Well, well, well… Here we are a couple weeks into the semester, and I can already tell that it is going to be a fun, yet very hard year. I’m taking some pretty exciting classes and I think that I like all my professors, so it should be a good year. Other than school, I have been very busy with a lot of other fun stuff. I’ll tell you all about that later, but now I’ll talk about my classes that I have! Be prepared for some reading, this is a long one!
MWF 10:30am-11:30am – Air Traffic Management III – This is my 3rd ATC class and this time it gets a lot more fun. The first two classes were lecture only, meaning that you went to class, took notes, and had a test. This class has a lab so you learn something and then you actually apply it. Our first couple of classes consisted of taking notes and we’ll have two tests coming up soon, but after that we get to go into the ATC lab and actually apply what we’ve been learning. In a couple of weeks we’ll start practicing in the labs and one person will be in the lab acting as the air traffic controller while the other person will be in the classroom acting as the pilots that are being told what to do. By mid-February, we’ll be done with the lecture aspect, and then we’ll only be in the labs. Some of my friends and I have already gone in to mess around in the labs because we have to get practice lab hours. It’s pretty fun to see all these planes landing and taking off and trying to vector them around. I look forward to the labs coming up!
TTH 8:15am-9:30am – Aviation Legislation – Well here we go again. Every semester I tell myself that I will never schedule a class at 8:15 in the morning again, and every semester I find myself waking up at 7:00 yelling at my alarm clock. I guess the only good thing is that I am used to getting up that early because I’ve always had a class at 8:15. Oh well, this year will be the last time I’ll get up that early (or so I say). So… Aviation Legislation. Yep. I didn’t really know what to expect for this class. After going to a couple of classes, I figured out what we’ll be learning. Basically, we are traveling back in time to the early 1900s to see what the aviation community was like back in the day, which was a Wednesday by the way (if you don’t know Dane Cook, disregard that last comment.) Anyway, back then they didn’t have any regulations and there was a bunch of crazy, borderline suicidal pilots doing whatever they wanted. So, the government came along and started regulating things to make it safer. The class consists of a couple tests, a term paper (Yuck!), and a lot of video watching. When you first think of watching movies, you think of a high school class substitute that doesn’t know what they are talking about so they pop in some boring movie and you have to take notes or something. Well, it is a little different in this class. The movies are actually pretty cool and they are based in the early 1900s, so you can actually see a visual of what it was like back then. I think this class will be alright, because even though there is a paper and the class is early, there is a lot of interesting stuff to learn and the movie approach is a lot better than slaving over a text book.
TTH 9:45am-11:00am – Aerodynamics – In high school I took a lot of math classes, so when I got to Riddle, I didn’t need to take any! I was really happy that that worked out; however, I did need to take physics classes. As I was in physics class last year, I found that a lot of the stuff had a base in math, so if you didn’t take any math you’d be lost. But since I had a good foundation of math, physics went pretty easy. I thought that when I got done with physics, I would be done with all that stuff. Well, I thought wrong. Aerodynamics is basically like my physics class then turning it up a notch. I really like the professor and I think that the class won’t be too bad as long as I study and pay attention in class. The professor seems really cool and he offers extra credit, so that should help. We’ll see how the rest of the year goes.
TTH 11:15am-12:30pm – Commercial Pilot Ops. – Well, here at Riddle I took Basic Aeronautics (freshman year), Intermediate Aeronautics (last semester), and now I’m in Advanced Aeronautics. Each of these classes corresponds with your flight training. For my Private Pilot I was in Basic, then for my Instrument Rating, I took Intermediate, and since I’ll be done with Instrument Rating soon, I’ll move on to my Commercial Certificate. This class will help me with all the commercial stuff I need to know. Basically a commercial rated pilot is a Private Pilot that knows a lot more. You need to know everything a Private Pilot knows, but then you also have to expand more on it. My professor seems like she really knows her stuff, which is good in this kind of class. There are so many technical aspects; you want to make sure that whoever is teaching, knows their stuff.
TTH 3:45pm-5:00pm – Aircraft Engines – Well, I can now say I know more about a jet engine than I do about the engine in my car. Well, not quite, but the point is that I definitely don’t know too much about cars and I’m learning a lot about jet engines. The subject is most certainly interesting, but it also seems kind of hard. There are so many formulas and equations to compute a thousand different things, it is somewhat overwhelming. My professor is real soft-spoken so he has a microphone that hooks up to speakers so we can hear him. He definitely knows his stuff though. In the class, there are actual engines that you can look at and get some hands-on experience. I’ll take some pictures of our classroom and my other classrooms and post them online.
TTHS 7:45pm-12:00am – Flight – Yes, you read the time right. My flight block (when I can be scheduled for flight activities) is from 7:45 at night to midnight! The instrument course (the one I’m in) focuses only on inside the airplane, so you don’t need to see outside. Therefore, all the instrument students fly at night, so the private pilot students can fly during the day. Last semester I lucked out and got the flight block that started at 5:30pm, but now I can be scheduled as late as 9:00pm or 10:00pm. It all works out though because there are other things I do from the time I leave my engines class at 5:00pm until I start an activity at 8:00 or 9:00pm. I am approaching the end of my course, so now comes the time where I do a lot of studying in order to prepare for my check rides at the end. If you don’t know how the check rides work, I’ll give you a quick run-down. (I’ve explained this for your private, but now I’ll do the instrument portion!) There are three sections that must be completed: Written test, oral test, and practical test. The written test consists of 100 questions out of a 1000ish question database. You can go buy a book called “Gleim” and that book will give you the exact question and the exact choice of answers that the actual test will have. So you already know what the questions will be and you already know the answer. You just have to study all 1000ish questions and then when you take the test, there is a random selection of 100 questions that you need to answer. If you get a 70% or better, you pass. The oral test consists of sitting down with an examiner for around two hours usually and they basically ask you about different aspects of instrument flying. You have to demonstrate that you know what you are talking about, and then they decide if you pass or fail. Your practical test is broken up into two parts: the flight and the simulator. The flight is relatively short and you just have to shoot an approach into Daytona and do a couple of other small things. The simulator is more in-depth and that consists of doing basically everything that you have learned while doing the course. So as of now I have all the knowledge to pass the written, I just need to study more so I can be confident. I will have a practice oral exam with my instructor soon, and that will prepare me for the real one. Also, I have a couple more flights and sims just to make sure I’m still proficient with all the procedures. I’ll keep you updated on my status in the coming journals!
Wow, that is a lot of reading! If you read all that, take a break and go grab a drink and stretch your legs.
You back? Good! Well there has been a lot going on other than classes and flying. I just recently celebrated my 20th birthday, which was a blast! I got to have dinner with my dad, step-mom, and step-brothers, and then with my mom and my sister before my sister left for New York, which was fun. I got some cool DVDs and a couple PS3 games and I got a new watch from my dad. I haven’t worn a watch in like 10 years, but I love my new watch. After dinner, we went back to my apartment and met up with 5 or 6 friends and actually played Rockband. If you’ve never played Rockband before, it is pretty fun … and addictive. We played for a couple hours just passing off the instruments to each other and I actually got my mom to play! And she was good! Not to say I was surprised, but I was! All in all we had a blast and that was a good way to spend my birthday.
We had another activities fair last week, and there are some things I’m excited about. First off, the skydive club is something I want to do more with this year. I only jumped twice last semester, and I hope that I can get out more this year. Also, I found out that there is a rock climbing club! I haven’t been rock climbing in a while but I thought that it would be fun to join that and go more often. One thing I’m really excited about is some Ultimate Frisbee. I have a couple friends who play all the time and they finally convinced me to go out and play. I had a blast! I mean I sucked, but I had a lot of fun. I already knew the basic rules before I got there, but apparently I can’t throw a Frisbee for anything. I could toss it back and forth with someone, but once there is somebody 2 inches from my face screaming “STALL 1!!! STALL 2!!! STALL 3!!!” I can’t seem to connect with someone’s hand, only the ground. I’m pretty good at running fast and I catch most of the ones thrown at me, I just can’t throw. Oh well, I’ll keep practicing and see how it goes.
One thing that I definitely want to do is join AOA, which is an Aeronautical Honor Society. Only Aeronautical Science students and 3% of the student body are accepted. I have a friend that was in my Business Communications class that joined last semester, and he said he really likes it. I figured I’d apply and see if I’m accepted. Hopefully I will be and by the next journal I will tell you all about it!
Well, I still have some things to say, but I think I’ll save them for next journal. I’ll tell you about my roommate’s recent adventure of aerobatic flying and how my friends and I went to the Rolex 24 last weekend! All this and more next journal!!! Until next time . . . go Pats and/or Giants, depending on who you are going for! I personally am going for the commercials! Later!