And new alligator scares!
It’s officially been over one week since the new semester started here at Embry-Riddle. Since I came back early for orientation week (or, well, the two days of spring orientation) I had a little time to relax. Spring orientation is much shorter than fall orientation, but it’s still super fun! We still did the same things as fall orientation- for example, I was in this TikTok.
After orientation week wrapped up on Tuesday night, classes began Wednesday morning. I like my new classes; they’re definitely a little more challenging, but all of my professors seem eager to help. It is literal rocket science, after all!
On Thursday, there was the first launch of the semester. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to watch it up close; instead, one of my friends and I watched it from the Starbucks balcony. It was a little small and hard to see very well, but a crowd of people had gathered to watch it anyway.
Over the long weekend, I mostly hung out with my friends. I did have the opportunity to play Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020. I played on Chris’ computer while he told me where to fly; he’s a pilot and we both enjoyed watching me try and fly around the California coast.
It was very fun- I can see how people spend hours playing flight sim. The aircraft in the picture is an Airbus A320, but in reality, Southwest Airlines’ fleet consists of 737s. That picture has annoyed a few of my aviation-loving friends, but for some reason, the game had the Southwest livery (aka the paint job) on the A320.
And, you know, for someone who hasn’t touched the controls of a real or simulated aircraft since September 2020, I think I did pretty well. I flared a little too much and landed a little too hard, but I got the plane on the ground. To quote Chris: “The gear may have collapsed but I’m pretty confident everyone would have walked away.”
So, good for me, I successfully landed a plane (in Flight Simulator) by myself.
I also ended up watching a Delta flight land as the sun was beginning to set. Since I was on campus anyway, I checked the flight schedule and decided to watch the flight come in. I happened to take the picture right as the wheels hit the ground.
I’d planned to watch the flight from the roof of the aviation maintenance science (AMS) building, but the building was unfortunately locked. I ended up going to the flight operations observation deck, which has tinted windows. It was really nice- the sun was setting in the west, and sometimes it was a little hard to see the runway.
In other aerospace-related news, there was a launch on Tuesday night. Classes had resumed, but the launch was scheduled for 7:04 PM, which is a nice time. It was originally planned to be Monday night, but Tuesday had more favorable weather, so it was moved.
As always, I wanted to go, and I went down with a couple of my friends. Just as we got to our launch-viewing spot, we found a tweet from SpaceX postponing the launch by about two hours to 9:02 PM. That was kind of unfortunate since I have a 9 AM class, but we had already made the trip and decided to stay in the area.
And let me just say one thing about launches: no matter how many you watch, they are so worth it.
Unfortunately, none of my friends had learned from last month. Even though I thought it was cold outside, I stepped outside to watch the launch and hear the rocket rumble. Unfortunately, we were in the alligator spot, and the alligators were not asleep this time.
The alligator growling was a little louder and lasted a little longer. I was the first one back in the car; I did NOT want to take my chances with a mad reptile. I sat in the car while the rest of the group listened to the alligators growling (thankfully, I didn’t see any of them!), and we eventually left the launch viewing site without any more alligator incidents.
After that, Wednesday was a normal day, and my week has continued on. It’s been a pretty good week so far. In addition to my classes, I’ve also become a teaching assistant, or TA, for the EGR 115 Introduction to Computing for Engineers class. The professor that I TA for is one of my favorites on campus- I had her last year in Spring 2021 for the same class.
Looking to the future, Family Weekend is in two weeks, which will be exciting. I’ve already met a few of my friends’ families, and I think I’ll be meeting a few others’ families as well. But as for now, I’ll see you in the next post… and hopefully at Riddle!