January 30, 2011

Hi everyone! I hope that everyone is doing well. Many of you are likely just getting into your final semester of high school. This is an exciting time of year for everyone, so make the most of it. As you begin to make decisions about schools, you will be tempted to allow your grades to drop off entirely. Just a word of advice on that: be careful. A little drop off will not be a major issue, but keep it in moderation as the school of your choice will still see your final grades. But, enough of my nagging, I am sure your parents do that enough for you! I have had a very exciting few weeks since I last wrote. Much has happened and I have lots to talk about, so I will get right into it!

First, at Daytona Beach International Airport, there is much going on. The main runway, 7L/25R is in the process of being entirely resurfaced while the business, corporate, and air carrier traffic is increasing for the racing events at the Daytona International Speedway. As you can see, the runway is being re-constructed with concrete and asphalt. The center portion is concrete—about 75 feet of width—and the remaining portion is asphalt. This serves to make the project a little lengthier than a purely-asphalt reconstruction; however the results will be well worth it in the end. All in-pavement runway lighting is being changed to LEDs, and an ILS approach is being added for the opposite runway, 25R. This means a lot of construction activity but it will truly be state of the art once the project is completed.

A somewhat unknown and private benefit of the construction is known and only able to be enjoyed by the construction workers and airport employees at the physical construction site. You see, the way the project is progressing is such that they are breaking the runway down into segments and resurfacing one area before moving on to the next. The first segment mandated the runway threshold (the beginning of usable runway for takeoffs and landings) to be relocated forward so that construction could take place on the first part of the runway. What this means is that if you are standing at the construction site, you have airplanes ranging from Cessna 172’s to Boeing 737’s, on final approach in some cases 100 feet or less about your head. They are so close that you can hear and feel the vortices from the jet engines spiraling down toward the ground. It is truly awesome.

Being out at the construction site allowed me to experience this, and it couldn’t have been at a better time either. On the particular day that I was out there, private aircraft from every NASCAR team were flying in to practice on the newly repaved Speedway. The list of aircraft included Saab 2000’s, a Boeing 727, a Boeing 737, Embraer 145’s, and more. The 727 landing so close was unbelievable. Some pictures are embedded throughout this entry.

That weekend, my roommate James and friend Tony decided to go for a flight as I had not flown since my instrument rating checkride in December. Initially, we decided to go to Savannah, Georgia for the day and look around, however when we got up around the Jacksonville area, I determined that the flight time remaining to Savannah would not give us much if any time at all on the ground there before we turned around and had to return to Daytona. So, we went to Jacksonville International Airport instead, a destination which has become a frequent stop for me and is always fun. We went out for lunch and looked around the area a bit before heading back to school.


The Daytona Beach area itself is reaching its peak tourism season as well, which to me is exciting. With the Rolex 24 race having just occurred, about a month remains until the famous Daytona 500, but before then many other, smaller, races will occur and there will be many people travelling here to prepare and attend them. I actually like going to the restaurants in the area and seeing lots of tourists as it almost makes me feel like I am on vacation too. I don’t know, I am weird I guess! Nonetheless, it will be fun time, as after the races end, Bike Week is just around the corner and shortly thereafter begins Spring Break around the area.

This past weekend, my brother and one of my best friends from home came down to visit. I showed them around campus and Embry-Riddle, and then we went to (where else) Disney World for the weekend. They liked the campus and of course we had a blast at Disney World. It is always a great time there and it really is not a far drive at all.

Speaking of Disney World, I just applied for an internship there known as the Disney College Program. I’m sure this is no surprise to you who read my journal regularly as you know how much I love that place, but being a business major here the internship is truly a great opportunity. Essentially, you work in the park as a “cast member” for a semester while attending the world-renowned Disney Institute and come away with the experience and knowledge from working at such an esteemed company. You were able to select different “roles” in which you’d like to work, and I selected transportation (monorails and boats), lifeguarding, and attractions in that order. I interviewed last week and should hear back from them within a few weeks. Wish me luck!

Other than that, my classes are going very well so far. I am enjoying them and am doing pretty well. I have had more free time on my hands this semester as well and I have been able to become more involved with clubs such as the Airport Management Club, which is something I have been meaning to do for a while.

Well, I think that is pretty much it. As you can see, it is a lot of fun here. It really is what you make of it, so make the best!

As usual, if you have any questions or comments at all, do not hesitate to e-mail me. I look forward to hearing from you soon!

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About Pete

**Concentration:** Air Transport Concentration **Minor:** Flight **Career Goals:** To work in Airport Operations at a major airport, or become a commerical airline pilot. **Why I chose Embry-Riddle:** Location, Name Recognition, Academic Program Quality.

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