February 28, 2011

So the other day in Flight Physiology, my teacher takes out the attendance sign-off sheet. He notices that the first page is full and he told us that that means that we are halfway through the semester already. I couldn’t believe what he said. He was right though because I came to my room that night and found that we only had about 60 days left until final exams. Time does really fly around here, literally. The past week has been awesome. I had a friend come down and visit for a week and it was great to see each other and catch up. He met my friends and he seemed to really enjoy himself. Great weather meant that it was perfect time to spend a whole day outdoors. So our group organized a grill session outside McKay.

We all chipped in and grilled burgers, hot dogs, and then after we played soccer and volleyball. To make it even better we decided to head to the beach. I had to rub it in my friends’ faces. While they were up north dealing with snow and cold, we were sunbathing and relaxing at the beach. During the day, we totally forgot that it was only February!

The next day we decided to head to CityWalk, which is part of Universal Studios, for dinner. We ate at Margaritaville, one of my favorite places, and then headed over to Downtown Disney to look around, shop, and basically anything. That’s another thing you can throw in your friends’ faces. You will be driving distance away from Disney, Universal, SeaWorld, all those amazing places that people come from around the world to see. Also, this past week was the last launch of Discovery down in Cape Canaveral. I was in class until 3:30 and the launch was at 4:50. As soon as I got out of class we drove as fast but “as safe” as we could to make it. Sadly, traffic and elderly drivers led to us being about 10-15 miles away from the Launchpad. We pulled off the side of the road and took as many pictures as we could.

We could feel the ground shake and the deep roaring of the rocket. It was a surreal experience and so glad I was able to see it a bit closer than school. If you are in class during the launch, most teachers let you out to see it and some even take their classes up on the roof of the College of Aviation to see it. There only two more Shuttle launches April 19th and June 28th. Accepted Students Sneak Preview is April 16th so if you are able to come down, which I highly recommend, see if you are able to stay a couple extra days so you can see it. It is so much more amazing than watching it on a tv, even a high-definition 56 inch version.

This past weekend was Parent Weekend where, obviously, parents of students could come, visit, fly with their kids, and go to class with them. My mom made the drive down from North Carolina and it was great to see her. We spent our time just relaxing together and figuring some scheduling out for next semester and what I am doing during the summer, which I decided I might stay and complete my Instrument Rating because there is about a 15% discount.

A final subject is the Daytona 500. Although I didn’t go to the race, its presence was known. You could hear the race from anywhere on campus and could see the smoke from the tires burning raging from the track. I’m not a NASCAR fan but there was one benefit to the race and that was the fact that there were so many planes flying in and out of Daytona. The day of the race, there were so many planes landing that the airport decided to park the planes on the alternate runway. I’ve never seen so many private jets and charter 737s in my life. I also loved how Delta began flying 757s into Daytona because of the known increasing traffic around this spring break period. It’s always great to see a variety of planes taking off right in front of you as you prepare for taxi. This coming week I will begin flying my cross-countries, which are flights that are more than 50 nautical miles. So that means I will most likely fly to Gainesville or Melbourne for my first trip on Wednesday. Hope you dealing with cold weather up there, northerners. Over and out.

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About Alex

**Minor:** Applied Meteorology **Career Goals:** To become a pilot for a major airline, hopefully one day Southwest Airlines. **Why I chose Embry-Riddle:** I was born in the United Kingdom and moved to the United States when I was six, traveling between the countries I became a frequent flier. Ever since walking into that cockpit when I was 5, I always dreamed about becoming an airline pilot. One day, I searched online for the best school to become a pilot. Result: Embry-Riddle.

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