At 6:15 in the morning, most 23 year-olds are asleep or at least just waking up. My life is a little bit different than most of my friends, because by 6:15, I am flying. I am one of the newest flight instructors at Embry Riddle’s Daytona Beach campus and I love my job. Sure it’s hard to get up at 5:15 every morning, but when I get to see the sunrise from a mile above the surface of the earth, it’s worth it. And it’s even more worth it when I get to fly with my students that have never seen what I see until they take that first flight. That is my motivation everyday. Today is no different.
I just finished my first activity of the day, which was a C-172 G-1000 simulator. The equipment that you can work with and the things you can do at this university are awesome. I can’t think of any other way to describe it. Being on the business end of it all, and no longer being a student, I get to see what really goes into making the flight department run. The amount of technology in our fleet of glass cockpit aircraft amazes me sometimes. Contrary to what some people believe, the faculty and staff really care about every flight student. From the top dog Frank Ayers, to my training manager Nic Mostert, to the flight instructors, everyone really cares about what happens in the student’s day to day life. This is something that I haven’t realized until I started working for the university after graduation.
Life as a Riddle instructor though isn’t always perfect. The combination of an early start to your day, very long hours sometimes (no more than 12 hours usually), and 4 or 5 turbulent and bumpy ground reference maneuver flights in a row, all takes a toll on any instructor by the end of the day. The other day I was at about 6,500 feet doing power on stalls when my student used his ailerons and opposite rudder to correct an uncoordinated stall. It wasn’t that big of a deal to me, however, it scared my student to death! He didn’t realize that I had full control over the airplane the entire time. It was a good experience for both of us. That’s what it’s all about!