A good financial decision, really.
Well, finals week has come upon us at ERAU, and like other students, I’ve been studying my free time away. As an engineering major, a decent chunk of my grade relies on my final exam performance. Luckily enough for me, I’ve worked hard all year so I’m striving for a good grade rather than a “can I pass the class?” grade.
But before we get into that, how about the quick story of the $400 meal I ate? Hundreds-of-dollars meals are relatively common at ERAU, surprisingly. I haven’t noticed this anywhere else, but it’s really not due to the price of food here.
It’s due to the airplane rental cost.
So, a few little airports have restaurants right on the airport, catering to pilots as a “fly-in” restaurant. So instead, on the Sunday before the last week of classes, Chris and I ended up at the Pyper Kub restaurant in Williston, FL. It has pretty good food and a pretty good price, but the “$400” bit comes from the aircraft rental and the time flying out there and back.
We didn’t end up renting an ERAU plane but instead rented it from Air America, one of the flight schools in the area. Around this time last year, Chris was practicing for his commercial pilot checkride, but since then he’s earned his commercial pilot certificate and multi-engine add-on. Now he’s preparing for his CFI (certified flight instructor) checkride which means more practice and more flights for me!
Williston, Florida is west of Ocala and it was an hour or so flight (compared to two hours of driving). We left around 10 AM in the morning, ate lunch, and then did a few touch-n-goes in the pattern at Williston. After Chris was done, he headed over to the Crescent practice area which is a common practice area for Riddle students. The maneuvers (in my non-expert opinion) were similar to those he did on the commercial checkride, but he did it from the right seat. (Traditionally, students sit in the left seat of an aircraft where the instructor sits in the right- until you do your CFI stuff when you become the instructor in the right seat.)
Since I’m not a pilot I don’t really know a whole lot about getting your CFI license, but I do know a lot of students go into that pathway before heading to the regional airlines. The other option that I see students do is flying small cargo gigs, but the vast majority of students become instructors at Riddle and surrounding flight schools.
We came back and then it was a start of a long, studious week for me. April 24 marked the last week of classes, with Friday being a study day before finals began on Saturday, paused for Sunday, and resumed Monday through Wednesday. I have four finals this year: Aerospace Structures I, Space Propulsion, Spacecraft Attitude Dynamics, and Aerospace Engineering Materials. I have two other classes, but one is a lab and the other is the lecture that goes along with the lab, so I don’t have any finals from those.
I’m also a TA for an EGR 101 class, so I also ended up helping students in the engineering makerspace lab while they completed their final projects. I saw a lot of super cool projects, from a Rube Goldberg machine to a balsa wood glider, and then watched the teams present on Thursday.
Classes being over, especially in the summer, is kind of bittersweet for me. It means the summer is starting (and so will my internship soon!) but also that my best friends won’t be just a short drive (or even walk!) away. I’m moving out of my current apartment and into another apartment with a couple of friends, so I know next year will be fun. It’s hard to believe that I’m going to be a senior next year. I’m both ready to graduate and not ready to graduate- I’m excited for my first permanent engineering job, but definitely not ready for all of the adult responsibility that comes with it. I like living in the college bubble- I’ve got a lot of freedom but not too many responsibilities. And with that, I’ll see you in the next post… and hopefully at Riddle!