Fall Semester Comes to a Close

Greetings, everyone!

It’s official: Fall 2013 has ended and winter break is upon us. Although here in Daytona Beach it certainly doesn’t feel like it, with temperatures continuing to hover around the low-80s. Everybody back home loathes me this time of year, when they’re starting to get the big snow falls and I’m just wishing I could wear a sweatshirt. I suppose nobody is really ever happy with the weather they have. I got this photo from my aunt, taken outside her window:

and responded with this one, taken outside mine:

Usually my Facebook posts about the weather aren’t well-recieved. But it’s just so much fun. ;)

My last post was right before Thanksgiving break, so I suppose I can start there. I had a good time spending a few days back home, even though I spent a lot of the time working on homework and final projects. The end of the semester was poorly timed this year, because the week after the break was the last one, so everything is due. I don’t know what the general opinion is, but I think that the last week of classes is way more stressful than finals week. Finals week is actually pretty chill – you only have to go to school for finals, and have a lot of free time. Which is, of course, deceiving, because you really *should* be studying, and not staying up until 5 am playing Pokemon Y or anything along those lines. But I digress. Nonetheless, it was nice to see my family and friends back home, even though I’ve adapted to Florida and spent the whole three and a half days perpetually cold. It’s only funny to make fun of them for the weather when I’m not there, I suppose.

This is what was happening in my simulations for my Spaceflight project – the blue is the orbit of the Earth and the green is the orbit of the moon. Which isn’t so much an orbit, but a beeline straight out of the solar system.

I got back to Daytona early on Saturday, and had a massive homework assignment due at 11:59 PM that night. So much for having a break. I think I turned it in at like 11:58:43 or something like that – oops. Then it was final projects, papers, and exams for the next week and a half. My biggest project was probably the one for my Spaceflight Dynamics class, which involved simulating a three-body orbital problem in MATLAB. It was going well until I made some calculation error and was flinging the moon straight out of the solar system. But I ended up fixing that, woo! Aside from that and the ten page paper on black holes that I had to crank out in one night, everything else wasn’t too bad. I had finals in thermodynamics and astronomy that I thought were pieces of cake (not that I didn’t study, mind you.) The only thing that gave me real trouble was my EP 501 final exam – I only needed a 62 on the final to get an A in the class, thanks to my midterm exam and homework successes, and I was legitimately worried I didn’t even get that. But I managed to pull off a 78 (don’t even know how I scored that high, to be honest) and thus managed to secure my 4.0 Master’s GPA for another semester. Still waiting on grades for my undergrad classes, but from my calculations I am looking at straight A’s! Not to brag :)

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch as seen from campus!

Another cool feature of last week was SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch, which scrubbed on the first two launch dates but went off the third time. And I got to see it from campus! It was super cool; we went up to the top of the AMS building where there is an observation deck for watching planes go in and out of the airport, and got a really great view. Even saw the stage separations of the rocket!

Stage separations of the rocket as it went up into space!

This week I’ll spend some time helping pack up the labs to move over to the new College of Arts and Sciences building, and then I’m homebound on Wednesday for about a week and a half. It’s crazy how quickly this semester went; I feel like it just started yesterday. But that’s life I guess!

That’s all I have to talk about in this entry. Haven’t gotten word if I will be writing again next semester, but I hope to be able to continue to share my stories with you! Feel free to always email me questions, or just to say hey, and I wish you all a happy holiday season and a successful rest of the school year!

Also before I close out, I’d like to dedicate this entry to my dog, Skip, who passed away last Friday. We got Skip as a rescue in April of 2001, when he was thought to be 2-4 years old, so he had a long life, and was always very happy and full of energy. He was a really great dog, and we all miss him very much.

My brother and I with Skip, 2004

 

 

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