Flying All Over America – Part 1


This past Saturday, I flew over 21 states over the United States in less than 24 hours. I did this long trip with my friend Jack, who is also a student journal writer for Embry-Riddle. What was the purpose of this trip? We wanted to fly together just for fun. We would also accumulate more than 5,000 miles on this long journey.

Here was our planned itinerary: Orlando (MCO) – Atlanta (ATL) – San Francisco (SFO) – Minneapolis (MSP) – Orlando (MCO). In Part 1 of this exciting story, I will cover the flight segments until SFO. The remaining two flights until we land in MCO will be covered in Part 2.

Long flight ahead: ATL to SFO.

Long flight ahead: ATL to SFO.

Our day started very early has we had to drive to catch a 6:00AM flight in Orlando. The first flight to Atlanta was just over an hour from wheels up to touchdown. The thing I like about early morning flights is that you can see the sunrise from above.

When we arrived at the busiest airport of the world, we did not have much time to connect to for our next flight. Fortunately, our arriving flight and our departing flight were in the same concourse, so we did not have to take the Plane Train.

For the transcontinental flight to San Francisco, we were onboard a Boeing 767-300ER with one of Delta’s international configuration featuring lie-flat beds. I wished we got upgraded to the front cabin! We were seated in the first row of Comfort+ at an exit row, so we had plenty of legroom and space to walk around during the duration of the flight.

Delta has a crew base in SFO and uses this aircraft (B767-300ER) for transcontinental flights to New York-JFK and Atlanta.

Delta has a crew base in SFO and uses this aircraft (B767-300ER) for transcontinental flights to New York-JFK and Atlanta.

All the passengers were settled in their seat for an on-time departure when the captain announced a delay due to a problem with the main door. The door could not close and maintenance had to replace a part. The missing part of the door took a long time to arrive at the aircraft and it lead to a delay of about an hour before we got cleared for pushback.

My friend Jack and I are discussing with the flight crew while we were waiting for maintenance to repair a part on the main door.

My friend Jack and I are discussing with the flight crew while we were waiting for maintenance to repair a part on the main door.

In the mean time, we were granted permission by one of the flight attendants to go check out the flight deck. We spent about 45 minute talking with the first officer about aviation. The time went by fast and we returned to our seats because the airplane was ready to leave the gate.

The first officer's notes before the flight.

The first officer’s notes before the flight.

During the flight, we worked on a project for our Airline-Airport Operations class. We had to select an airport or airline and write a report on it. We were actually productive on that flight and did homework! As we approached the state of California, the flight attendants made a trivia to the passengers asking four questions related to the Super Bowl. The folks who got the most right answers would win a bottle of wine (I wished the question would be related on Delta!).

The attendants on our flight to SFO made a trivia with questions related to the Super Bowl. The passengers who got the correct answers got a bottle of wine!

The flight attendants on our flight to SFO made a trivia with questions related to the Super Bowl.

When we booked the trip at the beginning of the semester, we did not know it was during the Super Bowl weekend. At first, we thought the airport in San Francisco would be crowded, but it was not! At least for the time we were there.

Story to follow in Part 2!


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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

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)