About allen624


Aeronautical Science

**Minor:** Aviation Weather
**Age:** 21
**Hometown:** Dallas, TX
**Career Goals:** To become a captain for a major airline.
**Activities:** Part time flight instructor at Embry-Riddle Team Safety Leader
**Why I chose Embry-Riddle:** I wanted to go to a school that would train me to be the best and safest pilot I could be. The discipline and professionalism Embry-Riddle provides for their students has allowed me to achieve this goal.

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!

October 20, 2008

Hello everyone. Wow, I can’t believe this semester is halfway over! Time flies when you’re having fun. Wait, you can have fun going to school? Well you can if what you are studying is your passion. I enjoy attending all of my classes because it enhances my knowledge of flying and makes me a better and safer pilot. While we are on the subject of classes, I can’t believe how great they have been this semester. This is definitely my favorite semester so far! Like I said earlier, I am taking my last 5 classes relating to aviation. They are tying together everything I have learned over the past 3 years, and wow, I can’t believe I have learned so much! Embry-Riddle definitely prepares you for the real world. I would not change anything about my past 3 years here; it has by far exceeded my expectations of a top aviation university.

Remember my new safety job? Well I love it!!!!! It is so much fun and I have already learned so much. We had our first safety meeting last week and it was so neat to hear about all of the safety issues. After the meeting, it was my job to let all of the flight instructors on my Team know what has been going on with the safety department. Therefore, the next day I gave a 15 min presentation to my team. I gave them recommendations on what to do to ensure that they are operating in the safest way possible. Finally, I listened to their concerns and comments on how to make us even safer. I love being involved and contributing to Embry-Riddle everyday.

Flight instructing has been going fantastic as well. I have a new student and I’m ecstatic about that. I am now teaching one student in the instrument flight course and the other in the private pilot course. So much fun! For those of you that don’t know, the instrument flight course consists of teaching students how to fly in the clouds. What an experience! It is so neat to be able to fly when you can’t see anything. That is when you realize that you are truly a pilot. One of the best feelings in the world is taking off, going into the clouds at 400 ft, flying for 2 hrs without ever seeing the ground, and coming back to land. It is so neat breaking out of the clouds at 300 ft and seeing the airport right in front of you. Now the private flight course is a whole other ball game. I am now teaching someone who has no aviation experience how to be a pilot! This is truly a blast. It is so satisfying watching a student go from knowing nothing about flying to flying completely by him/herself. Life couldn’t be better, I’m going to school, learning about my favorite subject, and sharing my joy of flight with my students. What more could I ask for?

Well, I hope everyone enjoys what’s left of October. If you’re planning to attend our Open House this Saturday – look for me, I’ll be around showing prospective students the College of Aviation. The weather is starting to become extremely beautiful here. Today it was sunny and 70 degrees, what a life. I am truly living in paradise. Now its time for bed, I have an extremely busy week ahead.

October 6, 2008

Hello everyone, I hope your October has been going well. This semester definitely has been an exciting one for me. Now that you have an idea of what my classes are like, I would like to introduce you to the wonderful world of flight instructing. I have been a flight instructor for Embry-Riddle for a little over a year now. All I have to say is wow, I love my job! What more can I ask for? My office is either a classroom or a cockpit. I am an instrument flight instructor during the evenings, but I also teach other flight courses when I have free time. My primary work day begins around 5, and I am typically done around 8. No matter how much stress is in my life, when I teach, everything stays behind. As soon as I step foot in the airplane, it is just me, my student, an incredible machine, and the most beautiful scenery you have ever seen. There is nothing more rewarding than teaching the student the wonderful world of flight. The best part of it all is that I learn so much from flight instructing. When I am sitting in the cockpit watching the student, I can apply everything he/she does to my future students and my personal flying techniques. I definitely would recommend this job to anyone! I don’t work a day in my life.

This semester has also provided me with wonderful opportunities. Two weeks ago I applied for the Team Safety Leader position in the flight department. The flight department is divided into 7 teams. These teams consist of a supervisor and roughly 30 flight instructors. Each team has a TSL. A TSL represents these 30 flight instructors to the director of safety. If there is a safety related issue, flight instructors and students can go to a TSL for help. The responsibility of a TSL is to demonstrate the highest quality of safety in everyday operations. Well, last week, I was appointed the TSL position for Team 7!!! I am so excited for this wonderful opportunity. I have always been interested in flight safety. My first real-world application of safety was last summer during my internship with Continental Airlines. I worked all summer in the safety department as many of you already know. Now, I can continue this work at my favorite flight department! I can’t wait to contribute to Embry-Riddle’s incredible safety culture.

I hope everyone has a great week. I’m going to get ready for class. In my next entry, I’ll give you an update on my classes. I begin my first round of tests this week. Wish me luck!

September 22, 2008

Hello everyone, it feels so good to be back at school and getting into the swing of things. This year is going to be filled with fun and excitement, as well as knowledge that will help me succeed in many years to come. I am finishing up my last year in college and teaching young students the wonderful world of flight, what more can I ask for? I love my life!

As a senior here at Embry-Riddle, I have already taken all of my general education classes, as well as most of my Aeronautical Science/Flight courses. Because of the fact that I received my private pilot license before I came to Embry-Riddle, I was able to obtain all of my pilot’s licenses by my junior year. This has allowed me to focus on my class work and gain an abundance of knowledge from teaching others how to fly. What an experience! This past year has been very rewarding, and I look forward to what my senior year will unfold.

This semester, I am taking my last five Aeronautical Science classes. It’s going to be a blast! These are the capstone classes of the program and they will provide me with the knowledge I will need to succeed in the professional aviation environment. These classes include Airline Dispatch, Aviation Safety, Flight Management Systems, Crew Resource Management, and Flight Technique and Analysis.

Airline Dispatch is the capstone course for a program we have at Embry-Riddle known as the dispatcher program. A dispatcher is someone that works for an airline who prepares all of the paperwork for a flight. Some of the paperwork includes the route of flight, a review of the weather along the flight, and filling out a flight plan. This is something great for a pilot to have, because if he/she is working for an airline and is suddenly unable to fly, you can turn to your dispatcher certificate. This is a great back-up plan to have in your pocket in the aviation industry. I have really enjoyed this program and it is very enlightening. Most of the required courses are already built into the Aeronautical Science program. You only have to take a few required electives to qualify to take the dispatcher exam. If any you are interested, see your academic advisor for details.

My next class is Aviation Safety. All I can say is WOW! Our professor was a Marine and Naval aviator with thousands of hours of fighter experience. He also flew F-4 phantoms in Top Gun! The stories he shares with the class are truly amazing, especially how he can relate it back to the subject matter. This is definitely one of my favorite classes here at Riddle. In Aviation Safety, we investigate previous accidents and talk about how to prevent them in the future. I look forward to what I will learn this semester from others mistakes.

Flight Management Systems is also a very interesting class. Here we learn how to operate all of the computer systems and autopilot in a Boeing 747-400. It is truly amazing how accurate the Aerosim program is to programming a real 747-400’s computers. We practice loading routes of flight into the system and flying simulated flights using the autopilot. Since most of the airline and corporate world is operated using autopilot, this is a very valuable skill to have.

Another useful skill I will learn this semester is how to fly an aircraft in a two pilot cockpit. Crew Resource Management teaches us the special skill of how to work together and provide the passengers with a safe flying environment. General aviation pilots need this training because we are used to operating an aircraft that requires one pilot. This skill works great in small aircraft, but once you begin flying large transport category aircraft, the workload in the cockpit increases tremendously. Therefore, you need to know how to divide up the duties in the cockpit in a safe, yet efficient manner. This class is going to provide me with this skill.

Finally, the last course I am taking this semester is Flight Technique and Analysis. This course is the capstone course of the entire Aeronautical Science program. It takes everything I have learned over the past 3 years and ties it together into one. We use the Aerosim program just like FMS, except we perform actual flight scenarios in a crew environment. We learn how to deal with emergencies, weather, and passenger problems. The flights that we will fly are identical to scenarios an airline would present to their new hire pilots. I am very excited to see how this course will tie everything together, and provide me with a means to succeed in the real world.

As the semester continues I will give you an update on each class and talk more about the wonderful world of flight instructing. Until then, stay motivated, work hard, and fly safe!

September 12, 2008

Hello everyone, my name is Dodd Bailey Allen Jr. and I am from Dallas, TX. Many of you may remember me from the journals I wrote this past summer about my Continental Airlines internship. My dream of flying began when I was in second grade. I knew I wanted to be a professional pilot the moment I flew on my first airliner. From then on, I built models and studied pictures of every airplane I could get my hands on. When middle school came around, I continued my journey towards the wonderful world of flight when I began my hobby of remote controlled aircraft. I began with the simple stuff, and now I own 9 r/c aircraft and I have flown anything from a small electric airplane to an r/c jet that flies at over 280 mph! My favorite personal aircraft is a 1/3 scale sukhoi. This aircraft has a 10 hp engine on it and has a wingspan of 8 ft. I perform extensive aerobatic demos for students and enthusiasts around Dallas, TX. Finally, flying r/c aircraft was one of the many things that piqued my interest in teaching. I worked at my local hobby shop for 7 years and I was the chief flight instructor all throughout high school. I was teaching people 3 times my age how to fly r/c aircraft.

DoddThe real success story began in my senior year of high school. This is where I flew a real airplane for the first time. I began my private pilot training at a local airport by my high school. I received my private pilot license the summer after my senior year and I was hooked! I then began my fall semester at one of the best aviation schools in the world, Embry-Riddle. Here I finished all of my licenses in my first two years. I am now a fully certified commercial, multi-engine, single-engine, instrument rated pilot. I am also a certified flight instructor, certified flight instructor instrument, advanced ground instructor, and instrument ground instructor. I continued my dream of teaching junior year when I became a part-time flight instructor in the flight department at Embry-Riddle. I still can’t believe I am getting paid to fly! Finally, last summer, I received the privilege to work with Continental Airlines during a summer internship. Here I learned what it was like to fly $80 million jets and how an airline truly operated. I received 30 hrs of flight training in a Level D 737-800 simulator. Wow, what an experience! Now, I sit here today beginning my senior year of college! Wow, time flies when you are having fun. I look forward to telling you about all of my classes and what a normal day at Embry-Riddle is like. I will also enlighten you about the joys of being a flight instructor at one of the top flight schools in the world. Until then, I hope everyone is having a wonderful start to the fall semester. Time to start my homework for the night.

August 10, 2008

I can’t believe the internship is already over. It seems like yesterday I was writing my first journal entry and now its time to write my last. But even though its time to pack up my things and head back to reality, Continental did not disappoint me. The internship ended even stronger than it started. Last week, I began my full motion simulator training in the 737. The full motion simulator is an actual cockpit just like the FTD, however, it is mounted on top of hydraulic actuators. This allows it to move and simulate actually flying through the air. There is also a visual image of in front of the cockpit, simulating the flying environment. The first day of the simulator we learned how to take-off, land, and fly instrument approaches. This first and only day I would practice normal flying skills. The next 5 days consisted of the most intense flying I have ever experienced. We performed take-offs with engines catching on fire at 150 knots, all 6 tires blowing on takeoff, and learning how to successfully takeoff, fly an instrument approach, and land with one engine failed. Our instructor threw every emergency he could at us and we handled it with perfection. This is proof of just how much Embry-Riddle helps their pilots transition to the real world of flying. My simulator partner and I were able to learn flows, and perform with nothing less than perfection. Our simulator instructor said our flying skills mimicked pilots with over 3000 hrs. Without the demanding training Embry-Riddle provides their students, none of this would have been possible. By the end of the week I logged over 30 hrs of 737 simulator training in my logbook. This has definitely been the best flying experience of my life.

I cannot stress enough how beneficial a co-op/internship can be to your future career. The connections I have made this summer are priceless. Between traveling around the world, learning how to fly a multi-million dollar jet, and the overall experience working for an airline, my internship with Continental Airlines has further enhanced my passion to become a professional airline pilot.

July 27, 2008

Wow, as I sit here and write you this journal tonight, I can’t believe that I only have 2 weeks left of my internship with Continental. I have accomplished so much this summer, but the best is yet to come. Last week I began my 737 training. I spent the first three days of the week in the 737 FTD. Here I learned the basic procedures on how to fly the aircraft and how to perform the checklists properly from memory. We flew all over the United States, learning what it takes to get 150 passengers safely to their destination. What a blast! Flying a huge jet is super fun and relatively simple if you are prepared. After my exciting time in the FTD’s, we attended a Crew Resource Management class Thursday and Friday. Here we learned how to properly fly an aircraft with two pilots in the front. It was very interesting how different flying an airplane can be when you split the cockpit duties between two pilots. After the class on Friday I headed home for a good night’s sleep.

I wasn’t planning on going anywhere this weekend, but Friday night I just couldn’t stand staying in Houston. My simulator partner and I decided to catch a plane to San Francisco, CA Saturday morning for a nice day trip. Boy, I’m glad we did. California was amazing. We arrived in San Fran at 9:30 am and we were presented with a gorgeous California day; 60 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. What a relief from the 102 degree heat we left back in Houston. We started off the day with lunch at Boudin Sourdough. San Fran is known for their sourdough bread, and wow, what a surprise. They made it fresh there and I had an amazing sandwich. Then, we boarded a ferry boat for a tour of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island. It was so neat to see the history of San Fran up close. We concluded our adventure with an amazing Chinese dinner in China Town. He hopped on a plane that night at midnight and I was back in Houston at 6 am.

My weekend was finished off with a full day of studying. Tomorrow is when all of this hard work is going to pay off. I will get up early and head to the training center for one of the most amazing experiences of my life. This week I am going to get the opportunity to fly the full motion simulators for 6 days straight! I will log over 25 hrs in a simulator that flies exactly like the real airplane. I am so excited for this wonderful experience. I hope you guys are continuing to have a nice and relaxing summer. I’m going to catch up on my sleep once again before my big day tomorrow.

July 13, 2008

Hello again, I hope everyone had a wonderful Fourth of July! Mine was absolutely amazing. T he other interns and I spent Fourth of July weekend in Buenos Aires, Argentina! I know I know, so patriotic of us right? But wow, Buenos Aires was a wonderful cultural experience. We departed July 3rd at 9 pm and arrived in Buenos Aries the next morning. Yes, Argentina is a 10 hr flight away! The crazy part about this trip was that when we got off of the airplane, it was 50 degrees outside. Since we were below the equator, it was winter down there. It was so nice to get away from the 100 degree heat of Texas. After we arrived at our hotel, we went and grabbled one of the best lunches I have ever eaten. Argentina is known for their steaks, so of course we had to try a steak restaurant. We went to a nice, extremely fancy place down the street from our hotel and ate like kings! The best part about Argentina is the price. Three pesos are worth one dollar, so everything is really cheap. We all ate a $90 steak dinner for $30. What a deal. Then, after a wonderful lunch, we decided to walk around the shopping district in Buenos Aires. It was so awesome to see all of the cultural goods they had for sale. We finished off the night with a wonderful evening of Salsa dancing. The next day we all got up and took a wonderful bus tour of the city. We saw all of the famous sights and I got my picture taken with an Argentinean dancer! After experiencing all of what Argentina had to offer, we headed back to the airport for our long journey home. It was a short weekend trip packed with culture and excitement! What more can I ask for?

After returning from Argentina, it was time to begin our first round of training. Monday we went to our first class at the Continental training center, FMS. This is where we learned how to program the computer system and autopilot in the 737. The class was from 8-5 on Monday and Tuesday and wow, we learned a lot! The teacher took us through every aspect of the flight, and showed what to expect for the simulators. It made me feel a lot more confident about flying one of these big jets. It actually isn’t as hard as you may think. After the completion of the FMS class, I finished off the week with a few days of good work.

I hope everyone continues to have a wonderful summer and I will keep you posted on the progression of my training. The next few weeks will be the most exciting and intense weeks of my life! Until then, time to get ready for work tomorrow. Have a great week!

July 1, 2008

I would like to start this article off by wishing everyone a Happy Fourth of July! The past two weeks have been nothing but fireworks over here at Continental.

Remember how I told you this summer could not get any better? Well, I was wrong. Sit back, relax, and get ready to be blown away by one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

It all started last Thursday when we took a tour of Houston Center. Houston Center is an Air Traffic Control facility that provides guidance to aircraft flying between airports. Houston Center controls the area between west Texas and Louisiana. During our tour, we were given the opportunity to sit next to an Air Traffic Controller and watch how traffic is controlled. All I can say is wow! I have a new appreciation for how much work is involved in keeping aircraft separated.

On Friday, we all got up and proceeded to the airport once again for a tour of Continental’s ramp tower. This is like a mini Air Traffic Control Facility for Continental Airlines. In the ramp tower, two controllers guide aircraft pulling into and out of gates at the Terminal. It was so neat to get a bird’s eye view of what goes on every day when you depart from an airport.

When we arrived, all of the morning flights were preparing to depart. The room was filled with pilots calling in waiting for the ok to depart. Once they received the ok, about 12 airplanes began pushing back from the gate. It was insane to see so many aircraft moving in such a small area. This just shows us just how many people are needed to keep an airline operated at full capacity. It takes the two controllers and hundreds of ground personnel just to get the aircraft to the taxiway!

After the ramp tower tour, it was time to relax. It was Friday, and little did I know, this would end up being my favorite weekend so far of this internship!

We started off the weekend with a day trip to Galveston, TX. I haven’t been to the beach since April, so we all decided to have a nice relaxing day at the beach! It was nice to get away from the busy life of an intern and just relax. We spent the day walking on the beach, playing in the 85 degree water, and shopping at the wonderful beach shops. After a long day down south, we returned to Houston to get a good night’s rest. Saturday was going to be a big day for all of us.

Saturday morning, we began our journey to Seattle, Washington. After a 4 ½ hr flight, we arrived at one of my favorite cities in the United States. It was such a beautiful day, 70 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. What a change from the 100 degree heat Texas throws at us every day. Saturday night was spent checking into the hotel and preparing ourselves for the days to come. Sunday started at 5:30 a.m. where we proceeded to downtown Seattle to see the wonderful view at Sunrise. I was shocked just how beautiful Puget Sound can be in the morning.

After the sunrise, we proceeded to the Public Market Center. This is one of the most famous markets to buy seafood in the United States. Everyone was so friendly and we tried such wonderful seafood. I tasted the best Alaskan Salmon I have ever eaten. Next we proceeded to walk around Seattle and see what the city had to offer.

After lunch, we proceeded to the most beautiful place I have ever seen in my life, Mt. Rainier National Park. It was a 3 hr drive south of Seattle, and it was well worth the trip. Upon reaching the visitor center, about one third the way up the mountain, there was 11 feet of snow on the ground and it was 75 degrees outside. We were in shorts and a t-shirt playing in snow, what an experience. After 3 hours of admiring wildlife, snowcaps, and an amazing sunset, we proceeded back to the hotel.

The next day was the main event, a personal tour of the Boeing Factory in Everett, Washington. We got up bright and early once again and began our day with the famous space needle! We rode to the top and got a breathtaking view of Seattle from 600 feet in the air!

Next, it was finally time for what we had been waiting for, the Boeing tour. When we arrived at the Boeing facility, we were dwarfed by the largest building in the United States! The Boeing factory encompasses 98 acres under one roof. After we checked in, we were greeted by our tour guide and proceeded to the factory. As we entered, the air was filled with heavy machinery piecing together aircraft the size of foot ball fields.

The tour began with the Boeing 777. This aircraft is currently their most popular aircraft for traveling internationally. We were given the opportunity to see every step of the building process. Boeing employs over 80,000 people at this plant, and it takes brainpower from each and every one of them to produce one of these magnificent planes. You don’t realize just how big these airplanes are until you stand next to them! The wingtip is about 3 stories above the ground, and the engine has a diameter of 12 feet.

After the 777 tour, we saw the newest addition to the Boeing fleet, the 787. This aircraft encompasses the state of the art technology and efficiency. This aircraft can literally be snapped together in as little as 3 days! It is expected to have its first flight towards the end of 2008. After the tour, we proceeded to the gift shop, and then headed back to Seattle for the last few hrs of the trip.

This amazing weekend came to a close with a 45 min ferry ride across Puget Sound and back. This was the first time we got to see all of Seattle as a whole, a truly beautiful city. We then proceeded to the airport to catch the midnight flight back to Houston. I slept in first class all the way home. The aircraft landed at 7 am and I was at work by 8.

What a wonderful weekend! But wait, this week isn’t done quite yet. We depart for Argentina on Thursday!!! I can’t wait.

Until then, have a great night, I need to catch up on some sleep.

June 17, 2008

Hi everyone, I can’t believe it is already the middle of June! Time flies when you’re having fun. The Continental Internship is much more than I expected. I can’t believe you can experience so much in so little time. The past two weeks at Continental were as good as the first. I performed my usual duties at work, and I still love every minute of it. Since I had a lot of free time, I decided to start studying for my simulator training. I’m going to have my work cut out for the rest of the summer.

During the last 2 weeks in July, I’m going to have the opportunity to attend 3 Continental classes, as well as fly the 737-500 full motion simulator. This is going to be the most rewarding experience of this internship! Continental is going to treat me as a new hire pilot, expecting me to know all of the procedures and checklists by memory. The training will begin with 6 hrs in the flight training device. An FTD is an actual cockpit of the 737, with no visual in front of it. The FTD also doesn’t move, it is hard mounted to the ground. This is used in order for pilots to perfect the checklists and procedures before they fly the full motion simulator. It will also perfect your instrument flying skills because there is no visual of what is outside the cockpit. The full motion simulator is an actual cockpit just like the FTD, however, it is mounted on top of hydraulic actuators. This allows it to move and simulate actually flying through the air. There is also a visual image of in front of the cockpit, simulating the flying environment. The full motion simulator is so realistic, the first time you fly the actual aircraft is with passengers in the back. It sounds like a lot of work, but learning how to fly an $80,000,000 jet is unbelievable. I’ll keep you posted on my progress during the next month and a half.

Finally, I can’t end this journal without the details of an exciting trip right? Well, we didn’t go out of the country this time, but we got to experience something few pilots have. Imagine, being at 25,000 ft and intentionally taking your oxygen mask off! Well, that is exactly what we did today. The other interns and I flew up to Oklahoma City last night for altitude training. We arrived at the FAA facility at 8:00 a.m. and met our professor for the day. He gave us a 3 hr ground school explaining the effects of altitude on the body. We ate lunch, and then the fun and excitement began, it was time for the altitude chamber. An altitude chamber is a big sealed box that simulates climbing in an airplane. The FAA uses this to allow pilots to experience hypoxia, or the lack of oxygen. It trains pilots on what their personal signs are of hypoxia, and how to counteract them before a problem occurs. At 1:00, we all entered the chamber and took our seats. The instructor told us how to use our oxygen masks and what we were going to be doing. The flight started with a gradual rise to 8,000 ft, the altitude of normal passenger aircraft cabin when you fly. Then, we experienced a rapid decompression to 18,000 ft. This simulates a hole being blown in the side of the aircraft. The altitude rose from 8,000 ft to 18,000 ft in 7 seconds. As soon as this happened, we put on our oxygen masks and the room immediately fogged up. Also, the temperature dropped 20 degrees due to the expanding air. Upon reaching 18,000, we continued a gradual climb to 25,000. At 25,000 ft, we all took off our masks to see what it feels like to be hypoxic. After 5 minutes, my head was tingling, my lips turned blue, and I was lightheaded. It was a very interesting feeling, something you don’t want to experience while you are at the controls of an aircraft. After experiencing hypoxia, we all put our oxygen masks on and immediately all of the symptoms were cured. It was amazing how fast you are back to your normal self. We then finished our flight with a gradual descent back to earth. What a fun day! We left the FAA facility at 4:30 and were home by 7. I was in Oklahoma City for less than 24 hrs, and wow, what an experience.

I hope everyone is having as much fun as I am this summer! I’m off to bed, back to work tomorrow.