March 31

Well hello to everyone! Long time no talk! I have had a crazy month with school, spring break, and a hundred other things going on. I’ve been having a blast here in Daytona, and I have some great news! I am now an instrument rated pilot! I’ll be sure to tell you all about my festivities and my new rating, but I’ll go over some classes first.

MWF 10:30am-11:30am – Air Traffic Management III – We have worked as controllers in all parts of Daytona’s airspace, and our last section that we are working on is called the Final Sector. There are four sectors: North, South, High, and Final. Final Sector is basically the airspace that extends from the end of the runway outward where all the planes get vectored to land. You have to line them all up, but keep enough spacing between them. And of course, you’ll have a Delta flight going 200 kts and then a Cessna going 100 kts so everything gets messed up. I think I’m finally getting the hang of it though, and my friends and I definitely have a lot of fun, so it’s all good.

TTH 8:15am-9:30am – Aviation Legislation – This class is becoming more and more frustrating. I just took my 3rd test, I think I did pretty well but our professor hasn’t graded them yet. The thing I’m frustrated about is our group paper. Long story short, one group member dropped the class two days ago, and didn’t tell us; another member didn’t turn the paper in until 4 days after we all agreed to have it turned in; and another member still hasn’t turned it in and the paper is due in 4 hours. So, as of now, I’m not a big fan of group projects. Hopefully I can talk to the professor and work something out.

TTH 9:45am-11:00am – Aerodynamics – We took our 2nd test and, after the extra credit was added, I ended up with a 109! Woo woo! I was pretty excited about that. Other than that, nothing new in this class; just some aerodynamical action.

TTH 11:15am-12:30pm – Commercial Pilot Ops. – I definitely enjoy this class, because every class is like a discussion and not just a teacher lecturing for an hour. We actually played Jeopardy last class, and my team won! Our professor came up with questions and we split into teams and answered them. It was actually pretty fun and in my opinion a good way to learn. It was definitely different than the normal class and I think a nice change up is always good.

TTH 3:45pm-5:00pm – Aircraft Engines – On our last test I ended up with an 88, so as of now my average is an 88.5. I’m working hard to bring that up to a 90 so I can get an A in the class, so we’ll see how that goes. Other than that, there’s really not much else to say about this class, so yeah.

TTHS 7:45pm-12:00am – Flight – So it’s official . . . I am now an instrument rated pilot. Since August I have been working towards this, and I finally am done! I had my oral a while ago as you now, but I completed the flight and simulator portion just a couple days ago! Overall, it wasn’t as stressful as I thought it would be. I ended up being in the zone and I did everything right so I passed with flying colors (I’m not sure what that means, but flying colors sounds good). But here at Riddle, there’s very little time to rest. I am currently in the process of signing up for a flight block so I can start my commercial course. I will start it in April and continue flying over the summer. Hopefully I’ll get it completed by next fall so I can move on even further!

So classes have been going good, flying has been going great, and everything else has been just awesome! I’ll start with how the Spring Break went.

Colorado . . . Awesome. I had a blast out west and me and my friends are already planning a trip next year. It really was incredible. I got out there on a Friday and met up with my friend Alex. We got to go do some ice skating and snowboarding on Saturday before we went back to the airport to go pick up my friends Cris and Aaron.

We were supposed to pick them up at 10pm, but after flight delays they didn’t get in until 12:30am. Then we drove two hours away to our hotel in the mountains. We all went to bed around 4 and woke up at 8 to go snow boarding. My friend Aaron grew up in Pennsylvania, so he has been boarding for a while. My friend Cris is from Miami, and he has never snowboarded before, so we were teaching him the whole trip. He actually picked it up pretty quickly, well, at least a lot faster than I did when I first started. We had him going down some black diamonds by the end of the trip.

After we all went snowboarding on Sunday, Alex and a couple of his friends that were with us drove back because they had school on Monday. So it was just me, Cris, and Aaron. We went snowboarding on Monday and Tuesday as well, and since Alex had a season pass, he was able to get us wicked cheap lift tickets. I mean wicked cheap. So that was nice because the trip was already costing lots of mula!

After a long day of boarding on Monday, Cris had the bright idea to go snowboarding on a small mountain behind our hotel. Of course Aaron and I thought it was a great idea as well. The whole extravaganza took over 3 hours and was quite a workout. It started hiking to the mountain which was basically crawling through 5-6 feet of powder and trying not to fall through. Once we got to the base, we started hiking up which proved challenging because of all the fresh powder and the fact that the mountain was about a 45 degree angle. We finally got to the top and the view was pretty nice. You could look right over the little town of Winter Park and even see where we boarded just hours before. Finally, it was time to go down, which was a lot more fun, and quicker. I put all the pressure on my back foot and just cruised through the powder. It felt like I was riding through clouds. I have never experienced anything like that before. It was amazing. After that, we were pretty beat, so we went to hit up the hot tub.

Overall, the trip was awesome. No broken bones, it snowed every night, lots of fresh powder, and snowboarding in the best place I have ever gone with good friends. You can’t ask for much more. Unfortunately, the trip home was anything but awesome. I don’t want to go into too many details because the trip really was awesome, but I’ll give you a time line:

4:00am – Wake up, get ready, hop on shuttle for the airport.
7:00am – Arrive at airport, plane doesn’t leave until 10, why am I up this early?
10:00am – Flight gets delayed, then delayed, and then some more delays.
1:00pm – Finally leave Denver.
5:00pm – Arrive in Philly, run to plane that is supposed to depart any minute.
5:07pm – Get to plane in record time. I’m sweaty, cranky, and tired. Find out the flight is delayed. A 2 hour delay.
7:00pm – Leaving Philly, next stop Florida!
8:30pm – Wait, plane broke, everyone off plane. Get on new plane. Now to Florida.
11:00pm – Land in Florida!
11:30pm – Get bags, realize there is still an hour drive ahead of me.
12:30am – Finally in my own bed, so tired, set alarm for 7 hours, work tomorrow :/

Looking back, it wasn’t too bad. The whole time I was there with Aaron, so time went by pretty quick. Also, it’s good to stay positive, so I just viewed it as getting some practice living in airports because that’s what I’ll end up doing when I’m older!

The rest of spring break, I just ended up working a bit and trying to make some money. On Easter I went to go see family which was fun. I don’t get to see them too often, so it’s always nice to see them.

It has been getting hotter and hotter, so beach weather is rapidly approaching. I went out last week with some friends, and even though the water was still pretty cold, we threw the Frisbee around and caught some rays, as the kids say.

As many of you know, my roommate did some aerobatic flying a while back, and I recently got the opportunity to do some as well! There was a professor that was doing a research study involving pilots recovering from bad situations. All the tests are done at high altitudes so as to not crash. I was part of the control group who received no special training, so basically I got to go mess around in a Decathlon. We did loops, barrel rolls, and various other aerobatic maneuvers. The pilot that I flew with showed me how to do them, and then he let me try. It was a blast! The whole thing was free and apparently I helped them in their study, so everybody won. I ended up pulling 4.5 Gs (four and a half times my weight pushing down on me) and we got to 0 Gs as well (floating in the air, like an astronaut in space)!

In other news, I’m having a lot of fun in AOA. I’m getting to know the members more and more and they are all great. Just recently we had a fly out to St. Augustine, which is where 9 people rented 3 airplanes and we all flew to go grab dinner. It was a lot of fun! I got to fly an older airplane that had the round dials instead of the two big screens like I’m used to, and it was awesome. It is such a different experience, and I’m definitely glad I got to experience it. Also, we entered in a gliding competition where we built a glider out of balsa wood. We ended up getting 2nd in distance, and 1st in design! We walked away with around $250, so it was definitely successful. We put all the money into Relay For Life, which took place this past weekend.

If you don’t know about Relay For Life, it’s a great cause and you can find out more here: http://www.relayforlife.org/relay/

Basically, it is an event where you raise money for the American Cancer Society and we ended up raising just under $1000. The whole night was full of activities and fun things to do, and our whole group has a blast. The theme of the whole event was movies, so we chose Super Troopers as our movie. We made pancakes and walked around with badges and handcuffs. A couple of us ended up staying up until 7am just playing Frisbee and battling each other on some American Gladiator type obstacle courses.

One of my friends in AOA works on the Delta ramp at Daytona’s airport and he got the whole group to go out one night and see a Boeing 757 up-close and personal. We were all allowed to walk out on the ramp and go underneath the plane. We hopped in the engine, saw all the landing gear and got a general tour of the whole plane. It was really cool to be so close to such a huge airplane.

This past weekend, I got the chance to go to Sea World with Cris, Aaron, and 8 of Aaron’s residents. Aaron is an RA, and a cool one at that. We all piled into Embry-Riddle’s housing van and drove down to Orlando. We saw some dolphins, turtles, sharks, seals, and of course SHAMU!!!! I actually liked the dolphin show more than the Shamu show, but still, both were awesome. Yet another perk of living in Daytona, so close to all the theme parks.

Well, I think that will do it for this journal, but stay tuned for next time because I have some good stuff to cover. For one, almost our entire chapter of AOA is going on a retreat to South Carolina next weekend, I’ll be signing up for next year’s classes soon, and I am planning a trip to fly to Miami with my friends Cris and Aaron. It should be a fun next couple of weeks.

Be sure to check out some pictures online. I have added some already, and will add more soon. Also, I have been having trouble with my YouTube account, but hopefully I can clear that up and upload some more videos! Until next time . . . you stay classy . . .

-Blake

email: wasteofsoap@yahoo.com
pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wasteofsoap/
videos: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=blakeguiles

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Blake

About Blake

Hometown: DeBary, Florida
Why I chose Embry-Riddle: Ever since I was little I knew that I wanted to fly, and ever since I knew about Embry-Riddle I wanted to go here.

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