Snow? During Spring Break?

Wow, here I am back in NJ, and it’s snowing on the First Day of Spring. None of it is sticking however, but it’s nice to see snow falling after spending so much time in Florida.

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Someone please tell me that isn’t jet fuel being dumped out of my plane before landing…

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Surprisingly this is the 2nd time I’ve flown out of Daytona Beach Int.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately, my break hasn’t been all that eventful thanks to Mother Nature’s winter-weather-fury. I manage to visit my friend who goes to school at the University of Delaware, got to go back to my high school and visit my friends in the drama department, had dinner at my friends’ house, and spent some quality time with my family; what more could you ask for?

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I found the University of Delaware’s equivalent of the COAS.

I got a nice chunk of my homework done, but there’s still more to accomplish so hopefully I don’t get sidetracked. Speaking of sidetracked, the snow is actually sticking! All the lawns on my street are turning white!

I’m glad we had a week off for Spring Break (technically 10 days for me but I digress.) I definitely needed the break to take some time to think about what I need to accomplish when I get back to Riddle. Not only that, it was nice to see my friends rooting for me because we all need a little motivation in life.

With that said, I think I’m ready to come back to school. I can’t wait to get back into the swing of things. I definitely need nicer weather to get more practice with my quadcopter so I’m excited. So, on that bombshell, I’ll see you all soon!

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12:41 “Eh, nothing’s gonna happen.”

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1:14 “NO WAY.”

 

“Oh, we’re halfway there. Woah, livin’ on a prayer.”

What’s that you say? Spring Break is only just a week away? Inconceivable! I can’t believe it’s already March! Like I feel like the semester just started. I guess time flies when you’re having fun, or are doing way too many things at once; I digress.

I’ve been flying a lot more with my quadcopter, and I finally got the confidence to mount my GoPro to it! I got some great video –  some of the highlights include: aerial footage of Embry-Riddle, mid-air collisions, and formation flying with other smaller planes. I’m still getting the hang of working with Adobe Premiere Pro and SpeedGrade. I also ordered more parts for my quadcopter so fingers crossed as I try to get better footage! If you’re on the fence about starting, I highly recommend getting into RC flying because it’s such a wonderful hobby. Honestly, everyone who’s seen me and my hall-mates flying on the soccer field just stop and smile because of how awesome it is. We even managed to impress two campus security guys one night when we were flying. RC flying teachers you aerodynamics, electronics, videography, and so much more; it’s definitely a hobby that’s going to stay with me for a very long time.

I am a very huge Doctor Who fan so logically, rather illogically, I decided to decorated my door to look like the TARDIS, the iconic blue police telephone box from the TV show. When I came back from class one day, someone left a replica panel of the door sign on my desk. After talking to my friends, I learned that someone from maintenance saw my door, left and came back with the panel for my door. I was truly amazed and shocked because I wasn’t expecting something like that to happen to me. Flash forward to present day and the sign/panel is hanging proudly on my door.

Aside from that, there’s nothing really new on my end so on that bombshell, I’ll see you all in another two weeks!

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DUDE, IT’S ETCHED IN PLASTIC.

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My door game is on point…depending on which point system you use.

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I need to start getting into architectural drawings.

 

Taking Flight


Has it really been two weeks already? Honestly so much has happened in this week alone that I cannot comprehend it all. In terms of highlights: I got to meet Apollo 13 astronaut Fred Haise, I was hired by the IT department, so I now have two campus jobs (yay?), and my new quadcopter came in the mail.

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The Avion strikes again! *Angerly waves fist in the air*

Meeting Fred Haise was absolutely amazing; words cannot describe how nice and genuinely awesome he is. I was fortunate enough to meet him as well as sit-in on two of his Q&A sessions. As I sat in the audience and listened to him speak, you could feel his enthusiasm for space and aviation. He had a wonderful sense of humor, and he was very honest and open about what he talked about. If any of you ever get the chance to see him, please do yourself a favor and try to. I would like to thank Dr. Kain of the Honors program here at Embry-Riddle for allowing me to meet Fred Haise and my friend Gus Galarnyk for telling me about his session with the honors students.

In addition to applying for a Resident Adviser (RA) position, I also applied to the IT department here at Embry-Riddle. I was extremely nervous because I was never interviewed for a job before and I knew that  there were people who were way more qualified than me. With that said, I was amazed and excited when I learned I got the job. I start work on Thursday so hopefully I can work out my schedule because I’m terrible with time management. Hopefully I have the same amount of luck for my RA interview (Fingers crossed)!

I don’t know if I learned from the Quadcopter Incident of 2015 because almost immediately afterward, I sprang to get a new quadcopter and returning the old one. In terms of practical use aside from “it looks cool bro,” I really want to get into aerial-imaging (fancy schmancy for  footage taken in the sky/air.) With photography and videography under my belt, I need something to challenge myself and since like 5 guys on my floor are RC plane hobbyists, I had no problems getting into the swing of things. One of my suite-mates recently got a new RC plane while the other, who happens to be an RC plane trainer, built one from scratch. Since we all acquired our new gear on Saturday, we all went flying and it was a fun time. RC flying is definitely a hobby I can get into, and since it’s not that big where I grew up, more bragging rights for me when I come back home.

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Soccer fields are amazing great places to fly dangerous precision-control aircraft.

I can’t believe we’ve been back in school for 1 month already. What’s even more shocking is that I have friends who didn’t even go back yet! Oh well, just 3 more and I’m back in NJ. On that bombshell, I’ll see you all soon.

If hyper-linking works, he’s an outtake from our RC flying antics: Whoops

The Future is Very Bright

With Winter Break behind us all, it’s time for us to continue what we started last semester. I was pleased, well moderately satisfied, with where I stood last semester but there was definitely room for improvement. This semester I’m attempting to push myself harder and, thanks to my schedule, I might make my goal a reality.

With only 4 classes this semester, I have plenty of time for school and the clubs I’m involved in. It’s nice not feeling constrained by your course load, but also it feels good to have something to do. Whether it’s doing my EGR120 homework (Graphical Communications) or a photography assignment for the Avion, I’m always doing something.

Aside from school and clubs, I’m starting to get back into photography and, more recently, RC planes. I just got a mini-quadcopter and I love it! Of course that was until after 2 minutes of me flying it for the first time, I got it stuck in a palm tree. With the enlisted help of 4-5 of my hall-mates, and the loss of my two flip flops,  we got it back and it still works! This basically means I need to practice in the simulator more and/or not fly by trees.

Since it’s only been 3 weeks into the semester, nothing much really has happened. I’m sure things will change in the next couple of days. So, until then, “Till all are one!”

I also would like to take the time to thank my friend Rachel Weeks for proof reading my posts since I have the grammar mechanics of a 5-year-old.

The 12th Hour

Has it been 14 weeks already? Honestly it feels like I just moved into Riddle yesterday, and now I’ll have to leave in a matter of days; It’s almost surreal to be honest. But, with finals just around the corner, there’s no time to reflect on my nostalgia. I have only two finals: physics and calculus. Physics I’m pretty confident in thanks to the regulations regarding note-cards: we’re allowed to use them. Calculus is a little more dicey, and I try to forget about it as best as I can. Hopefully, I can overcome my procrastination to relearn all the material that, for some bizarre reason, never seemed to stick in my head. All in all, “the grade you get, is the grade you earned” so I’ll have to let that be my mantra while studying.

On a much brighter note, I am now a general member of the Avion which means I can get clearance for events and stuff. Because the Avion is well known, many of the photographers in the group, can get special clearance to view rocket launches at Cape Canaveral much closer than the general public. I’m looking forward to next year’s launch schedule and I will make it my mission to see a rocket launch; hopefully my schedule will cooperate with me on that.

Ernie the Eagle joins me for dinner at Starbucks.

Also, as of 5 hours ago (Dec. 5, 2014 8PM EST), I was totally unaware that we had a college mascot. I was taking pictures outside and saw a rather large eagle costume approach the Hunt Library. In a brilliant moment of word association, I realized that the eagle was no one other than Ernie the Eagle. Or it could have been the fact that someone yelled “Ernie!” across the courtyard but we won’t mention it.

I recently had the opportunity to observe a flight with my friend and it was absolutely incredible. After many years of flying in Flight Simulator X, seeing a Cessna, or any plane really, up close and personal is such a wonderful and surreal experience. The fact that I could sit in the cockpit and had a feel for what each button, lever, and dial does is truly remarkable. I hope to one day get my pilot’s license and trade up my desk simulator for actual flight hours, but for now, FSX and flight observations will have to suffice.

I’ve learned a lot of things during this semester at Riddle. Aside from the knowledge learned in the classroom, I’ve learned a lot about myself, valuable life lessons, and how to navigate life in Florida. I’ve had a great time these past 14 weeks, and I’m definitely looking forward to next semester. So on that bombshell, not really, I wish everyone luck on their finals and hope to see you all in a few weeks!

New Location, New Experiences

“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

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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!