Pete

About Pete

Senior

Business Administration

Concentration: Air Transport Concentration
Minor: Flight
Career Goals: To work in Airport Operations at a major airport, or become a commerical airline pilot.
Why I chose Embry-Riddle: Location, Name Recognition, Academic Program Quality.

August 14, 2011

Hey everybody! I hope all is well with you. I am doing great here enjoying the last few weeks of summer. It’s hard to believe that the summer is winding to a close. The incoming freshmen are just a few days away from starting their Embry-Riddle adventures, and I have about 2 weeks until I return to Daytona Beach. It is an exciting time of year for sure and definitely nerve-wracking for many new freshmen. If you are about to start at Riddle, I highly recommend you join the Facebook page for the class if you have not done so already. Almost ¾ of your class is on there and it is a great way to ask questions and get to know each other.

Every step of the way during this process, there are people around to help you. From physically moving into your dorm to getting to know your way around campus, people are looking to help. Don’t be afraid to ask upperclassmen for anything you might need. Embry-Riddle is a close community and everyone wants everyone else to feel as comfortable as possible.

Anyways, not too much new is going on with me. As you can probably tell, I spend most of my time home during the summer working at the airport. I always have a great time doing this though and have a lot of friends here at the airport. Recently, the entire airfield was repainted which took almost 4 days to complete. I always find it amazing how accurate the painting equipment is and how easily the painters can accurately paint even the smallest of lines. Now that this project is complete, much of it won’t have to be repainted again for several years.

Other than work, I flew the other day with a friend of mine from Embry-Riddle who lives in the area. We wanted to just fly to a destination for lunch and opted for a quick flight to Block Island. We took the only G1000 equipped Cessna in the state (the same type of aircraft that Embry-Riddle flies) and had a great time. It will be nice to head back to Florida though and start flying down there again. We always find good trips to go on over the weekends and I would suggest that you all take advantage of that freedom to fly with friends while you are at school. You can create some great memories this way.

Well, believe it or not, this is my last journal entry for you guys. I have truly enjoyed sharing my experiences with you over this past year and I really hope you will continue to e-mail me with any questions that you guys may have over the course of the year or anytime, really.

I wish you all the very best of luck in your future endeavors and I look forward to seeing you at school.

Take care.
Pete Greco
grecoj1@my.erau.edu

July 31, 2011

Hey everyone. How are you guys doing? I hope your summers are going well and you are enjoying the time off to relax. Mine is going well here in Connecticut. I am just trying to balance my work with some free time, and so far things have been going pretty well.

Since I wrote last, I have continued working regularly during the week, and have been able to do some pretty fun things through that. A few weeks ago, I flew my bosses to a meeting we had to go to in Massachusetts. Previously, we drove to the airport we were meeting at which took nearly 4 hours, but by plane it was a mere 45 minutes. It was a bit gusty that day but on the way up we were doing almost 200 knots over the ground—very fast for a small airplane! It was a fun flight.

At the airport, not all that much new has been going on. We did our annual foam and dry chemical tests on our secondary fire truck, which is always fun. We are able to actually flow foam and the halon chemicals right out of the truck, which is something that typically doesn’t happen. The downside to this, of course, is having to restock these chemicals in the truck which can take some time without enough help. Luckily, we got it done in no time at all.

Perhaps the highlight of the past few weeks though was the “dinner flight.” Basically, the fixed-base operator (FBO) on the airport sponsors what they call a dinner flight once a month during the summer. On these flights, every single one of the flight school’s planes departs for a pre-determined destination—that usually translates to 20-30 people altogether. This month, the decision was made to fly to Republic Airport in Farmingdale, NY (on Long Island) and eat at an on-airport restaurant there, before splitting back up into our planes and flying the Hudson River VFR Corridor flight along the island of Manhattan. What a great time it was.

The restaurant we ate at was called the 56th Fighter Squadron Group and was really a fun place. Both the theme and the food were phenomenal. We had almost a whole room to ourselves due to the number of people in our party. Almost as soon as everyone was finished eating, the power went out all of a sudden and did not come back on. That made things interesting as it was getting dark, but we soon left and got back into our planes to continue our adventure.

Flying the Hudson River Corridor is something that I would put up there with seeing a shuttle launch and seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time. It is truly breathtaking, especially at night. The lights of the city are so bright and you can see nearly everything from the air. We proceeded down the river to the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, circled the Statue of Liberty a few times, then headed north up the East River, crossed the island at Central Park, and continued back to New Haven along the Hudson River.

Aside from the beauty of the city, the complexity of the airspace is fascinating. I was glad to have a flight instructor with me that had done the flight several times already, because knowing where to go and where to be and what altitude to be at is a challenge, especially if you can’t get a clearance into the airspace and subsequently must remain below it. Luckily, due to the time of the night, we were able to get a clearance into the Class B airspace. By the end of the night we had talked to: New Haven Tower, Republic Tower, White Plains Tower, Kennedy Tower, LaGuardia Tower, New York Approach, and Newark Tower. Seeing the planes going back and forth up and down the river was like a road: I had never seen so many planes in one place at one time. Still, it was an incredible experience.

Well guys, that’s all I have for you this time. Like always, please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions!

Talk to you soon,
Pete

July 17, 2011

Hey everyone! How are you guys doing? I am doing very well here, just enjoying the summer. The weather the past few days has been awesome, so I have been trying to take advantage of that as much as I can.

Not all that much is new with me, so I am sorry that this entry may be a little shorter than some of my previous ones. Work really takes up the most of my weeks, and on the weekends I like to relax as much as I can. But, I do have a few neat things that I’ve done recently I can share with you.

As my readers from the previous year know, one reason I enjoy working at airports is because of how unexpected things pop up randomly and without warning, and I have to respond to that situation and resolve it. Well, one such situation happened a few days ago on a taxiway that had been closed for construction. The airfield lighting there was not working, so several manhole covers and ditches had been opened or dug to try to locate the faulty wiring. Having these open next to a taxiway is in violation of FAR Part 139, so the taxiway had to be closed as a result.

That taxiway is primarily used for the airline as it runs from the terminal ramp across the main runway 2/20. When one of the airline flights called the tower for taxi, they were told to bypass that taxiway, but they accidentally turned down it instead. Because it was closed, they could not legally continue. The tower called me and asked what they should do. Knowing the aircraft couldn’t turn around and that it would be difficult to push it back, I expedited out to its location and just inspected the area to ensure it was safe for them to continue, and authorized the aircraft to taxi down the taxiway. It was a fun thing to do and everyone was very appreciative.

Then, this past weekend, a good friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in a while asked me if I would like to fly to Block Island for the day. Block Island, for those who don’t know, is a characteristic New England literally saving 2 and a half hours from driving. I love flying there and hadn’t been there yet this summer until that day. It was a great trip and we had a great lunch out there as well. We walked around almost the entire island, too, which was a little tiring but fun to see everything. It was a good day.

I am assuming now that some of the readers here are now looking to join the Embry-Riddle Class of 2016. To those individuals, welcome! I hope my journal will help you with your decision. Please read back through my earlier entries this year and let me know if you have any questions about anything. If you can find any time at all this summer to take a campus visit, I highly recommend you do so!

Other than that, I really don’t have that much more to share! Sorry again for the shortness of this entry. I will fill you in further next time!

Take care and talk to you soon!
Pete

July 6, 2011

Hey everyone. I hope everything is going well for you and that you are enjoying your summer thus far. Things are good for me and I am really enjoying the time off from school. While I have been working a lot, I have been making sure to relax a bit as well. Summer is definitely important for that.

Not all that much new has really happened since I last wrote regarding work. There have been a few interesting moments, as always, but on a day-to-day basis, things have been running relatively smoothly, which is good. This summer at work, I have really been trying to learn as much as I possibly can so that I can add it to my bank of knowledge going forward. I do this primarily by getting involved in everything I possibly can get involved in, which is sometimes tiring but definitely worth it in the long run.

I mentioned in my last article that I had a good friend named David that owns some restaurant franchises. As if I wasn’t busy enough, I have taken a job with him on the weekends helping out with his staff and stores. This is not that tough of a job, but it gives me the ability to see David more often while I am home and to get to know some of his employees and customers as well. So far, it has been a lot of fun and it is neat to learn some different food preparation techniques than what I had learned in my earlier days of working in the foodservice industry.

Last weekend, I went over my friend Mike’s house for  4th of July fireworks. He lives right on the water in East Haven, so this afforded a fantastic view of the festivities. Also at his house were several friends of mine who I hadn’t seen since I have been home from school, as well as some of my other co-workers and associates at the airport and some new friends who I met. It was a great night.

A few days later, I went with some of my co-workers at the airport to meet with AngelFlight Northeast in North Andover, Massachusetts. My airport is hosting a large airshow in October to benefit this organization and we took the 3 hour drive up there to iron out some details with them. All in all, the meeting was extremely successful. They took us out to a really nice restaurant for lunch when we got there and during this time I got to know some of the leadership for the organization. They are a great group of guys and I look forward to working with them more in the future.

Just yesterday, I returned home from Florida where we spent a long 4th of July weekend. If you have been reading my journal, you know that my parents recently purchased a home in South Florida, so we went down to that house. It was a great family vacation. We spent a lot of time at the pool, but we also went to Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale, the beach, and just looked around the area a bit. At this point, most of the house is decorated and it really feels like a second home. I really look forward to visiting again.

On the way back home at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, I noticed a lot of commotion at the gate across the concourse from my flight. The flight, going to Haiti, apparently had some baggage checked on it that wasn’t associated with a passenger. Because the flight is already considered high-risk, all of the bags were pulled off and an abundance of law enforcement and airport officials were on hand. It looked like quite a sight.

When we landed back in Connecticut at Bradley International Airport, my good friend Eric who used to be the Operations Manager at the airport I work at now was there working. Last summer, he took a job in Operations at Bradley, a much bigger airport. He stopped by the gate to say hi as I hadn’t seen him since Christmastime. It was good to see him and I am sure I will see him before I leave again for school.

Well, that’s all I have guys! As always, don’t hesitate to e-mail me any questions you might have.

Talk to you soon!
Pete

June 20, 2011

Hey everyone. I hope everything is going well. I’m doing great here in Connecticut, just enjoying the summer. I’ve been working a lot, but I have also been trying to relax as much as possible and enjoy the time off from school. I think it is really important to allow yourself time to relax when you can so that you can re-focus your energy when you need it most. Summers are great for that.

Summers are also a good time to visit colleges. While when you attend the various universities, you may not see many students around, it is still a great time to go and visit as you are not tied up with school and the other extracurricular activities you partake in during the school year. I highly recommend visiting as many schools as you can now, so that your final decision can be made easier and more effectively later on.

That is easier said than done, however, as I have spent most of my days thus far working. Really, though, for me it is not work as I look forward to going in every day. When you do something that you love, it is like you never “have” to go into work—you want to.

My brother graduated from high school last week, which I find really hard to believe. He will be going to Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service next year, a perfect fit for what he is interested and wants to do. It is kind of funny that both my brother and I will be following our dreams, which not all that many people get to do. We are very fortunate indeed.

The graduation ceremony itself was nice, but I could tell that it was sad for my brother as he had so many friends at school. Probably the most difficult thing for him though, was having to officially step down as Student Council President, something that he cherished the whole year and worked hard for. That weekend, we had a graduation party for him and it was a nice end to his high school career. Congratulations, Sam!

Things are going well at the airport, in any case. I really enjoy being at my “home” airport as everyone has a bunch of things that they need me to do and have saved since I went back to school in December. This may sound tedious, but I like being given specific jobs to do because of my various abilities above and beyond aviation-related work. Not all that much out of the ordinary has happened on that front, except for a few things.

For one thing, one of the Dash 8-100’s was stuck on the ground in New Haven for a full two days. It was probably the longest maintenance delay I had ever seen, but it was justifiable as one of the engines was simply not producing over 50% of thrust. The pilots attempted several times to troubleshoot the issue with a mechanic, but were unable to fix the problem. One of my friends was the first officer on that flight and it was nice to be able to catch up with him for a while, but eventually they flew the pilots home on another flight. The Dash 8 then sat there for another day and a half before mechanics finally came to replace the faulty engine component—in the middle of the night. They then decided to do a full engine run-up on the ramp, a few hundred feet from neighbors’ houses that already hate the airport. Needless to say, that did not go over well. Finally, the next day, the aircraft was flown out.

The other thing is on a much sadder note. A week or so ago, a 20 year old Connecticut soldier was killed in an explosion in Afghanistan. One night at work, I got a call from a charter company asking for an exemption from our noise ordinance to allow the aircraft carrying his remains to fly in. Of course, I authorized this, and volunteered my time on the day he came in to assist in whatever way I could. I ended up helping to lead the police escort off the airport and on their way. I’ve seen several of these situations before but it never gets easier. Seeing the family as the flag-draped coffin is unloaded from the aircraft is too much for me to handle. Rest in peace.

I was also in attendance as one of my best friends, David, received the Businessperson of the Year award from his town’s government. He is a franchisee of Bruegger’s Bagels and Jamba Juice and a very hard-working guy. He received a citation signed by the governor and a nice plaque as well. He really deserved it.

Other than that, I really don’t have too much else to say this time, guys. I hope you keep enjoying your summer. Please, contact me with some questions!
Talk to you soon,
Pete

June 6, 2011

Hey guys. I hope you’re all doing well. I am sure most of you are now on summer break from school and I hope that you all have a very happy and safe summer. I am doing well myself. I just got home from Florida two days ago and I am happy to be back in Connecticut. Seeing as I haven’t been here since January, I will say that it still feels weird to be here. But, it is nice to see everyone and my house nonetheless.

When I pulled in the driveway, my dog immediately saw me and he was ecstatic. I have to say that I missed him a lot being away. If you have pets, you will experience the same thing, but they are always thrilled to see you when you do come home and that makes coming even more exciting. I had seen my family several times in Florida, but it was nice to see them as well of course.

Before I left Daytona, I spent my time working at the Daytona Beach International Airport in the Operations department. This allowed for some good excitement and a great deal of valuable experiences. I will surely miss this job and my coworkers over the summer, and I will look forward to returning to the job in August.

My day of travel started early on June 3. One of my coworkers drove me to the airport for a 6:40am US Airways departure to Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina. When we landed here, I had about an hour and a half before my next flight to Philadelphia International Airport in Pennsylvania. I was disappointed to learn that today the aircraft—normally a Boeing 767-200—had been swapped for a Boeing 757-200, but it was alright as I got a bit of a seat upgrade in the process. I then had 3 hours in Philadelphia before catching my last flight to Tweed New Haven Regional Airport in Connecticut. This was just enough time to allow me to explore the airport a bit and, of course, get an authentic Philly Cheesesteak for lunch.

When I arrived in New Haven—which, for those of you don’t know, is the airport I work at in Operations here in Connecticut—I was greeted by my good friend and co-worker. We caught up for a while and after I retrieved by bag from the baggage claim, I went to the administration building to catch up with them a bit. We got the paperwork rolling to get my ID badge re-issued and I will start work there again on Monday. I will have plenty of exciting stories from here to share with you throughout the summer.

Jumping back, though, for a minute to Florida, I had a nice experience on my last weekend there when I drove down to see my grandparents in the Stuart, FL area for Memorial Day. It was great to see them and catch up for a bit as I hadn’t spent much time with them for a while. They showed me around the area including Hutchinson Island, a beautiful resort-type area along the Atlantic Ocean there. We were even able to enjoy our cookout on Memorial Day at one of their friend’s condos right on the ocean. It was a great time and I look forward to visiting them again soon.

Packing up for home wasn’t that hard this year because I had my car with me in Florida. I was able to load it up with all of my clothing and items I wanted home before it got picked up by the transport company. This allowed me to drastically reduce what I had to carry in my suitcase. Even if you opt to drive your car home (if you decide to bring one), you can still load it up and save yourself from having to find storage for those items in Daytona. Having an apartment helped too, as I left many things there that I didn’t need over the summer.

The airport in Daytona recently acquired two busses from the county which will be used to transport passengers in the event of an emergency evacuation out on the airfield, as well as for tours around the airport. This has been fun for me as I have been able to learn the systems of the busses as well as how to operate them should the need arise. Experiences like these are what really make my job great. I think it is crucial to attempt to learn as much as you can from everything possible—it really pays off in the future.

Finally, a few weeks before I came home, my friend Kyle and I flew up to Jacksonville International Airport for lunch. As I have mentioned before, I really like flying into this airport for many reasons. For one thing, I enjoy being in the vicinity of a lot of commercial traffic. Secondly, the facilities—including the FBO (Sheltair) are in immaculate condition. Thirdly, there is a huge selection of places to eat right near the airport which makes it very convenient. I look forward to visiting many more times next semester.

Well, that’s all I have for you this time, guys. Stay tuned for stories as my summer here in Connecticut begins!

Talk to you soon and take care!
Pete

June 1, 2011

Well, guys, I’m back! I had thought that my last entry would be my final entry, but the Admissions Department has asked me to continue writing for you all for the summer to tell you guys about what I am up to. I’m very happy to have the opportunity to continue sharing my experiences with you for a few more months.

For any new readers, welcome, and I hope that my experiences will help you in deciding which college and degree program suits your interests best. Please take a moment to review my previous journal entries from the Fall 2010 and Spring 2011 semesters as there may be information in those entries that will help you as well.

Since I wrote to you guys last, classes ended and the summer started! I ended the semester with a very high GPA and am happy that all my work throughout the semester paid off. Very shortly after classes ended, my friends went home to their respective states, so I was left here without much to do, or so I thought. Luckily, I found that many of my friends were actually staying to take some summer classes, so I really haven’t been all that bored to be honest.

Now, obviously, I am working full time and living in my apartment full time as well. It is pretty neat to have a place all to yourself as my roommate has gone home for the summer. It is actually pretty easy to maintain the apartment being here alone as I am a relatively clean person. I am really not at the apartment all that much anyways so this helps as well.

My time has been spent primarily working in the Operations Department at the Daytona Beach International Airport. It is a great opportunity for me because as many of you know, this is what I want to get into upon graduation from Embry-Riddle. Airport Operations is great because of all of the responsibility that is associated with the position. You are a representative of the airport management and it is your job to patrol the airport enforcing regulations and rules, coordinating emergency response or any other irregular things that may be going on at the airport, and ensuring everyone’s safety. I really have a blast with it. Contrary to what I thought initially, I have not found the summertime to be any less busy than the main school year in terms of flight traffic. This is good as it always translates to more excitement and things going on.

I have found ways to keep myself busy on the weekends and days off, as well. As you know if you read my journal before, I am obsessed with Disney World and go there often. This has only increased since I finished classes and I have been going at least once a week for the most part. It is really a blast and some of my friends still in the area love it just as much as I do so it has been a good way to pass time. Even some friends from home have come down to visit Disney World and I have met up with them there.

Some of my family that lives in southern Florida have also driven up to come and see me so I have had things to do during most of my free time. I went down to see them on Memorial Day. This is also my last weekend in Florida before I go home for the summer so I am busy for sure.

For those of you that don’t know, I am from Connecticut and work in Operations at an airport up there when I am home—Tweed New Haven Regional Airport. So, once I go home (actually this will be my last entry written from Florida), I will continue to provide you stories and insight from that airport and things I do up there.

I am definitely looking forward to going home as I haven’t been to Connecticut since January when I left to come back to Daytona for the spring semester. I have been able to see my family several times since then but I definitely miss my dog and am looking forward to seeing him.

In my next entry, I will tell you some of the stories and things that have happened at the airports during my shifts, but in the meantime, please read back to my older entries if you haven’t already. As always, I encourage you to email me at grecoj1@my.erau.edu with any questions you might have at all.

Talk to you guys soon!
Pete

April 25, 2011

Hey guys. How are you all doing? I am doing well here. I’m just finishing up the last week of classes. I can’t believe that a whole second year has gone by. Time truly flies. I am halfway through with college already and that is hard to believe. Unfortunately, that means that this is my final journal entry for you guys as well. Since I last wrote, again not all too much has been going on. My days are primarily filled with classes and work. As I have mentioned to you before, the end of the semester is a hectic time as all semester-long projects become due combined with the final exams and tests for each class. It is kind of stressful in the middle of it all, but then before you know it, it is summer and you have four months off from school. It’s great.

Other than classes and work, I have been spending some time moving into my apartment. Most of the furniture has come by now, and I should be sleeping there by the end of the week or early next week. It’s coming along quite nicely. With this comes moving out of the dorm room, too, which is a lot of work in and of itself. You’d be surprised how much stuff you accumulate throughout the year without even knowing it. Then, when you are moving out, you have to figure out what you’re going to do with it all. Last year, I got a storage unit for the things I didn’t want to send home, but this year I will just move what I need into the apartment and throw away the rest. Then, all that’s left is to clean the dorm, check out, and give back the keys. I remember from last year the somewhat strange feeling of seeing your room completely empty just before you walk out the door for the last time.

The weather is beautiful now, in the 80’s every day. People are getting out to the beach as much as they can and the atmosphere has been very upbeat. It is really nice to have warm weather starting in February instead of having to wait until May like I did at home. Everything seems better in the warm weather. The most exciting thing I did since I last wrote was this past Easter weekend when I brought my roommate down to my parent’s house in South Florida. My whole family was there for Easter weekend and we went down to spend it with them. It was really a great time. Two of our friends from school were also down there visiting their families so we all were able to meet up a few times. Friday night, we all went out for ice cream after dinner with my family. On Saturday, we went to the pool for most of the day and just enjoyed relaxing in the sun. That night, we went to Stuart, Florida to see my dad’s parents and his brother and his family, many of whom I hadn’t seen in several years. It was great to catch up with all of them and to learn what they were up to. It was amazing to see how much they’d grown since I last saw them.

On Sunday, we had Easter breakfast with my family and then my roommate and I went to meet with our friends from school. His family has a brand new boat and we went out on it for a few hours on the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean. It was a great time. The water was crystal clear in the Intracoastal, probably the clearest I’d ever seen it. The weather was perfect as well. We went out of the Boca Inlet and entered the Atlantic which was a little choppy but that made for some fun wave bouncing. At one point, we were all suspended in the air as the boat came back down to meet the water. We then drove up and down the Intracoastal a bit and looked at the massive houses on it. Finally, we returned to the Boca Raton Resort and Club, where they keep their boat, and got a famous frozen hot chocolate from the Serendipity restaurant inside the resort. Then, we went out to grab a late lunch at Stir Crazy Café, which had amazing stir fry. It was a great way to end the weekend.

After heading back home and saying goodbye to my family, my roommate and I headed back to Daytona for one more week of school. Well, guys, that is really all I have for you from the past two weeks. I want to take a moment and mention how much I enjoyed writing this for you every other week this year. I hope that my experiences and knowledge was able to help you in deciding where you wanted to go to school and what you want to do for a living. I sure have enjoyed interacting with many of you and even meeting a few of you at the Accepted Students Day reception. Even though I will not be writing any more regularly, please feel free to contact me anytime at grecoj1@my.erau.edu with any questions of if you should need anything at all.

I sure hope that you ended up deciding on Embry-Riddle for your college and I hope to see you around campus next year.

Thanks again and please take care.
Pete Greco

April 10, 2011

Hi everyone. How are you guys doing? Things are going pretty well with me. Busy, but good! We are getting down to the end of the semester now with only about 3 more weeks of classes. You may remember from reading my journal last semester that this is the time of the semester when all of the projects start becoming due, studying begins, and the final push for the end of the semester is in full swing. It can be a bit overwhelming at times, but with proper time management, it really isn’t too bad at all.

Since I wrote last, really not all that much has happened, actually. With my course work and working at the airport, I haven’t had too much time to do much of anything exciting, but I do have a few neat things to talk to you guys about.

First, though, I just wanted to mention for a second that it is, for a lot of my readers, pretty much right at the time that you will have decided which school to attend this fall. If you’re still reading this regularly, that choice was probably Embry-Riddle, and I commend you on a decision well made. I can honestly say that you will not regret it. As I mentioned in a previous entry, if you are local to the area or have the means to come down for a weekend, next weekend is the Accepted Students day and if you haven’t seen the campus before, I highly recommend coming to that. You will be able to meet future classmates, see the dorms, meet professors, get to know the campus, even get your Eagle Card and other things done before you arrive for class in August. I’ll be around, so if you are here and see me, please stop and say hi!

Anyways, like I was saying earlier, it is the projects time of the semester. Right now, I only really have two main ones to do, and one of them is nearly complete. Other than that, most of my finals are just regular course exams so I am not too concerned about that either. I have enjoyed the semester academically so far and am trying my best to end it with the best grades I can.

Aside from coursework and classes though, I have been working at Daytona Beach International Airport quite a bit. There is much going on there now as the main runway is in the process of being completely resurfaced. Last night, I worked an overnight shift escorting the construction workers and making sure things were done properly. The project was split into different phases which basically change the length of the runway so that one portion of it can be resurfaced while the other is being used for aircraft, and last night we had to change around the configuration to “phase 2” by closing more of the runway for construction work. This leaves only about 3600 feet of runway available on the usually 10,500 foot long runway 7L; good news to me because it means that all of the commercial airliners will have to land on the next longest runway, 16, which runs just outside my dorm windows. In any case, though, last night the runway markings and barricades had to be moved and painted, and some electrical work had to be done as well. Monday morning, the runway will open for use, even though only small aircraft will be able to use it. I have worked overnight shifts before at home, but I really think that no matter how many you work, your body is never really prepared for it. It really leaves you exhausted. But, at least I can catch up on some sleep today! Delta has continued flying in their Boeing 757’s to Daytona which has been a nice thing to see, and it looks as though they will keep a few on the schedule for the next two months.

My roommate and I move into our apartment tomorrow, although we actually won’t be living there immediately because our furniture won’t be delivered until later in the month. It is exciting though and we are looking forward to it. I have decided to stay here in Daytona an extra month before I go home for the summer, as well, to work at the airport and it will be nice to have the apartment all to myself for a while!

Other than that, the summer weather has reached Daytona and the temperatures look to be in the 80’s into the foreseeable future. Many Floridians are groaning at this thought, but I love it! I definitely would rather be warm than cold! A few weeks ago, we had some crazy storms with some of the hardest rain I’ve ever seen fall at once. I was working at the time and as you can see from the picture, I could barely see the jetway just a few feet in front of me. Crazy! Also, last week, I was filmed for a promotional video for Embry-Riddle by a professional camera crew. It was a really neat experience to be able to participate in. They came to the airport and filmed me doing some job duties there, and then interviewed me on campus afterwords. It was a little intimidating at first but I got used to it after a while and am looking forward to seeing the finished product!

Well, I think that’s really all I have for you guys this time! Sorry for not having more to talk about, but you can probably see how busy I have been recently! I have made it a priority to go to Disney World at least one more time before I go home, and if you know me you know that will probably happen!

Anyways, like usual, don’t hesitate to e-mail me any questions you might have and I hope to see you next weekend if you can make it.

It’s hard to believe my next entry will be my last one! Time sure flies. Talk to you then!

Pete

March 28, 2011

 Hi everyone. How is everything going? I am doing well myself. I just got back to Daytona Beach after Spring Break so I am feeling refreshed and ready to complete the semester. It is hard to believe that there are only about 20 days of classes left until the summer.

Since I last wrote, classes have been good and the workload has been manageable. Work at the airport has also been fun and I have been working hard there on designing a training program for employees that drive on the airport ramps and aprons. It should be a very good program when it is completed.

As I have mentioned before, the spring is a very busy time in Daytona Beach. Now that the majority of the racing events and Bike Week is behind us, college spring break has been filling the area, including the 5 daily Boeing 757’s that Delta Air Lines has been flying into Daytona Beach International Airport. Going down to the beach area, normally very quiet during the year, you can see college kids everywhere on break, just enjoying the sun. It makes things exciting. My friends and I have gone down to the OceanWalk area of the beach several times to eat dinner and see what was going on and it is always fun.

As I said earlier, our Spring Break just ended as well. Many students either go home or on vacations to other areas of Florida during this time. Many, though, take advantage of the area that the school is in and stay around to socialize with the thousands of other college kids doing the same thing. I, personally, have a tradition of vacationing with my family during this time, and that is what I did. We always have a great time and this trip was no exception.

Initially, I planned on starting the trip on the Friday prior to the start of Spring Break by heading down to my parent’s house in Boynton Beach. However, when I woke up on Thursday, I discovered that my two classes on Friday had been cancelled so I actually ended up leaving Thursday afternoon, adding a whole day to the vacation. When I got to the house, I saw it furnished for the first time and I have to say that it now finally looks like a house. We stayed there until Monday, just looking around the area, going to the beach and pool, and visiting with my grandparents.

That Monday, we drove to the Universal Orlando Resort in Orlando until Thursday. While I did attend Halloween Horror Nights here in October, I had actually not visited the park as a whole for many years, since the last time I vacationed there with my family. We stayed at one of our favorite hotels on the property, Loew’s Portofino Bay Hotel, which is themed around the Italian town. The best part of staying at a Universal hotel is that by showing your room key at the entrance to the attractions at the park, you can bypass the line and walk right onto the ride. It is a great perk. They also run water taxis back and forth from the resorts to the parks, which is very convenient.

We actually found the parks to be surprisingly empty. With the exception of the new “Wizarding World of Harry Potter” at Universal’s Islands of Adventure (which I will talk about in a second), the park’s attractions seldom had wait times greater than 20 minutes. Using my iPhone, I looked up the Disney World parks and saw wait times of over 60 minutes in some cases, definitely much busier than where we were. This made it a lot easier to get around though and it was actually nice.

At the Universal Studios Florida park, a brand new roller coaster opened called the Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket. It is very similar in theme (of course, not as detailed as a Disney ride would be) to the Rock ‘n Roller Coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park, but slightly more intense. The coaster begins with a 90 degree vertical ascent to the top, followed by a not much shallower descent down, combined with many twists, turns, and loops. During the ride, a song of your choice is blasted into your ears and the entire ride is recorded—some attempt at filming a music video. The videos come out really cool, but of course cost $50 dollars to purchase.

As I mentioned before, at the Islands of Adventure park, a new “island” based upon Hogwarts and Hogsmeade from the Harry Potter book series was constructed and let me tell you something. I consider myself a theme park expert having been to many in my lifetime but you do not know crowded until you have seen this place. Having just been constructed, it is still extremely popular, but you had to receive an entry time just to ENTER the section of the park, let alone ride any of the attractions there. What my family did one night is go to the park about 10 minutes before closing, and we were able to walk right into the area as well as the attraction there (which during the day has waits of up to 300 minutes). It was very well done for Universal, but being the Disney geek I am, I was quick to notice some of its deficiencies which took away from the fantastical effect. Nonetheless, it was great. The town has been masterfully recreated as has Hogwarts castle. Even the train at the platform is there with smoke coming out of its smokestack.

The lines, though, continued. There were lines of 90 minutes just to ENTER one of the stores in the area. Yes, you had to wait in line to spend money. Luckily, I am not a Harry Potter fan and I could have cared less to see what was in the stores. BUT, one line I did wait in was the line for “butterbeer,” apparently some type of drink featured in the book. It is essentially extra-sweet cream soda, with a butterscotch froth added to the top to make it look like beer. It is actually one of the best things I have ever tasted.

While many things had changed since the last time I was there, it was still a lot of fun. My favorites, like the Blues Brothers concert, Twister, Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls, and Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges are still there and operating.

On Thursday, we returned to Boynton Beach and relaxed a bit more before I drove back to Daytona Sunday. It was a great time and I enjoyed the much-needed break.

But, other than that, nothing else is new! I am back now to the grind and am looking forward to getting all of the remaining coursework done before a nice long summer off. I hope that you guys are doing well in school as well, and I hope that if you haven’t already, you are able to come and take a campus tour.

As usual, don’t hesitate to ask me any questions you might have!

Talk to you soon!

Pete