology is again driving a prominent industry in a time of uncertainty.  We then heard from Mr. Steve Johns, an aviation insurance broker from Michigan with over 25 years of experience in the industry.  Mr. Johns spoke about insurance rates and that they are decreasing and have been for some time now, helping the unstable market in these times.  Mike O’Keeffe from Banyan Air Service also spoke with us about FBO and aircraft sales being positive in late 2013 and early 2014, again showing good signs for our industry at the moment.

Check out the recap of the entire NBAA Forum in Boca Raton on our COB YouTube page!

Check out the recap of the entire NBAA Forum in Boca Raton on our COB YouTube page!

To wrap this all up I just want to reassert that general aviation is such an important piece in the global economy.  It isn’t only a thing of pleasure, it is a definite business tool for everyone from middle managers to top level management in all sorts of industries.  Flying in an airplane is a true form of being able to time travel, something that people have been dreaming about for quite some time.  Being able to travel anywhere quicker than the airlines, get closer to the destination you are really going to, and still have an office to work in with wifi connectivity makes business aviation a go-to answer for any sized company or family really.  Thanks to organizations like NBAA, AOPA, and EAA and initiatives like No Plane No Gain, general aviation is on an upswing and might once again return to its glory days.

No Plane No Gain

For more coverage of the NBAA event in Boca and other ERAU College of Business and aviation news, join me on the new COB Report video series on our YouTube channel at youtube.com/user/eraubusiness and view our newest video recap on the NBAA event in Boca Raton (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lmefabO_nI).

Happy flying,

Kyle

Me at NBAA BCT

 

The best advice you could ever take

Hello Readers!

 I hope the New Year has been a good one for you so far. There are many exciting new things happening on campus to kick off the New Year. Our campus has been graced with a beautiful new building, the College of Arts and Sciences (COAS). I took a walk through it on this past Monday and what a sight it is! Five stories of the most modern classrooms and labs you’ll see, topped with the largest collegiate telescope in Florida. I have a physics class in the building and I’m quite certain it will be my favorite class simply due to its location there.

The New College of Arts and Sciences

If I could provide the best advice for success while at Embry-Riddle it would be summed up in one simple phrase…

Get involved!

Here at ERAU there is a wealth of resources available to students who are willing to go after them. 2013 was a transformative year for me at Embry-Riddle simply because I decided to do more with my time here on campus. It all began with the decision to pick up an election packet for a Student Government Association position. I was unsure of my place within Embry-Riddle and I didn’t know where I really fit in. With the election packet, I was tasked with gathering 50 signatures from the student body and writing a short essay. It was hard to ask students to support me in something I wasn’t totally certain of myself–but I did it anyway, I knew It was the right choice for me to get involved.

After a few weeks and some basic campaigning I was a student elected SGA official, specifically, a Representative for the College of Aviation.

With SGA involvement follows the opportunity to enhance student life at Embry-Riddle through the provision of services, events, and representation while providing a means for students to address issues with the administration. With my position I gained many exciting opportunities to meet staff on campus, interact with students, and do neat things I would have otherwise missed out on.

“Think of Embry-Riddle as being like a large buffet, you should chew and absorb as much as you can in your time here”

By far my favorite (and most tiring) part of 2013 was Fall orientation. From waking up at 6am to help signup new flight students for flight badges, to helping set up a dance party in the student center past midnight—I got to be an essential part of new students first days on campus. And it was a blast! What followed throughout my first semester was an expansion of my experiences and opportunities so fulfilling that I cannot even recount it all.

But that wasn’t all. I also took interest in The Avion Newspaper, which is the campus news outlet and a branch of our Student Government. Again, I was unsure if it was the right place for me to get involved but I attended meetings anyway, just to see what it was like. I wrote my first article in the paper and attended my first production on a Sunday afternoon to layout the paper. I wrote another article, and then another. I couldn’t seem to get enough, I loved what I was doing there, and the other staff members were very welcoming to me. By semester’s end I was among the top contributors to the paper, and I was offered a position as News Editor for Spring 2014. I took it.

 

 

 

 

My simple decision to get involved on campus with SGA led me down a path to many more neat experiences which have enriched my life here at ERAU. Through my experiences I was even able to acquire this blog writing position. It’s a truly humbling opportunity which I don’t deserve. Through this blog I get to interact with many prospective students like you and tell you about this great University.  Embry-Riddle has so much to offer you even beyond  its incredible degree programs. I encourage you to take a look into what is offered here, then come schedule a visit. Don’t let doubts hold you back, there could be a world of opportunities just beyond the next hill. There was for me.

You are always welcome to contact me with any questions, I am greatly encouraged by email feedback  wilkinsz@my.erau.edu

“You always miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take” — Wayne Gretsky

The Joys of Aircraft Ownership

Last January was an exciting time for me.  Not only was I coming back from the Holiday Break as a junior, but I was coming back as an aircraft owner.  A Piper PA-23 Apache, N1140P had came up for sale on the market during the last few weeks of December 2012 at an airport just a short drive from my house.  I had been looking at light piston twins for the entire fall just researching and feeling out the market, and this Apache was the airplane I had been looking to get for quite some time.

Here’s my Apache over Daytona Beach in the Spring of 2014. Light piston twins can be a great way to travel and fairly economical if you fill the seats on long hauls. Photo credit James Dingell.

The Piper Apache started out as a design from the aircraft manufacturer Stinson in the late 1940s and early 1950s.  Eventually making its way to Piper, the Twin Stinson name was swapped out for the Apache, starting the long line of “Indian Pipers.”  The early Twin Stinson had smaller Lycoming engines and an “H” tail design, not unlike the B-25 Mitchell bomber.  The Apache was really the first light twin piston engine airplane to make it big on the market as everything before it was quite large, such as the big Beech 18 Twin Beech and Cessna T50 Bamboo Bomber.

The onset of the Apache was quite a significant one as the airplane was really the first “light” piston twin to catch on in the general aviation market. It was touted as a smaller business airplane but doubled as a family station wagon as well. Just as the advertisement says, the Apache is quite the utility airplane with it’s rugged twin engine design and extremely roomy cabin.

Buying an airplane is quite easy, hand over the money or sign finance paperwork at the bank and it’s yours, but it’s the other things that make aircraft ownership rough.  Insurance has to be found and paid for and a hangar or ramp space for the airplane is also needed.  An annual inspection of the airplane is required which can set you back some serious cash and if you’re flying for hire, a 100-hour inspection is needed every, yes you guessed it, 100 hours of flight time.  Then you have the consumables: fuel, oil, oil filters, tires, light bulbs, all of the little stuff.  It really does become an expensive toy very quickly.

 

Annualing an airplane is quite expensive, and on a complex airplane (one with retractable gear and flaps and a constant speed prop) like this Piper Aztec or my Apache, it gets even more expensive and time provoking.

It might seem like there’s a lot to keep straight when owning an airplane, and there is, but it all teaches you to be a better manager and teaches you to take care of the equipment you are using.  In flight training, most people have total disregard for the equipment they are using, but when you own the machine it changes all perspectives about the joy of flight.  Owning a light airplane can open all sorts of doors for you.  Just driving up to a hangar and getting an airplane out and not having to schedule one at a flight school or jump through a lot of hoops to get into one and rent it is quite nice.  The disadvantages are quite minor ones, like cleaning and detailing the airplane.  If you’re going to have it, you might as well keep it spotless, right?  I have spent many late nights and early mornings keeping the ole Apache clean, and it’s quite enjoyable in itself when it’s all finished and polished up.

Owning or even just taking care of an airplane is quite the task. One of the most enjoyable parts of owning an airplane is seeing it shine and gleam at the end of a long day of flying.

 As you can probably tell, I absolutely love my airplane.  Owning one is quite expensive, but the advantages and experience that one can pull from it is priceless.  Going flying isn’t the only thing to it, the management skills and dedication needed can really teach a person a lot about life in general.  It is a great way to really experience aviation!

Happy flying,

Kyle

 

Why are all of those flights really delayed?

As an aviation business major here at Embry-Riddle, I have taken a lot of neat classes in the past three years.  Everyone likes classes that make you think and answer real-world questions, and Airline Management taught by Dr. Abdelghany here in the College of Business is one of those courses.  In Professor Abdelghany’s class you learn the management side of airline operations, which is a very complex model in itself.  From who is involved with each and every flight, to how an airline schedule is built and run on a day-to-day basis, to how an airline recovers from a major storm just like Winter Storm Ion that just blasted through the Midwest and the East Coast, most every part of airline management is covered.

At landing slot controlled airports, only so many flights can takeoff and land per hour all based on what airline “owns” each slot. With any storm, the number of flights that can operate per hour is decreased because of the weather conditions which impacts every flight in the system. This diagram shows the impact during a weather system and a recovery plan below depicting what flights depart when to recover operations.

Here this week we saw US major airline jetBlue cancel all of its flights from its four major Northeast US airports: New York JFK and LaGuardia, Newark, and Boston.  Some stated that they thought it was a sign that jetBlue, or B6 as it’s known in the industry, was on the brink of failure, on the verge of shutting its doors.  In my opinion, I think it is a great way for jetBlue to recover from the terrible start to the winter season.  Two major weather systems have wrecked airline schedules to start 2014, and the flights you see on the boards aren’t the only things affected.  Resources, including airplanes and crews are misplaced at different destinations and duty hour limits (maximum hours one can work per day) are reached at difficult times.  Not only are resources limited, but worker safety is a giant factor as well.  In Indianapolis this week, exposed skin could potentially be hurt via frost bite in as little as five minutes meaning that ground crews are stressed to the max in the frigid temperatures.

Every box indicates a flight which has resources involved including the airplane, the pilots, the flight attendants, gates, etc. When a flight is delayed, a domino effect happens and all flights later on down the schedule using the previous resources are affected as shown here.

This and more is discussed in the Airline Management course at Embry-Riddle, making students in the Aviation Business major or minor very well prepared for a successful career in the aviation industry and the airlines specifically.  So the next time a flight is delayed and folks are wondering why, step back and look at all of the things affected by a major storm.

Major winter storms like Ion in January 2014 affect airports all across the world. Here you can see that it takes a massive effort between airport, airline, and government officials to get airline schedules back on track.

Happy flying,

Kyle

 

 

 

The Future of General Aviation

My 1955 Apache with my Dad’s 1950 Pacer. Airplanes like these are mainstays in the general aviation category.

Some of you might be wondering why I’m righting a blog about the future of general aviation because these blogs are supposed to be related to student life at Embry-Riddle.  But, what about life after Embry-Riddle?  I plan to stay in general aviation as a career and I am a huge general aviation proponent and believe it is a vital component to the transportation system around the globe.  It is a pure form of time travel, and when someone is lacking a bit of time and needs to get from Point A to Point B more efficiently, regularly, general aviation is a the go-to to provide that service.

The GA industry has sure evolved since its major inception just after the Second World War, and it is still evolving today.  Just like its big brother, the airline industry, competition across the GA market on the big scale has decreased, but it is still extremely strong today.  One reason it is so strong is because of the advent of growth in the experimental aircraft category, which continues to pave the way for new, feasible aviation technologies.  Parts being non-certified doesn’t always mean bad things, unlike their general connotations.  Non-certified parts are generally cheaper and of the same quality as their certified counterparts, and sometimes they’re identical to the same, more expensive piece!

Consumer electronics are another revolutionary in the aviation industry as well.  The onset of the true Electronic Flight Bag age is here, and that was all because of the iPad.  No longer are the days of purchasing new charts every 56 days, just click “download” in ForeFlight and updated charts are at your finger tips.  Cell phones are also being used for the same application, and that sector is only going to grow like the size of their new screens.  One other consumer electronic device has revitalized flying, and that is the GoPro.  Capturing everything aviation, the fish-eyed GoPro is making waves and bringing new people to the industry, young and old.  Inflight wifi is also the next big thing that is coming to light airplanes, and hopefully soon.  Costs are going down on that technology as developments are being made.  I really think that will spark new interest in the common man with new found connectivity while on the go.

With all of these positives, there has to be a negative, and that comes in the sense of rapidly growing costs.  No longer are the days of ads with $5000 airplanes, now $500,000 gets you a nice traveling machine.  Fuel costs and associated airport fees are also skyrocketing which is only driving down the activity in and around general aviation.

Back to when General Aviation was growing rapidly. Piper offered to teach you to fly for free if you bought your own Piper J3 Cub.

I wrote this because I truly care about general aviation.  I grew up around it and always aspired of owning a company in this industry sector because of all of the great things that come from it.  True innovation happens here, and the gift of flight is given to so many here as well.  I cannot wait to see what the future brings to general aviation!

Happy flying,

Kyle

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Weather… or not?

Hey there readers, stop scrolling and remain here for a spell.

Some of the most difficult choices  I’ve had to make as a flight student here at Riddle are when it comes down to the classic “Go or no-go” decision. Sometimes, it can be a very daunting task. If conditions for safe flight are not prevailing, then  your instructor will cancel the flight for weather. If conditions are fair, but not conducive to a productive flight (Such as scattered clouds at 2,000 when ground ref is to be done, or 20 kt gusting winds when your soft-field landings need work) your instructor will cancel the flight for weather.
Or worse, they will leave the weather decision for you to make.

Of course, I am only kidding. Making decisions for yourself as a pilot is the best way to prepare yourself for being a top quality Aeronautical Decision Maker. It puts a lot more pressure on you as a flight student when you have to make the call. I remember myself thinking of all of the variables in such a decision:

  •  An urge to complete the activity, a desire to progress to an end. –Impatience.
  •  A fear of making the wrong decision and being forced to turn back, the wasted money and time. –A potential for real risk.
  • An uncertainty of my instructors intentions, does he think we can go but just wants to hear me say it? is it a test?  –A pressured decision.

To say the ultimate truth, being a pilot is far more than just flying the plane…

Professional pilots are Decision Makers.

Aeronautical Decision Making is defined as a systematic approach to the mental process used by aircraft pilots to consistently determine the best course of action in response to a given set of circumstances.

 

So, Moving on…

“Yeah, I got weathered today” — ERAU flight students, thousands of times a year.

It happens to the lot of us and It is not uncommon for students to get backed up pretty far in their training due to cancellations for weathered activities. It’s really easy for frustration to set in. As a private student with a mid-morning flight block in the Fall of 2011, I experienced my fair share of cancellations. I believe I stopped counting after 20 or so. The uncontrollable external circumstances led to an internal struggle for me with confidence in the airplane.

At the cost of being very cliché, let me extend a healthy invitation for you  to weather the storms you may encounter in life. Though you may feel blinded by zero visibility with nothing around you but stinging rain and shattering lightning, the storm will always pass. When I look back on the storms in my life I see the growth I have sustained due to those experiences and how I was sharpened and improved by them. Long ago a wise man wrote in a book  that as Gold is refined through fire, a man is refined by his experiences in life. And surely I can attest to this fact.

When storms roll in, I find assurance in taking a long-term perspective

Here at Embry-Riddle you will have the resources to bring you far in life as long as you aspire to work hard each day and weather the storms when they build. Looking back at myself as a freshman student pilot who barely knew what the parts of an airplane were I’m amazed at how far I’ve come in  a short two years. I keep in mind the fact that I will always be a student of the skies and there will be more to learn with each change in the winds. The future is truly bright.

An action Point: Being a weather minor at ERAU and a member of humanity, I must add that we be mindful of the current relief efforts in the Philippines during the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan. Those people have gotten the brunt of nature’s effects and need help. If you feel compelled, please consider donating to relief efforts. You can find many organizations to donate to with a quick google search

Thank you for reading, I wish you a pleasant day

God’s blessings be with thee.

You may always contact me at wilkinsz@my.erau.edu with questions or if you just want to get to know me.