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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”.

 

 

 

 

A Midsummer Morning Update

Sunset at the Spruce Creek Fly-In

Sunset at the Spruce Creek Fly-In

Hello there readers, so nice of you to wander over here.

Summer A classes have ended, and I got two A’s! Isn’t that sort of cool?

I really enjoyed the two classes I took, and I’ve decided not to take classes summer B in order to give myself some more time to devote to finishing my CFI rating, working as the Editor-In-Chief of The Avion Newspaper, Serving as the Director of External Affairs for the Student Government Association, and…

SUMMER ACADEMY!

I’m working as a ground lab instructor, so I get to introduce kids to the fundamentals of aviation! It was really neat how I got his opportunity. One of my training managers in the Flight Department, Dan Thompson, gave me a call and personally asked if I could help out. Naturally, I said yeah! who wouldn’t like to spend time with kids talking about all of the awesome subject areas of Aviation?

So far I’ve taught three ground labs:

1) A Lesson on Fundamentals of flight, how airplanes fly, the four forces, and Airplane flight controls

2) A lesson on weather, weather services, Radar and satellite imagery, and making good Go/No-go decisions

3) A lesson on piloting skills, ground reference maneuvers, and how Wind drift effects an aircraft

Later today I’m teaching Aeromedical factors, IMSAFE procedures, and a little bit about cross-country operations.

I’m very excited about this because I’m getting real teaching experience. In CFI training, we learn about the Fundamentals of Instruction. FOI is based on psychology, and analyzes how people learn best, but also what hinders learning. Flight Instructors and Aviation Instructors use this knowledge of FOI to better teach students lasting concepts.

I’m getting started on my CFI experience now! that’s how I’m treating this summer job

buildup

I’ve also been keeping up with photography now and then this summer. Summertime brings lots of storms to Florida, and one of my favorite things to photograph are thunderstorms. But let’s be honest, the best part about living in the creek is the airplanes! here’s a few of my shots, I take hundreds at a time. RVnamed bonanaza C130USCGcrop2 crk2

A 1955 Cessna 180

A 1955 Cessna 180

Embry-Riddle has everything you need to succeed while in college. If you have a passion for aviation or any of the degree programs offered here, come visit campus, or email me ans ask me about the school. I’ve been here for a while now, and I’ve met a lot of people that I could refer you to if I cannot answer your question. Why wait?

wilkinsz@my.erau.edu

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!

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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.

 

 

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

 

The Magic of Flight

There is just something about flying that excites nearly every single human-being.  I think flying is as magical as it is because of the simple thought of flying through the sky, in any type of flying machine, with nothing supporting it up there except the nothingness of the air around it.  Some folks don’t like to fly, and some, like myself, absolutely love to get in an airplane.  For those that don’t like to fly, they still look up at every airplane in amazement, because flying is indeed an amazing and puzzling thing.  Whether it be actually flying the machine or just sitting in the back enjoying the ride, I always love to go up into the wild blue yonder.

The sights you see in aviation are second to none to anything else in this world. Nature is always seen in its finest moments and it truly is just man and machine up there.

Over the past few weeks I did quite a bit of flying back home in Indiana and I met another young man that was just as crazy about airplanes and flying as I am.  We ran into each other at the famous Sporty’s Pilot Shop near Cincinnati, Ohio and were both there trying to find new toys to enhance our flight bag.  He was just starting his flight training at Ohio State and it was neat to see a young 18 year old that was so passionate about aviation about to start his dream career.  The same passion is shared among most all students here at Embry-Riddle.  I am an Aviation Business Administration major here, as a lot of you know, and most students in this program have a good idea of where they want to end up, meaning they know what company they want to work for and what they want to do there.  These students may or may not be pilots, but they too feel that magic when they’re dealing with the “business of flight” as we like to call it.  They love to see the flight schedules come together and deal with the daily operations of aircraft manufacturing and airline planning and management, it is just a great thing to be involved with.  The same goes for the engineering students here.  They, in a way, make this magic happen.  They dream up and create the machines that the businessmen and women finance and the pilots fly.  But at the end of the day, they’re inspired by this magic, the awesomeness per se that is felt when you see a machine going through the air.

Some of the best experiences I have had in aviation haven’t come in a flying-for-hire environment in big airplanes, they came in small airplanes with friends such as this picture depicts. Shown here is a typical “backyard” style fly-in, with this one held near Muncie, Indiana at Dalton Field.

Here at Embry-Riddle, you can study about everything aviation.  From designing the airplanes in the College of Engineering, to financing and managing the business end in the College of Business, to actually flying them in the College of Aviation, and to making sure safety is assured in the College of Arts and Sciences, the students of ERAU are definitely immersed in everything aviation.  Every one of the majors at this university have an aviation flavor intertwined in the curriculum, and it all comes back to this magic of flight.

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

 

 

 

 

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.