November 3rd, 2008

Hello again, it’s November! I can’t believe it, one more month and the fall semester is over. I’m a little sad that this is my last semester taking aviation related classes. I’m going to miss the enthusiasm from the teachers and their wonderful flying stories. This semester has truly been amazing.

Flight technique analysis has been a worthwhile class, and the best is yet to come! This week, we are starting the application part of the course. This is where crews of 5 people get together and simulate several situations using the Aerosim program. Aerosim is flight sim times a million. It is super accurate and realistic. The cockpit is an actual picture taken from a real 747-400 and every button and switch works just like the real one. The point of these sim sessions on the computer is to tie everything we have learned in my past 3 years at Riddle together. Every student has an opportunity to be in a pilot position, while the others play the role of air traffic control, dispatch, and the lead flight attendant. It should be a wonderful learning experience. The neat thing about the sim sessions is that it takes the place of a final exam. We are graded on how well we work as a crew, handle an emergency, and get 400 people on the ground safety in a timely manner. Where else can you say you played flight sim for a final? Truly awesome!

In flight management systems, we use the same Aerosim program used in flight technique, but we learn the specifics on how to use the automation. The first 3 tests were over how to properly fly the 747-400 using the autopilot. There was one written test, and two practical tests using the simulator. I love it! It is such a great learning environment to actually see how every thing works through Aerosim. Last week, we started to learn how to program the flight management system. This is the little computer that holds all of the information relating to the flight; truly the heart of any aircraft operation. I can’t wait to see just how much can be accomplished with this equipment!

Crew resource management is also way above my expectations for a college class. Last week, we had crew led discussions. This is where 3 students run the class and are in charge of starting a discussion on a specific topic. This was so much fun. Our topic was how time and task management is important in the cockpit. Because of the fact that I am a flight instructor, I talk in front of people everyday. Therefore, I love giving group presentations and leading the class. You learn so much from everyone when you lead a classroom discussion.

Last week I took my second test in flight safety. I have learned so much from this class. It is a perfect example of a class that is focused on the students learning as much as possible with out any tricks. The tests are straight forward and allow to you leave with knowledge that will stay with you forever.

Finally, I had my third test in airline dispatch last week. Whew, what an interesting one. It was over aircraft performance. I was given weather, an aircraft, weights of cargo and people, and a bunch of other information relating to the flight. From that, I had to determine how much fuel we needed on board, how much we could weigh at take-off and landing, climb data, etc. Tons of fun! It was an intense test, but I did really well. The reason I aced it was because of the performance class I took last year. This is a perfectly good example of how Riddle provides you with information that you will never forget. I didn’t do a performance problem for over a year, and I still remembered 75 percent of the information. I was truly shocked. I hardly had to study for this test because most of the knowledge was already in my head.

Finally, I just want to say just how much fun I’m having being a flight instructor. I flew every day last week at sunset! It was probably the most amazing week of flying in my life. The weather was clear skies and about 65 degrees. This proves that I truly love my life at Embry-Riddle and I would not change a thing!

Well I hope everyone has a great start to November. I am starting to get sad that my senior year is almost half way over! I still can’t believe it. Well, it’s time for me to start my day. I have two classes to go and I’m flight instructing for most of the night. Have a great day everyone!

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