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! 

Sail.

 LOCATION: San Diego, CA

Summer is over! My internship is done, bags are packed (kinda) and in less than 48 hours, I will be hopping on a plane back for another semester at the college of my dreams. Overall, my summer was pretty amazing. Flying, modeling and working at King Flight School has been nothing short of a blessing. As a side note, I’ll be the first to say, although I didn’t use King Flight Schools’ courses for my Private and Instrument training, I am currently using their program for my Commercial practical test (oral and flight). In all the years I have been flight training, I have never experienced a more interactive and engaging educational atmosphere aside from being in a classroom at Embry-Riddle. The material is very straight forward and easy to comprehend. I would suggest to any prospective student pilot to browse through the King Flight Schools material in order to grasp a foundational knowledge of flying. It is guaranteed to make you a better pilot!

This last week in San Diego has been way too bittersweet, but it’s actually been eye opening. From one coast to another, I’m forced with choices that promote and bring about change. Is it weird that I actually LOVE it? Every day, we are given the opportunity to live up to our fullest potential. Some people say “why?” Some people say “why not?” It could go like this: I could go to Florida, get off the plane and drag my suitcases to the nearest taxi with complete detachment from everything around me sulking into another semester. But, that’s not me. Why? Because being pushed out of my comfort zone has been the most rewarding process I could ever experience. And if I had abided by the walls, the resistance, the voice inside my head that tells me “stop!” before I’m about to do something great- I wouldn’t be where I am.

So instead of seeing your fear as a stop sign, see it as a green light. You are far more capable than you imagine yourself to be. If you are afraid, maybe you are doing something right. Don’t set self-imposed limits upon yourself. Why not? Because truly, they don’t exist. Yes, disregarding fear might preserve a perfect, failure-free life. But perfection can never be as respected as a steadfast attempt at doing something remarkable. So if you don’t steer your own ship, you risk staying in port. Which is even more dangerous because you aren’t allowing yourself to live up to your fullest potential.

Entangled in the cancerous discipline of security, I flung my life beneath the wheels of routine and before I knew it my life was gone.  I always wanted to sail the seven seas but I couldn’t afford it.  What I really couldn’t afford was not to go.” – Unknown

 Whatever you are doing: going off to college, traveling the world, even exploring your own neighborhood – it is the way you sail that will bring you to the current you want to be in. There are far more ships on our horizons than meets the eye. And there are reasons as to why we can’t see past such horizons – simply because there is more meant to be discovered. That reason fuels my ship alone.

I’m so excited for a great semester with new roommates, enticing new class work, awesome events and unforgettable moments with my Sigma sisters. What else will it bring?

See you on the flip side. Embry-Riddle bound.

Scud Running vs. A Fear of Scud Running

POSITION: CRQ

As the end of summer is approaching, lots of excitement has been stirring up for this upcoming year at Embry-Riddle. I’m getting anxious for another great semester full of awesome events and neat classes. Coming to the closing of summer I’m realizing that soon I will be done with my internship, stuffing a suitcase and hopping on a plane back to Florida. There’s this really cool quote I spotted the other day:

 and it struck me. Exactly a year ago from this very moment in time, I was fearful of leaving my home for the other side of the country.. a venture that didn’t necessarily look promising, but yet it was so alluring, so full of wonder. Following a dream can sometimes be tricky- you have to take risks. But what I realized is that it doesn’t matter if you are kicking and screaming along the way- the point is that you have still chosen to fight that fear. Risks are scary things, but would you rather be safe in shallow waters or push yourself into the deep end to discover the unfamiliar? We as human beings are floating in these tides which eventually lead to delicious quenches of adventure and abundance… but if the opportunity is omitted, we live our lives in shallows and miseries. Although we still float, we have to take the current when it serves us- or we will lose our ventures.

Out of every quote I’ve heard, this is the one I want to base a life off of. You are faced with two simple decisions when dealing with a risk. First, you have to ask yourself if it’s worth it. Second, you have to decide whether or not you want it more than it your fear of it. It’s a simple Yes or No. How you go about it is up to you, but if I let an opportunity slip me by when I knew I wanted it more than the fearful impact it had on me, I would regret it, wouldn’t you? Because fear is a temporary feeling until you overcome it. Then when you fight against your fear, it gets easier until it’s gone permanently. To me, that’s worth the risk.

How do you feel when you’re in a risky situation with adrenaline rushing through your veins while you hold your own world in your hands? That’s like me when I’m in an airplane. You know something could go wrong, but you want the sky more than you are afraid of that magneto failing or your engine quitting. You decide that the period of time you are poised in between the earth and its atmosphere that you are going live in the moment and make a choice to grasp the enticing experience of what it means to choose faith over fear.

 But I’m not here in life to play in traffic patterns and do touch n goes. I’m here to go scud running along the mountains, breeze by the beach 20 feet off the coastal waters; flip an airplane on its back with an ocean in the sky. Because once you finally taste a glimpse of what it means to overcome what you are afraid of, it’s like you can fly the plane without the machine. And you never want go back.

So hello there, August… I have a feeling you are going to be a good one. :)

Blue Skies

Pilot’s Bag of Luck.

POSITION: CRQ
ALTIMETER: 29.92
 
What an amazing summer it’s been- and I can’t believe it’s almost over. One month left until I’m back underneath the Florida sun. As for this pilot, summer has been nothing short of awesome. Not only have I been enjoying my old friends, my family and these California sunsets- but I’ve been appreciating the ability to sit back, relax and get my fingers further in the aviation industry. Recently, I started my new job at King Flight Schools and it’s been such a blessing to be able to experience a different and refreshing work environment and be surrounded by others who share the same appetite for aviation. I never truly realized how much WORK goes into an aviation education program until I got to be behind the scenes of it all. Wow.. and I’m learning more and more every day. I’m barely a sophomore in college and I get to experience THIS! Well, in aviation, they say you start off with a full bag of luck and end with a full bag of experience.
 
Yes, all these things somehow ended up in my flight bag today. Thanks AOPA for the cool sticker! This photo sums up my summer flying: breezy and relaxing. I’ve still been up in the Citabria enjoying the So Cal scenery, but I’ve also been keeping up with Instrument work- we had some great IMC (Instrument Meteorological Conditions) here in San Diego last week. Now it’s sunny- I but can’t complain!
 
So far I’m loving my new job. When you’re in an environment that’s filled with gems and treasures you are so passionate about, it’s hard to keep focus! If you haven’t tried out King Flight Schools program- give it a look. Their program has great training guides for any certificate/rating you are going after.
 
So, you get the point- my summer is going great. I’m so busy, but honestly it’s worth it. For prospective students, when you attend college, make sure you are using your summers. I cannot stress it enough. Travel, learn, educate, just do. I never knew my summer would be so crazy working two jobs that I love, flying, volunteering, traveling and even prepping for the upcoming semester. Use your time wisely and network all you can- opportunities will come to you. In the aviation field, we have to start out with a bag of luck or unfortunately, the experience would never come. I can’t stress it enough how important it is to be fearless and pursue whatever drives you. It’s your bag to fill, not your parents, not your peers- it’s yours. Whether you are filling your bag day by day or filling it along the course of these next few years, fill it with things that will FULfill who you are. Otherwise it’s just going to sit. Empty. I don’t know about you, but when I look back in a few years I want to have a bag full of adventure and unforgettable endeavors where I wasn’t afraid to take a chance in order to truly fulfill who I was. So build up; plan an amazing summer, prepare for an even better semester. Keep adding to your bag. Luck now equals experience then. You just have to ask yourself if it’s worth taking.
 
What’s in your bag today?
 
Blue Skies

Ground Effect Glow.

POSITION: CRQ
 
Let’s talk about ground effect. What is it? Glad you asked. When an aircraft is within wing distance from the ground, an increase in lift is generated in reference to the surface of the earth and airflow patterns about the airplane. This is called ground effect. It’s sort of like a cushion.
 
 
Personally, I love ground effect. An airplane flies better when in this phenomenon. However, there are two problems when it comes to ground effect. 1. The airplane may become airborne before reaching recommended takeoff speed. 2. Induced drag decreases in ground effect, so excess speed may cause floating upon landing.
 
 
So don’t get me wrong, this ‘cushion’ is a wonderful mechanism, but it can sometimes be unsafe. Sometimes ground effect can be a relief because the airplane wants to fly better, but what about this ground effect that makes us feel so secure? I think in a sense, we all have our own ground effect- a place that makes us feel safe and gives us comfort. An airplane cannot fly unless it leaves its ground effect and breaks free of the Earth’s surface. If not, there is no such thing as pure flight. Adventure begins at the end of your comfort zone. We cease to do so much when we are afraid to get out of our ground effect- it’s like we never take off. We never get airborne. Although it may seem appealing to stay in a comfortable place, it’s probably the most unsafe place you could be because you aren’t growing. We need to remember that getting out of our comfort zones is where the deliciousness is.
 
 
When you allow yourself to step out of your comfort zone, you open yourself up to a richer, more fulfilling life. You see and hear things that others miss and you are faced with opportunities that most aren’t. Determine one thing in your life that makes you uncomfortable, but would help you grow if you embraced it. There is a reason we have to go through ground effect before we can put our wings to use.  
 

✈ I was so excited when I got this drink at Starbucks. It’s an instrument approach drink! Finally Starbucks is starting to recognize their pilot clientele ;) If you didn’t know, VOR stands for VHF (very high frequency) Omnidirectional Range which is a means of radio navigation that enables an aircraft to determine its position and stay on course (that was the best ‘non-pilot’ explanation I could give). Haha.
 
 
 
The other day after my flight I looked up and found a Piper Arrow in my rearview mirror with my Embry-Riddle decal in frame. It was one of those moments. Another moment of leaving ground effect. Aside from working and flying, I am helping out at an aviation summer camp! Photos to come.
 
 
So, last thing’s last. Are you living in your ground effect, or are you rising above it?  It’s your call. When are you going to take it?
 
 
 
Blue Skies 
 
(My heart goes out to the passengers, crew and families who were involved in the Boeing 777 Asiana Airlines flight yesterday at San Francisco International Airport.)