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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”.

 

 

 

 

Senior Year Adventures!

“There are no secrets to success: don’t waste time looking for them. Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty to those for whom you work and persistence.” – Colin Powell

Through all my years of school, experiences, hardships, and opportunities, I have found that there is nothing more true than these words from Colin Powell. I have worked hard my entire life, keeping the main goal in focus, in order to one day reach my dream of becoming an engineer for a NASCAR team. And you know what? It has absolutely paid off!

This is what I love about Embry-Riddle.

Being involved at Embry-Riddle and being a part of the Mechanical Engineering department has given me more opportunities than I could ever imagine. Because of my successes at ERAU, I have recently taken on a position that I have dreamed of my entire life! I am happy to announce that I am now the Crew Chief for Elaine Larsen’s Miller Welding Jet Racing team for the 2015 season. I will be traveling with the team again for the 2015 IHRA Nitro Jam Racing Series and will be a part of the first all-female jet racing team! This position will be perfect for me as I look to improve upon my hands-on skills and continue to learn about the maintenance done on these jet dragsters. Check out the press release below:

 Larsen Motorsports Fiery Female Debut for 2015

Crew Chief Elaine and Paige

 

Besides taking on this new role, school has been extremely busy for me, like always! I am working on my Senior Design Project for the Formula SAE team. In previous years, Embry-Riddle has participated in the Formula Hybrid competition, but this year, we have switched to the Formula SAE competition because it coincides more with our Mechanical Engineering curriculum under the High Performance Vehicle track. I am currently on the Suspension team and the Vehicle Integration lead. My responsibilities include the design of the a-arms, tie rods and push rods, spindle, and upright, as well as ensuring that each subsystem in the vehicle works well in the overall design. Not only do we get to design the entire vehicle as a team, but we get to build and test it next semester in order to prepare for competition in May.

Formula Hybrid Vehicle

Formula Hybrid Vehicle at competition last year


Along with Senior Design, I have been learning Computational Fluid Dynamics in my Vehicle Aero class. This is an extremely tedious class, but I have been learning industry software in order to analyze the aerodynamics on a vehicle. This has by far been my busiest semester because of all of the long projects I’ve had to complete, but I have learned so much this semester with all of the engineering software I am learning and design work that I have done.

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Screenshot of the grid used to analyze the aerodynamics of a vehicle

This semester hasn’t been all work. I’ve remained actively involved in my organizations, including Orientation Team and Sigma Sigma Sigma. I helped organize a philanthropy night at a Women’s Volleyball game called the “Volley Against Domestic Violence” in order to raise awareness for Tri Sigma’s local philanthropy, the Domestic Abuse Council. We sold t-shirts for the event, held a food drive, and raised almost $900 to donate to the DAC.

Tri Sigma at the Volley Against Domestic Violence

Tri Sigma at the Volley Against Domestic Violence

I participated in my last Orientation as an O-team ambassador and it was such a blast. O-team has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my college careers and I will definitely miss it. I am proud to represent the university and am proud that I am able to have such a huge impact on the new students and families. O-team has been a second family for me and has been such an amazing support system throughout my time here at ERAU.

Fall 2014 Orientation!

Fall 2014 Orientation!

My O-family!

Well, I will leave you with a couple pictures of my adventures this semester! Next weekend I have my first jet dragster race as a crew chief in training! (: I’ll keep you posted!

Tri Sigma Hippie Themed Recruitment Week!

Tri Sigma Hippie Themed Recruitment Week!

Welcomed 9 amazing women to our sorority!

Welcomed 9 amazing women to our sorority!

Participated in the Domestic Abuse Council's Purple Parade

Participated in the Domestic Abuse Council’s Purple Parade

Hanging out with the Deans!

Hanging out with the Deans!

Hanging out down Beale Street for the IHRA Nitro Jam World Finals in Memphis!

Hanging out down Beale Street for the IHRA Nitro Jam World Finals in Memphis!

Elaine Larsen lighting up the skies at the IHRA Nitro Jam World FInals

Elaine Larsen lighting up the skies at the IHRA Nitro Jam World FInals

 

 

 

Ending Summer.

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Just a couple of #ERAU pilots

The fall semester starts on Monday! I’m pretty excited except I only really got a week break from classes this summer; time to break out the last minute check-list for books and essentials!

This past week I flew back home to San Diego and I’m definitely missing beautiful Southern California already, but it’s good to be getting back into the swing of the semester.  It was a perfect time to get my bearings and get some relaxation in before another semester. I will officially be starting my junior year (scary) at #ERAU and I’ll be taking lots of classes concentrated around my major. I’m super excited for my Terrorism Insurgency & Irregular Warfare class – not to mention I get to take a cool Globalization & World Politics class! This semester is definitely bound to be extremely busy, but that’s what makes the fall semester… well, fall semester.

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Location: Final for 27 into SAN

Lots of exciting things are in store for this semester, especially now reaching Junior year. Junior year is an important year because internship season is really falling upon us students. It’s now time to start researching the adult world and defining which path we would like to take, and doing these things now really eases tension for senior year, so if you’re a Junior – get started!

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Location: Backyard

If it’s your first week at college, welcome to ERAU! The first month is always exciting with fun activities and events going on. Here are some tips for your first week at college:

1. Use your time wisely! With everything going on around you, it can get overwhelming. I’m talking staying up until 4am getting to know everyone in your dorm, to waking up early for events, running all over campus trying to fix schedules, running last minute errands, to trying to catch your breath when you finally have some downtime.

2. Plunge into your classes! The sooner you do this, the more relaxed your semester will be. Print out all syllabi and make sure you have organized notebooks or binders for your classes. Start having the “few weeks from now” mindset.

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Chair flying the Cessna 172

3. Introduce yourself to professors. This allows you to create an invaluable bond in college, and even a lifetime! It will allow you to reach out easily to them during the semester if you have questions, concerns, or even ideas you may have for the class!

4. Find your TWO quiet places. And I don’t just mean the library, but if that works for you, then great! First, try to find a place where you won’t have many distractions so you can study, and also find a place where you HAVE a good distraction to take you away from studying – like a place to watch airplanes or soak in some sun.

5. Develop a habit of studying often; this takes practice. Try not to get into the procrastination mindset (we’ve all been there), or “massed cramming” mode.

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Over the Atlantic

I hope you all have a great first week at Embry-Riddle if you are coming for the first time or if you’re returning for another awesome year. If you happen to see me on campus, please come say hi or ask any questions you may have!

#GoEagles

The Secrets to Staying #ERAUFit: How to Stay on TOP of Your College Life.

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“Let the beauty of what you love, be what you do.” – Rumi

Location: ERAU

When I first came to college, there were a ton of various activities going on. Freshman year was so exciting yet so overwhelming because I was so thrilled about classes, flight, events, joining clubs & organizations, you name it! It wasn’t actually until my sophomore year that I realized things were buckling down; I had to prioritize. So what is the first step toward college success? Confidence. You can’t expect to succeed if you aren’t feeling determined!

TIME Magazine asked several students on what their secrets were to success in college- it’s probably not what you’d think! Leading off the confidence note, college is here to inspire you, to nurture you and to grow you. It’s up to you to determine your college experience. Let that soak in!

In that case, it’s important to pursue passion, not A’s. Wherever your passion takes you, you’re sure to succeed. If you go into a class with the wrong mindset, it can truthfully determine your success in that class. Ambition and innovation secede grades every time. Go into a class with curiosity, interest and attraction- not just a simple willpower to pass or make a good test grade. There is no substitute for the joy of doing something you enjoy and doing it well.

Get comfortable with failing. Sometimes, you’re going to have a bad test score, that’s ok. Actually, sometimes failing can be the best educator. You learn from mistakes and move on.

Set goals and make them real. If you really want to manage your time wisely, set realistic short term and long term goals, and give them a deadline. This will motivate you to work toward your goals without excuses. It will also help you develop a crystalized vision.

Make a personal connection to your studies. Leading off the growth aspect, it’s important to view your studies as something that is going to benefit and cultivate you as a young professional. College is a time to develop into you and who you want to be. Learning is about you. If you look at it this way, you’ll be sure to work harder and gain much more than just facts and concrete information; you’ll be able to see things in other perspectives and all different types of angles and be able to apply it to your everyday life.

Be active. This doesn’t mean just physically, but mentally as well. It’s important to indulge yourself in all the facilities and amenities your college offers such as a physical fitness center, tutor labs, study groups, clubs & organizations, etc. Expand your web network through Alumni associations (www.ERAUAlumni.org) or clubs on campus. Utilize tutor labs when you are unsure of a topic in class. Stay active at the fitness center (http://bit.ly/1sjI1UY) or join an intramural team and choose healthy options in the dining areas (www.eraudining.com). I couldn’t stress enough how much this will help you to flourish in your college career!

Find a way to contribute. Whether it be through an eco-club, a job, or even helping out a fellow classmate, find a way to give back to your university. Not only does this help you get out of your comfort zone, but it allows you appreciate the community around you and it grows your networking web. Try it!

Manage your time. I really stress this one because when I was a freshman, I wanted to join everything. First semester can be pretty overwhelming, especially if you’re coming from across the country like I did. Let your first semester be a trial phase on what you are truly interested in. Be picky about which clubs/organizations and activities you would like to partake in. Unfortunately, I wasn’t too selective with my time, and I ended up being slumped by spring semester (side note: Sophomore slump is a real thing, google it!). So choose activities that truly interest you and will benefit you. Also, take time to plan out your schedule around your classes e.g. when you will be studying, working out, eating dinner, hanging out with friends, etc. and stick to it! The earlier you learn these tactics the better off you’ll be in the long run. Form good habits now!

Go after what you love. You’ve already decided you want to go to college, now what could stop you? Sometimes, between the general education requirements and prerequisites, a must-do for any major, it’s easy to get caught up in the routine of everything and lose sight of your intellectual interests and gifts. If you see this happening, try to take at least one class that really sparks your interest every semester. Ever since I started college at Embry-Riddle, I’ve always had at least one class each semester that has made me super excited to learn more! Don’t forget why you’re at college in the first place- to find, learn, and ripen the thing(s) you are so passionate about. If you have the passion, use it. That’s how dreams are achieved.

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(For more tips, email: giannotw@my.erau.edu)

The Summer of Delta: Part 2

Delta 767-400 in Atlanta.My internship at Delta Air Lines this summer has been quite the adventurous one.  Besides a very busy work schedule, I have already touched the east and west coasts, mainland Europe including Belgium and The Netherlands, as well as many interior states.  My trip to Brussels was quite the ever-changing one as I had to take the train to Amsterdam and catch a Boeing 777 ride home to the United States.  Keeping up with the rest of the aviation geeks here, being able to spot some gorgeous airline heavy metal is a regular occurrence at the world’s busiest airport.  The cell phone lot at ATL gives you the opportunity to take some great pictures, like the one above of a company Boeing 767-400, when we are using a west departure operation. Working at an airline is NEVER a boring job!

A panorama of NYC on the approach into LaGuardia.

A panorama of NYC on the approach into LaGuardia.

 

Infamous Delta Biscoff cookies help power a lot of our 90,000 employees each day.

Infamous Delta Biscoff cookies help power a lot of our 90,000 employees each day.

Delta is a very dynamic place to be right now, especially since we seem to be the airline with the target on our backs.  Massive profits in recent times have set Delta apart from the rest of the industry, showing that massive growth and acquisition strategies have seemed to play out in the company’s favor. One of the biggest happenings at the company since I have been here was the recent opening of the Delta Flight Museum at the airline’s Atlanta General Offices location.  The event was well-covered on social media and news sites as well, so check it out for more information on how to see this great attraction.

There was quite a crowd of employees and distinguished guests at the grand opening of the renovated Delta Flight Museum on June 17th, the 85th anniversary of Delta.

There was quite a crowd of employees and distinguished guests at the grand opening of the renovated Delta Flight Museum on June 17th, the 85th anniversary of Delta.

The internship has really opened my eyes to how complex an airline is.  Thousands of people are needed to get a flight off the ground, not just the six to twelve crewmembers that are in each airplane getting the passenger from point A to point B.  The typical view of an airline is one that comes from what folks see at an airport but it is really much, much more in depth.

One of our flagship machines, a Boeing 777, took me back across the Atlantic from Amsterdam to Detroit.

One of our flagship machines, a Boeing 777, took me back across the Atlantic from Amsterdam to Detroit.

Departments like mine (Network Planning) touch each flight at some point and build a schedule that has integrity and will be profitable, Revenue Mangement, aka ticket pricing, prices many levels of tickets with limitations depending on what days you might be traveling or how far in advance you might be purchasing your fare, Operations Control handles each flight enroute and solves any problems that might arise, and Finance provides the money needed to get each flight off the ground by financing airplanes and projects as well as daily operations.  The picture to the right shows my ride back to the US from Amsterdam, one of our Boeing 777s.  Partnerships like our one with KLM in AMS make our international operations much easier by sharing gates and ground equipment plus personnel. Hundreds of other specific departments and sectors are needed as well, really showing the complexity of the world’s greatest mode of transportation: Flight.

 

One of the experiences that I have been able to take in at Delta has been the opportunity to fly a handful of their full-motion simulators.

One of the experiences that I have been able to take in at Delta has been the opportunity to fly a handful of their full-motion simulators, including this Boeing 767.

Not only am I a business major, I also have my FAA Commercial Pilot’s Certificate and keep current in both multi-engine and single-engine airplanes.  One perk of being at Delta has been access to the full-motion flight simulators that our pilots use to train on their specific aircraft type.  We have at least one simulator or more in-house for every type that we fly except the Boeing 717 (Boeing owns those simulators).  I have been fortunate enough to fly the Boeing 767-300ER and Boeing 777-200LR sims as well as the Airbus A330.  I hope to fly the other types, stay tuned for more pictures!

I am excited to see where else my non-revenue travels will take me this summer and I will be sure to share more pictures and stories as they happen!

Happy flying,

Kyle

 

 

007 Study Abroad: Belfast, Ireland.

IMG_84702.5 Week Study Abroad in Ireland, France, Great Britain

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Greetings from Ireland! Location: Belfast Peace Walls

Official Day 2 has just ended and it’s 10pm in Belfast right now, but feels like it’s 5pm! Most of us arrived in Belfast on Sunday. After a 6 hour flight, sleep deprived, hungry, and after having an interesting encounter with customs, we were ready to go to bed. Of course, with the time change, we couldn’t until later that night. So, that day we walked around the streets of Belfast gathering up Belgium chocolates, last minute essentials, and a crazy amount of shepherds pie. Our hostel, the Vagabonds, is extremely nice and is filled with various free souls (mostly students) from all over the world. Every hall is decorated with historical pieces of Belfast and sprinkled memories. It’s cozy and quaint. I couldn’t complain.

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IMG_8394Inside the hostel

BpHN3uXIEAAxXrVDowntown Belfast

IMG_8425For the beginning portion of Summer A, us students took two main courses: HS 405, Emerging Topics In Homeland Security and HS 325, Terrorism: Ideologies, Origins, and Goals. We mostly discussed the time of the Troubles here in Belfast, the time of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and their experiences with the British Government.

saSigning the Peace Wall
(this peace wall was intended to separate the Catholics from the Protestants during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. The city people do not plan on taking the wall down anytime soon.)

Yesterday, we had two political tours around the city of Belfast; one tour from an ex member of the IRA and the other from an ex member of the UUP. To say the least, it was a very interesting experience because we got to hear both sides of the story during the times of the Troubles.DCIM100GOPRO

sa5sa6Oldest pub in Belfast

Today, we went to Queen’s University for a lecture. The University was beautiful! We listened to two professors from the Institute of Conflict Transformation and Social Justice; they mostly spoke about the time of the Troubles here in Northern Ireland. We certainly gained a few gems of wisdom on the conflict.

10367162_10203175519045520_1323439026141113012_nDCIM100GOPRODCIM100GOPRODCIM100GOPROCity Hall

DCIM100GOPROTomorrow, we’ll be hopping over to Giant’s Causeway for a tour of a great volcanic plateau on the ocean and experience old Irish castles and whiskey tasting. Thursday, we head to Normandy, France for the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

If you are interested in studying somewhere outside the US, definitely consider it for the future. You will gain a completely different perspective on not only social aspects, but also academics as well. And take the risk of going to somewhere foreign to you! The leap is totally worth it, after all.

Here’s a great quote on growth: “It is not that we love to be alone, but that we love to soar, and when we do soar, the company grows thinner and thinner until there is none at all. …We are not the less to aim at the summits though the multitude does not ascend them.”- Henry David Thoreau

Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and get uncomfortable. Safety does not always lie in security, which is why we grow when we are in unfamiliar situations. Allow yourself the chance for that growth.
Keep you posted.

Summer Life – Delta Air Lines Internship

 

Delta World Headquarters

Hey all!  I hope everyone is having a great summer as we fly into the month of June.  My month of May was quite eventful; I wrapped up finals at the beginning of the month and then headed up to start my summer internship at Delta on May 12th.  I’m working with the great folks in the Network Planning department where a large group of individuals plan where and how we are going to fly all of the routes that are out for sale to the public.  The process isn’t as easy as saying you’re flying from point A to B at this time, it is a very choreographed process with tons of steps between deciding when and where to fly and how they are actually going to do it.

Sabre AirVision is the software that we use in Network Planning to schedule all of the flights that Delta operates.
Sabre AirVision is the software that we use in Network Planning to schedule all of the flights that Delta operates.

My internship started off very quickly as I quickly became acclimated with our scheduling software, Sabre AirVision.  The product is very easy to use and not only contains the flight schedule that we are working with, but it also generates reports on things such as flights that may have the same number as another (duplicates, which you cannot have on the same day) and hours that airplane types and crews will fly (we only have so many airplanes and pilots and crews are restricted by the FAA on how many hours they can fly in a day).  I cannot imagine scheduling flights without a product such as this one.

Network PlanningPutting together the schedule is quite a challenge because of dozens of things that the normal traveler doesn’t see.  Things such as performing overnight maintenance on our fleet and keeping the number of flights coming into and out of a hub within max limitations is a very hard task due to the number of flights that we are trying to fly in a day.  The Delta system is based around a hub-and-spoke style layout and every hub has special characteristics that the folks in Network Planning have to keep in mind.  No one flying on an airline likes delayed or cancelled flights and it is our job to make sure that every flight gets off the ground as planned, on-time through major planning months before the day of the flight.

Traveling while interning at Delta is a must!  I went to NYC for the first time over Memorial Day and it was a fantastic experience!

Traveling while interning at Delta is a must! I went to NYC for the first time over Memorial Day and it was a fantastic experience!

One great perk of interning at Delta is the flight benefit package.  A normal intern has the opportunity to non-rev, or fly anywhere in the world for minimal or no cost at all as long as there is an open seat in the cabin, aka a non-revenue generating seat and passenger for the airline.  So far I have worked at Delta for three weeks and have gone home to Indiana twice and to New York City, Myrtle Beach, and Daytona Beach all once.  Being an airline intern definitely has its perks other than gaining awesome experience behind the scenes.  I cannot wait to use my non-rev benefits to travel around the world!

6Delta World Headquarters, known as the G.O. by employees, is an awesome place to work and I am extremely honored to have been chosen to work for and represent such a well respected and successful entity.  Stay tuned for blogs in the coming weeks and months from here in Atlanta!

 

Happy flying,

Kyle

 

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! 

Rockets, Racecars, and other fine things

Hello readers, it’s been a while since I’ve shared some stories with you, but let’s catch up!

It’s been a busy first few weeks this semester, mainly because of my new position at The Avion Newspaper, which I believe I mentioned before. I work as the News editor, and I manage the content which we run each week. It’s an honor to do, and I love all the new things it has been teaching me. You can read all of our issues by clicking here

My classes this semester are:

Physics 2, Turbine engines, Crew Resource Management, FMS Systems, and Aviation Legislation. It’s a pretty good variety of subjects and will keep me busy. I’m starting to get to the point in my degree program where the courses are much more specialized.

On to the cool stuff now!

My press badge. SO COOL. In the background is the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB)

My press badge. SO COOL. In the background is the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB)

On January 23rd I got the opportunity to drive down to KSC, (or Cape Canaveral, The Kennedy Space center, or whatever you prefer to call it) There, I was covering a rocket launch and had full PRESS accreditation as a reporter from The Avion Newspaper. I went with my managing Editor, Matt Micholowitz. We spent the evening hanging around the press area before we got on the bus to go to NASA static test road to watch the launch. United Launch Alliance was launching their TDRS-L satellite, which is a communications satellite for NASA’s Space Network. The Rocket was a Delta V-401 configuration and launched at 9:33 pm. It was really cold that night, and i was surrounded by a few dozen other anxious photographers waiting to get the perfect shot. My best photo we included in the Avion after I wrote a story on the launch, you can see my photo below. It was so cool to get to attend this launch, and I couldn’t have done it without being involved in The Avion Newspaper.

The Rocket lifts off at 9:33 PM, it lit up the entire area, it was awesome!

The Rocket lifts off at 9:33 PM, it lit up the entire area, it was awesome!

A few days later on the 25th  I got to go to the ROLEX 24, which was a 24 hour Endurance race featuring some of the most powerful supercars in the world. I spent 8 hours at the D  a  y  t  o  n  a    S  p  e  e  d  w  a  y with some other Avion Photographers: Trey Henderson-Editor in Chief, Matt Micholowitz-Managing Editor, Richard Weakly- Advertising Manager, Austin Coffey- Photo Editor, and Lynsay Hurilla-Business Manager.  I held a Canon 60D close and took some great photos!  it was the first time I got to use a professional quality camera and glass. The atmosphere was in an uproar of revving engines and screaming tires. I stayed from early afternoon until late at night, this allowed me to get a great variety of photos at the event.  It was the first time I had been at the track and will not be soon forgotten. I had a blast spending a day there, take a look at my favorite photos below.

A lot of power in this picture!

A lot of power in this picture!

rolex2 rolex3 rolex4

So as you can see, it’s been quite a ride so far this semester, my opportunities have opened up a lot through being at the Avion. These are the lives of students at ERAU, we get to do incredible things. It’s an honor to share them with you on this blog, as always, you are free to contact me with any questions about flying and life. It’s fulfilling to write this page, but the real value in it for me is when someone contacts me and wants to talk.

I get pretty busy here at school, and sometimes it can feel discouraging. It wears me down. Throughout last week I had a song in my head, it was from Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory. All week long it played over and over:

“If you want to view paradise,

Simply look around and view it,

Anything you want to, do it

Want to change the world?

There’s nothing to it.”

So, you know what I did? I took time in the middle of the day to watch Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory. Sure maybe I had other things to do, but the time i spent refreshed me to get through the week. It was much more important that I was focused and relaxed.  Sometimes you just have to escape into paradise for a while, and that’s what I did. Those words have become sort of a motto for me. If you want to make an impact, then just go do it! don’t let anything hold you back. If you look for the good things in life and take joy in them, you’ll be propelled by that Joy to do things you never felt possible. I’ve done things and gone places while at ERAU that I never imagined I would do.

wonka

Please email me at wilkinsz@my.erau.edu if you have any questions or just want to talk to someone about ERAU.

 

A banner tower circled above us for most of the daytime. I couldn't resist snapping a photo.

A banner tower circled above us for most of the daytime while at the 24. I couldn’t resist snapping a photo.