Adam

About Adam

Graduate

Aerospace Studies

Age: 23
Hometown: Washington Township, NJ
Adam recently graduated from Embry-Riddle and is currently working as a flight instructor on the Daytona Beach campus. Like many flight students, he's beginning his career by building flight hours in preparation for an airline job. Read about his first pilot job and flight instruction from the teacher's point of view in this journal.

January 31, 2007

One semester down, a lot more to go! And I’m still just as excited and enthusiastic to fly as I was from day one. Sure last semester had its ups and downs, but that comes with any new job in the aviation industry. And you know what keeps me going, the students! Once you realize that, you begin to really love your job. It’s not about the flying, it’s about the dedicated men and women in the cockpit that I am mentoring. I could not be more proud to say that I am part of this organization. Watching your student solo for the first time draws emotion that is usually reserved for parents watching their children accomplish a major milestone in their life. All at once, you are nervous, anxious, and proud. Overall, this semester has started off better than the last. However, 2 months ago, it didn’t appear that this was going to be the case.

On 25 December, 2006, I was home in New Jersey with my family. It was good to be home because I haven’t seen them in about a year. I was on my way out when one of my friends called me and told me that a tornado had hit the campus. Not really thinking there was that much damage, I asked him a few questions, but didn’t really pay too much attention to the topic. Then, one by one, over a 1 hour time span, my students called me to ask me questions about the damage. I finally got on the Internet and began looking at pictures that my friends had put online. The damage was the type of damage you normally see on the news in Iraq. Most of our fleet of airplanes were damaged or destroyed. Aircraft were thrown all over the west side of campus. We no longer had a maintenance hanger. The Simulation Center, Spruance Hall, the ICI Center, the maintenance student’s classrooms, Natalie Irrlitz and Michael Ponso’s cars, were all severely damaged. Not to mention broken windows in the College of Aviation, the Flight Line, and the Student Center. After seeing this damage, I began to worry, will I have a job? What’s going to happen to the students? Was anyone hurt? Thank God no one was hurt. If this had happened 10 days earlier there would have been fatalities.

What followed the tornados was, in my opinion, the greatest single recovery effort ever undertaken by a university. The upper level administration in the flight department were all on scene within a few hours of the tornado. Before the word was given for instructors to return to school, pilots were already cutting their vacations short and returning to Daytona to help. I was not planning on returning until January 8th. Instead, I left my ski trip in the Poconos, and my girlfriend, to get to work by January 3rd. The pure grit and determination by the flight department was something that I envy as a soldier in the Army. Aircraft were located from around the U.S. to replace the ones we lost. Within a few days, instructors were on their way to places as far away as Arizona and North Dakota, to pick up replacement aircraft. I was tasked to go pick up an airplane on the west coast of Florida.

By January 16th the Flight Line was up and running at full strength and classes began. Twenty-one days prior, there were less than a dozen flyable airplanes, nowhere to conduct aircraft maintenance, and no building to have simulator training in. The tireless efforts of the ERAU flight, safety, and maintenance departments did an outstanding job in recovering from this disaster. The overwhelming support the University received will never be forgotten. As I said in the beginning, I could not be more proud to be a part of this organization!

October 3, 2006

Its been a while! So far being an instructor has been a lot of work, however this experience has been good and I have learned quite a bit. There is a lot of pressure on me as an instructor to train my students above standard. Throw in the military and my personal life, the work never stops. Sometimes I wonder if this is really what it’s going to be like until I stop working. Well I’ll soon find out.

The days are becoming more routine. Wake up at 5:00am; get to work by 6:00am. I’m in the air 15 minutes later training my students. I have roughly 4 to 5 activities per day, 5 or 6 days a week. Sometimes the longest break in between flights is 2 minutes all day. Your body begins to adjust to it though. After a day of flying and being in the office, I’m home by 6:00pm. After that I run and go to the gym for about 2 hours. By the time I finish all that and eat dinner, its time to go to sleep and do it all again! On the weekends I am training with my infantry unit. For those readers that don’t know, I am a combat medic with Delta 1/124th Infantry.

As far as the flying part of my life goes, it’s pretty simple. However everything else is complicated. My deployment is getting closer and closer. I am getting great offers from the military to fly. I ask myself all the time if I should deploy and take the 18 months off from flying, or go to flight training for the military and miss my chance to be in combat with my friends in Delta? I want to move to Tampa Bay because I’m getting into a serious relationship; however there is not that much work over there for full time pilots. I have student loans to pay, and the holidays are coming up. I have a lot to think about but I’m not to worried. The training and education I received puts me a step ahead of my friends and peers so I know my future is secure.

I still think I have the best job in the world. You will not find a place that is more structured and challenging, yet caring and rewarding, than ERAU. You are put to the test every day and only the strong survive!

September 18, 2006

At 6:15 in the morning, most 23 year-olds are asleep or at least just waking up. My life is a little bit different than most of my friends, because by 6:15, I am flying. I am one of the newest flight instructors at Embry Riddle’s Daytona Beach campus and I love my job. Sure it’s hard to get up at 5:15 every morning, but when I get to see the sunrise from a mile above the surface of the earth, it’s worth it. And it’s even more worth it when I get to fly with my students that have never seen what I see until they take that first flight. That is my motivation everyday. Today is no different.

I just finished my first activity of the day, which was a C-172 G-1000 simulator. The equipment that you can work with and the things you can do at this university are awesome. I can’t think of any other way to describe it. Being on the business end of it all, and no longer being a student, I get to see what really goes into making the flight department run. The amount of technology in our fleet of glass cockpit aircraft amazes me sometimes. Contrary to what some people believe, the faculty and staff really care about every flight student. From the top dog Frank Ayers, to my training manager Nic Mostert, to the flight instructors, everyone really cares about what happens in the student’s day to day life. This is something that I haven’t realized until I started working for the university after graduation.

Life as a Riddle instructor though isn’t always perfect. The combination of an early start to your day, very long hours sometimes (no more than 12 hours usually), and 4 or 5 turbulent and bumpy ground reference maneuver flights in a row, all takes a toll on any instructor by the end of the day. The other day I was at about 6,500 feet doing power on stalls when my student used his ailerons and opposite rudder to correct an uncoordinated stall. It wasn’t that big of a deal to me, however, it scared my student to death! He didn’t realize that I had full control over the airplane the entire time. It was a good experience for both of us. That’s what it’s all about!