About Matthew

Aeronautical Science

**Name:** Matthew Colan
**Major:** Aeronautical Science
**Minor:** Applied Meteorology
**Hometown:** Swanton, Vermont
**Career Goals:** To obtain a degree from Embry-Riddle, and fly for a major airline, preferably JetBlue
**Why I chose Embry-Riddle:** I chose Embry-Riddle because of the vast amount of opportunity within the aviation field that the college provides
**Activities:** Sport Aviation Club, Radio Control Airplane Club

Year one complete!

Hi everyone,

My freshman year at Embry-Riddle has officially come to a close with me passing my checkride and becoming a private pilot! I am currently in the midst of packing up and waiting on the phone call to get my temporary pilot certificate.

I left off my last blog entry with two airshows to highlight; the New Smyrna Balloon and Skyfest, and Sun n’ Fun.  The New Smyrna airshow was definitely a treat as it was the debut of Kyle Franklin’s new airplane called Dracula. One of my friends described it as a what a plane would be if a Pitts, Geebee, and Waco had a kid. The performance of that airplane was incredible! Some quick stats on the airplane: It is powered by a 500hp supercharged fuel-injected radial engine, the G rating on it is +/-12g’s, and Vne (Never Exceed speed) does not exist because the airplane won’t be able to go that fast. The airplane also sported one of the most beautifully done fabric finishes I have ever seen on an airplane

Dracula taken out of his coffin

At that airshow, I was able to see Kyle Franklin, Matt Younkin, and Manfred Radius. One of my friends and I helped Manfred solder sparklers onto his wingtips for his night airshow. What does he hold them onto the airplane with? Duct tape!

A couple of us were planning to go to the Barrett-Jackson collector car auction in West Palm Beach the day after the New Smyrna airshow, but decided against it because we were all still battling the lingering effects of colds.

The next airshow was Sun n’ Fun, one of the biggest airshows in the United States. A group of us went out Friday afternoon ignoring the forecast for thunderstorms. We arrived just in time for the night airshow.  This was the first night airshow I have seen and it was one of the cooler things I’ve seen at airshows.

Since one of my friends works for an airshow performer, we were able to camp out underneath his Piaggio twin gull seaplane.

What isn’t there to love? First thing you see outside your tent is airplanes

Before the airshow, we spent the day in the performer hangar looking at all the pretty airplanes and talking with some of the airshow performers. One real treat I got to see was one of the original batmobiles and original batcopter from the 1960s TV show.

The original Batmobile and Batcopter!

During the week, they were forecasting thunderstorms for the weekend.  The airshow never saw a drop of rain the entire time we were there. Instead, it was hot! I overheard a guy saying it was 134 degrees on the tarmac.

The airshow went on, and we enjoyed another treat. Matt Chapman and world renowned RC pilot, Quique Somenzini flew formation aerobatics.  This was the first time this had been done at an airshow, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

We decided to leave the airshow early and head home because we only got four hours of sleep and after spending a day in the Florida heat, we were tired. On the way back, a friend recommended a BBQ restaurant called Four Rivers to stop and eat dinner. When we got there the line went out the building, and wrapped around the corner. After a wait of only 30 minutes, I ate the best ribs I’ve ever had in my life! It turns out this restaurant was voted the best BBQ in Florida and one of the top 50 best BBQ’s in the United States.

The next two weeks consisted of continuing to prep for checkride, and for finals as well. The amount of model airplane flying dropped to only about six flights for about two weeks because of the semester coming to a close and needing to study for finals.  However, on the study day, the RC club hosted the electric indoor fly-in.

Just hovering, don’t mind me.

This was a lot of fun and I got to fly my foamie for a little while. I ended up crashing it when I got out of sync in the rolling harrier. I never bothered to fix it because the plane didn’t fly that well, so my friend Jim let me fly his foamies for the rest of the day.

The next week was a stressful one, having to study for finals, pack up my room, and study for my checkride.  I got through it all, and passed the oral portion of my checkride. The next week was just a waiting game on when to be scheduled for my flight.  I was one of about 130 others waiting to get scheduled as well. I finally got scheduled but had to incomplete the flight, so I continued to wait to get scheduled. Three attempts later (scheduling conflicts and weather), I finally got to go up and finish up the checkride, and I passed!  That brings me to today where I am waiting on the call to go pick up my temporary pilot certificate, and in the meantime packing up my belongings in preparation to fly home for the summer.

This school year was one for the books. I made some great friends, attended many airshows, built model airplanes in my dorm room, along with many other “shenanigans.” I’ll end this entry with a little slide show of some of the pictures I took throughout the year.

Hope everyone found the blog interesting, informative, and helped make your decision on what college to attend. I’ll be writing the blogs again in the fall semester, so I’ll be back!

The Piper Cub I got to take a ride in one of the first weekends I was at Riddle

It went down as .5 in the logbook, but it was the most fun I ever had in an airplane!

My desk turned into a workshop

Cocoa Beach airshow

Wings and Waves Airshow

What I call the Dorm Room Special prior to it’s maiden flight

Took 3rd place in expert at the King Orange International

Deland Giant Scale fly-in

Daytona 500

Fantasy of Flight



Spring Break has come and gone. Now for the home stretch!

Spring Break is now over, and we are down to the last month of school before finals and summer break.  I can’t believe just how quickly time has flown over this past year and I am weeks away from completing my freshman year of college.  If I went to another school, I don’t think I would have learned as much about flying airplanes, meeting airshow performers, or sharing the passion of flight with all my friends.

During spring break, I went home and enjoyed a week of home cooking and relaxation.  I spent most of the week in the workshop getting my new Control-line contest plane polished and ready to fly.  The weather was too cold to run the engine, but I’ll be able to do that in a couple of weeks when summer break comes around.

Since spring break has ended, I have been out flying my CarbonZ Yak54 with the RC club on campus a couple times a week.  Now that it doesn’t get dark until 8pm, I’m able to get a few flights out of it before the darkness of nighttime sets in.  I have now learned how to fly rolling circles and rolling loops with it.

On the full size flight training side, I needed a couple refresher flights to shake the rust off from spring break, and now am hoping to get signed off for my check-ride by next weekend.  I grounded myself because I’m currently battling a cold.  I learned my lesson the hard way of why not to fly when you have any sort of congestion.  On my solo cross country to Melbourne, I had a very mild cold, and even then, I felt like my head was going to explode when I was on descent.

The next two weekends I am planning on traveling to West Palm Beach for the Barrett-Jackson collector car auction, New Smyrna Balloon and skyfest, and Sun ‘N Fun. I am looking forward to attending these events and will hit on the highlights for the next entry.

‘Till next time, fair skies and light winds.

NASCAR, Parent Weekend, Fantasy of Flight and more


Hi everyone. February is now coming to a close and what a February it was! During the time since my last entry, Parent Weekend came and went. Other events I’ve attended were a Giant scale RC Fly-In in Deland, Fantasy of Flight air museum and the Daytona 500.

NASCAR, Daytona 500

Daytona 500

On the weekend of February 10th, my parents flew down from Vermont for Parent Weekend. During that time, parents are encouraged to attend classes with their son/daughter, and attend different programs throughout the weekend. On Saturday I was able to take my dad flying around the north practice area in preparation for my private check ride. He thoroughly enjoyed the experience, so much so that he took a nap on the way back in to Daytona Beach. Guess I must have done a good job in giving him a smooth ride.

On Sunday, the 10th, we went to Disney World and spent the day in Epcot. This was the first time since I was five that I was able to go to Disney. I enjoyed spending a day with my parents in Epcot and I’m sure they did as well.

The next weekend was President’s day weekend, which the student body enjoyed a three day weekend. I spent one day during that weekend attending the Deland Giant-Scale RC Fly-In. I was only a spectator since I didn’t have an airplane big enough to fly there. I was incredibly impressed at the aerobatics some of these pilots were doing. Having only flown Control-line for the past six years, I’ve gotten out of touch with the RC world and forgot just how insane the aerobatics can get.

Low knife edge pass at full throttle

During that weekend, I also attended the Sprint Unlimited, a no points winner take all NASCAR race in Daytona International Speedway. After watching NASCAR racing at Daytona for years, I never thought I would be 3 feet from the fence watching them race by at 200mph.
This past weekend I went to Fantasy of Flight with the Sport Aviation Club. Fantasy of Flight is an air museum owned by Kermit Weeks. He owns all the airplanes that are there, and the ones that are on display in the museum are ready to fly. We took multiple tours of different areas of the museum, and I was amazed at all the engines and planes that he owns. In one hangar across the street from the museum, he had the fuselage to a B-29 lying there, along with more airplanes than you count. Hopefully Kermit will restore the B-29 to flying condition and fly it since there is only one flying at this current time.

A beautiful example of a P-51B Mustang at Fantasy of Flight

The next day was the Daytona 500. After hearing about the wreck in the nationwide race the day before where the engine ended up in the stands, we were expecting a good race! Once again, watching the race in person was more entertaining than watching it on TV. Jimmie Johnson became a two-time winner of The Great American Race that day.

Kasey Kahne gets loose causing a 9 car pile-up

On the academic side of these past few weeks, everything has been going well. I’ve had very little homework which is not what I would consider normal for college. I am enjoying the lack of homework since it gives me more free time to be doing what I have been doing during the weekends. I am also very close to my private check ride, which I am hoping I will have before spring break. Progress has slowed down to a crawl since we had a bad day with weather, and waiting for my turn. The instructor I was with today said one more flight and I will be ready for my check ride, which I am really excited about.
If anyone has any questions they have regarding campus life, flying at Embry-Riddle, feel free to email me at colanm@my.erau.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter, mcolan94 or subscribe to my Youtube account, flycl756355.
‘Till next time, fair skies and light winds!
Matthew Colan

December 11th:

Semester one has been completed! I can’t believe just how quickly time has flown by these past four months.  It feels like just yesterday when my parents left me to fend for myself with new people, a new environment and to do my homework on my own.  During that time I have made a countless number of new friends, shared many laughs with them and stressed out over homework and projects.

Here’s a quick recap on this past semester. I have attended two airshows, one at Cocoa Beach and one at Daytona Beach.  I have also camped out at an airport with the Sport Aviation Club. Lastly, I have built a model airplane in my dorm room and have flown it 20 times since it’s been completed.

During these past couple weeks, classes were beginning to wrap up.  All the final projects and tests seemed to occur during the same two days during the last week of classes, which caused a little bit of stress for me and kept me in my dorm room most of the day.  After that, it was time to study for finals.  I only had one final to study for, which was math.  Instead of studying, a couple of my friends and I went to the flying field and flew model airplanes from the late morning until the mid-late afternoon.  This is NOT something I would recommend doing on your study day.  For the next study day before finals, I will take advantage of that study day and actually study.  After my math final was complete, I celebrated by going to the flying field and getting three flights on my airplane before dark.  One of my friends recorded a flight for me, and I will be posting that video on my Youtube channel within the next day or two.

On the flight training side of education at Embry-Riddle, I came up a little short of my goal of obtaining my pilots license by the end of this semester.  All I need is two solo cross countries and then another two or three flights to prepare for my check ride, and then my actual check ride.  The weather took a turn south this past week and I wasn’t able to fly at all this week.  Hopefully I’ll have my license by the middle of January, and then begin working hard on trying to get my instrument rating by the end of next semester.

If you have any further questions, feel free to email me at colanm@my.erau.edu. You can also add me as a friend on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/#!/matthew.colan or follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MColan94.  If you do wish to add me as a friend on Facebook, send me a message to let me know that you read the student blog so that I know it is not spam.  I have received multiple friend requests on Facebook that I am not sure who that person is.  If I have not accepted your friend request, send me a message so that I know you have read the student blogs.  If you have a Youtube account, you can subscribe to my Youtube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/flycl756355?feature=results_main.

‘Till next time, have a great Christmas and New Year’s, and see you all next year!

Matthew Colan

November 2012

SOLO!!!!! On November 2nd, my instructor finally turned me loose in Deland Municipal Airport and had me fly traffic patterns on my own. It was a beautiful Florida day, low 70s, very light wind, and not a cloud in the sky. My instructor and I took off in N477ER for Deland. After flying three traffic patterns, we parked the airplane and went to the restaurant at the airport and grabbed some breakfast. He signed off in my logbook endorsing me to solo. After breakfast, I went to the airplane, and started it up, and taxied over to runway 25 waiting to take off.

Another Embry-Riddle Cessna did a rejected landing and went around, so once he was clear of the runway, I made my way onto the centerline of the runway and started putting the throttle in. 800 feet later, I lifted off the ground in the airplane alone! My instructor watched me fly a traffic pattern over Deland on my own, and then watched me do a textbook landing. I’m currently waiting for him to give me the video of me flying so I can upload it to my Youtube channel.

November is also upon us! Florida weather has been beautiful as of late. For a guy who comes from the Northeast, the temperature of the low to mid 70s has been perfect. My friends who are from Florida keep saying its cold outside, but I have nothing to complain about.

Hurricane Sandy blew through Florida a few of weeks ago, and some of my friends and I went to the beach to look at the waves crashing onto the beach. Being from the northeast, I don’t get to go to the ocean too often, so I was amazed at the size of the waves hitting the beach.

Two weekends ago, the Sport Aviation Club held a drop what you brought contest at a grass airport called Pierson. Pierson is about a half hour drive north of campus. Some of the sport aviation club members went out a day early and had a campout at the airport. Where else besides Embry-Riddle would you have college students camping out at an airport for a night? That was a lot of fun, and will definitely be participating in again next year!

The next day, the Radio Control club hosted their indoor electric fly-in in the ICI center. I attended that, and flew one of my friend’s small electric planes. After spending a few hours at the fly-in, I decided it was time to head back to my dorm and begin my homework, which put an end to the awesome weekend.



This past weekend, I had a “buildathon” on my Control-line airplane hoping to get it done by the weekend so I could start flying it. Starting at 5:00pm, I worked on it until 3:15am, and had it completed. Two days later, I went to the Richard Petty soccer fields, and gave the plane its maiden voyage. I’ve only flown it one other time since then as of this date and I’m trimming it out little by little and it’s already had drastic improvements just after two flights.

Thanksgiving is fast approaching, with only a week before I board a JetBlue flight to get back home and enjoy some turkey and football with my family. Also this week, registration for classes next semester will start. I, for one, am planning on getting up early on that day so I can register as early as possible to get the classes I want!


If you have any questions, feel free to email me at colanm@my.erau.edu. You can also add me as a friend on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. If you do wish to add me as a friend on Facebook, send me a message to let me know that you read the student blog so that I know it is not spam. If you have a Youtube account, you can subscribe to my Youtube channel.

‘Till next time, aim high!
Matthew Colan

September 2012

Hi everyone, my name is Matthew Colan and I will be one of your student blog writers for this year at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Hopefully you will be able to learn about the experiences of the day to day life of a college student at ERAU over the course of the year. But first let me introduce myself to get to know me a little better.

I was born in Port Jefferson, New York and moved to northern Vermont at the age of four. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a love for all things aviation. My parents believe it is because the first thing I saw when I was born was an airplane. Even as an infant, they say I would always be looking at an airplane flying across the sky. My first flight on an airplane was at the tender age of three. I remember almost nothing of the flight except it was early in the morning and there was a little bit of rain.

As I got older, my other grandfather began introducing me to model aviation. I always knew he flew model airplanes, but now he was beginning to teach me how to fly. He taught me how to fly Radio Control, and I flew those for a couple of years. In 2005, he introduced me to Control-line, a different form of model airplanes. Once I learned how to fly control-line, I started to compete. We eventually went to the National Championships in Muncie, Indiana in 2011. At that contest I was fortunate enough to place third in the advanced class and second in the senior class. We both went back to Muncie later that year so I could compete at the Team Trials. At that contest, I obtained the junior spot on the United States world team. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend the world championships because the event occurred during the same week as Freshman Orientation at Embry-Riddle.

Fast forward to the present day, I just finished up my fourth week of classes. I have been at Embry-Riddle for a month and can’t believe time has gone by so quickly. My major is Aeronautical Science, which is the degree program to become a professional pilot. Currently, I am working on obtaining my Private Pilot license. A lot of class time is spent in the air, and in my opinion is the best classroom in the world! I currently live in Doolittle Hall, one of the four freshman dorms. I also became a member of two clubs on campus and also part of an intramural flag football team. Our first game was earlier this week, and unfortunately we came up a little short in getting the win. Since the team is comprised mostly of freshman, we didn’t know all of the rules to flag football and penalties got the best of us.

The two clubs I am a member of is the Radio Control Airplane Club and the Sport Aviation Club. The Sport Aviation club gives opportunities to go to airshows at almost no cost, and also give you the opportunity to fly some really cool airplanes. Just last weekend, I was able to take a ride in an aerobatic glider and fly in a Pitts S-2B. One of my friends let me use his GoPro camera, and I got the flight on video. I put it up on Youtube here if you would like to watch it.

This weekend, I will be attending an airshow at Cocoa Beach with the Sport Aviation Club. I will talk about it in my next blog entry. I also have a model airplane under construction in my dorm that I hopefully will be able to fly by the next blog entry as well.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me. You can also add me as a friend on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. If you do wish to add me as a friend on Facebook, send me a message to let me know that you read the student blog so that I know it is not spam. If you have a Youtube account, you can subscribe to my Youtube channel. Thank you for reading my story and I hope you will consider Embry-Riddle as your college of choice. You will not be disappointed!

Matthew Colan