Eugene

About Eugene

Junior

Aeronautical Science

Minors: International Relations, Airline Operations
Hometown: Seoul, South Korea
Campus involvement: President- Travelers Executive Group, Alpha Omicron Alpha - Aeronautical Honor Society
Why I chose Embry-Riddle: "The past me would argue that the main reason why I chose Embry-Riddle is so that I can attend the Daytona 500 at the Speedway as an avid motor sport fan. However, as someone who wanted to pursue my passion for traveling the world, flying commercially was the next best thing to traveling for a living. As a prominent leader of the aviation industry, picking ERAU was a confident decision I got to make as an aspiring pilot."

I’d Rather be Flying

After having spent about two months back home since returning due to the situation with COVID-19, my body is starting to itch to return to the skies. I never fully understood those bumper stickers and license plate borders that said “I’d rather be flying right now” even as an avid aviator. Flying may be a hobby for some and a career for others but it’s a skill that only gets more refined the more you are in the air. There is a reason for airline pilots being evaluated and trained in simulators every 6-9 months because just like riding a bicycle, your skills get rusty.

I plan on returning to campus near August when the situation with COVID-19 and civil unrest have somewhat settled down, but the country is currently going through one of her toughest times. It breaks my heart to be on the other side of the globe as I see the world suffer in so many different ways. Sometimes I wish I could take off to the skies and briefly take a break from thinking about all the issues that are on the ground.

I have about 170 flight hours since I started my flight training and a good chunk of those hours were spent in the night or by myself without an instructor on board. When you get to fly to different locations in various conditions, you start to appreciate the beauty of flying even more. I would like to share some special moments of my flying career as an appreciation post in the absence of flying.

Discovery Flight

This was my “Discovery Flight” which was my first time getting to fly in a smaller, General-Aviation aircraft like the Cessna 172 we have at Riddle. After breaking through a thick layer of morning fog and low clouds, we broke out over a coated layer of what seems like a soft, cotton candy floor. The feeling of seeing the sunrise over the cloud layer is something you can’t describe with words.

Long Solo Cross Country

This was my long cross country flight for my commercial course. It was from Daytona Beach to Dothan, AL, Tallahassee, FL and back to Daytona. It was a whopping 6 hour round-trip in a single Cessna by myself. It was rough getting up early in the morning but once I got to the plane, my mind was as sharp as it ever could be since I was responsible for my life for the next 6 hours. It was a special experience getting to fly for so long without my instructor sitting next to me.

Bumpy Ride

This was one of the bumpiest flights in my flying career. There was a low pressure system around Southern Florida and my instructor and I were trying to get to Vero Beach for our last cross country flight together. It was in no way an attempt to dangerously beat the weather and we were well clear of the actual cold front coming up. However, we often ran into huge layers of clouds and thanks to our IFR flight plan, we were able to fly through them all. There were times when the bumps were so strong it would knock the pen off my kneepad.

Instrument Course

Instrument course is probably one of my favorite portions of flight training. You get to fly at night which means you get to enjoy beautiful sunsets like this one and enjoy the stars that will soon paint the sky above you once the sun actually sets. The air traffic becomes less congested and the controllers are more relaxed so it’s a more pleasant flying experience overall.

I have listed some special moments of my flying experience and these are unique to every pilot. The nature of our industry is always evolving and we are forced to work in environments that are constantly changing. I hope the world will soon heal from all the pain it is experiencing at the moment and that more planes and pilots can take off into the brighter future. Blue skies and tailwinds!

Leave your worries behind!!

Quarantine Blog

Greetings from my room in Seoul, South Korea. I have been isolated in my quarantined house as the government requires all individuals coming into Korea to be tested and quarantined for 14 days in light of the COVID-19 pandemic spreading around the world. It works out perfectly as I prepare for my final exams coming up near the end of April so I have been studying and catching up on my readings.

The past two weeks have definitely been an once-in-a-lifetime experience. Starting from my first flight out of Daytona Beach, it had a whopping total of 9 passengers on board and my second flight to Detroit had every middle seat empty. The check-in gate for my trans-pacific flight, we had gate agents conducting temperature checks before boarding. The majority of passengers had masks and gloves on and many of them had cautious looks on their faces as they carefully boarded the airplane.

McNamara Terminal in Detroit Airport
My flight from Detroit to Seoul Inchon on this A350-900

Upon landing in Inchon International Airport, I noticed the taxiways had multiple planes parked and stored along with dozens of gates closed for parked aircraft. The customs and security was more intense with members of the Korean army and their version of CDC dressed in full body hazmat suits. We had to wait in line to fill out a number of documents and answer questions from those agents.

Planes are parked everywhere

Day 2 upon my arrival, I was tested negative for the COVID-19 and my 14-days began. I couldn’t hug my family or go outside of my place and it can be very tempting especially when the spring weather outside is so pleasant. However, the government here is trying their very best to contain the second wave of COVID-19 and everyone is encouraged to practice social distancing and stay home.

I had to sit at a separate table while we had dinner at the airport (Better safe than sorry)

As an aspiring airline pilot, it hurts to see how heavily the global airline industry is hurting from the impact of COVID-19. After going through a firsthand experience of seeing empty seats on my flights and the deserted terminal buildings, it is difficult to see the daily news of more airlines cancelling their operations and losing money and pilots.

Many people in small, local businesses and medical / first responders are struggling more than ever. I can only imagine what some people are going through during these rough times. I hope everyone can stay safe and healthy. However, I think it is more crucial that we can all be a little bit more selfless and thoughtful by actively practicing social distancing and being more conservative with stocking up with supplies.

Now would be a great time to find a good book to read, a TV series to binge watch or a new hobby to pick up as you spend your days at home.

Checkride Season

What is a Checkride?

Here at Embry-Riddle, the flight portion of our degree for those majoring in Aeronautical Science requires us to complete the Private, Instrument, Commercial and Multi-Engine certificates / ratings. I have been working on my Commercial Single-Engine Certificate which will be added to my instrument rated private pilot certificate. Every rating or certificate you complete, you need to take a knowledge test and a practical test, known as the checkride. These checkrides can be completed with a check airmen (ERAU instructors) or a Designated Pilot Examiners (DPE) (FAA).

Commercial Pilot Checkride

If you are completing your commercial pilot training here at Riddle, you need to take the in-house checkride (oral and flight with ERAU check airmen) then you need to complete an oral and a flight with a DPE, known as the DE. By the time this post goes up, I will be waiting for my DE to get scheduled upon completing and passing my in-house checkride.

My In-house Checkride

My checkride was fairly straight forward. The oral portion went by rather quickly, just like every other oral checkride here at Riddle. I had about 3 observers who were also students on the commercial track, who wanted to observe my checkride before they have to go on their own. We are sometimes asked to take observers on our orals and flights to encourage backseat learning. After about 2 hours of intense briefing and questions being tossed around, I had passed my oral portion of the in-house checkride.

Couple of days later, I was put on schedule for the flight portion. It was a 2 hour and 20 minute flight on a hot, spring day here in Florida. Despite all the thermal bumps in the air and the extreme afternoon heat in our small cockpit, the flight went smoothly. The check airmen asked me to perform the required maneuvers, perform my landings in a small non-controlled airport near Melbourne and demonstrate my abilities to safely operate and conduct this flight. He was very helpful in guiding me in times when I was stuck on a question or occupied with maneuvering my way through other traffic.

Riddle provides these cool pins for every rating / certificate you earn!
Here’s a pretty neat visual on what my checkride looked like from the sky! (N430ER)

Checkrides in the Future

Now as I study and prepare for my “real” checkride, a DE with the Designated Pilot Examiner, I am heading back into self-quarantine surrounding myself with books, documents, study guides and other references to prepare myself.

For those who are hoping to become airline pilots in the future, you will start to hear a lot about checkrides starting with your very first Private Pilot certificate. You will start to hate everything about checkrides because they are the most daunting part about flying if you are not a big fan of examinations. Good news and bad news, you will be well prepared for every one of your checkride despite what your nerves tell you. Bad news, the checkrides will never end until you decide to retire at the age of 65 because airline pilots go on their “checkrides” every 6 to 12 months (depending on your company).

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Safety, Sanity, Sanitary

Spring Break 2020

When most of us got out of class as we headed into our spring break, we didn’t expect what kind of change we were going to be dealing with during the break. The outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) spread rather rapidly, and our school extended our spring break. The admin concluded that our classes will be conducted online with all of our campus events cancelled. This caused a lot of travel and academic plans to be changed by our faculties and staff as well as the student body. As a flight student who is planning on staying to finish my rating, I noticed how empty and deserted our campus feels now that the majority of our students have made their way back home.

I realized that some students who are staying to finish their flight training or who couldn’t plan to travel back home might be stuck around here for some time. It can be difficult when all your friends are away and you are stuck at home or around campus because many places are closing down for safety reasons. I wanted to write a blurb about how to maintain your safety, sanity and sanitary as we prepare for the worst.

Safety

Daytona Beach just hosted their annual Bike Week 2020 which really marks the beginning of spring break season. Thousands of college students and visitors make their way to Daytona Beach to enjoy the beaches and the warm weather. That is more reason for the Riddle student body to be cautious as they hang out around certain parts of the town. As we all know, the beachside with Seabreeze and A1A gets bombarded with tourists coming in and we all experience increased traffic on ISB and Beville. We have to be careful of motor accidents and other incidents that could take place with increased population from out of state.

Sanity

It is hard to keep yourself busy and on track when you are sitting on your couch back home. It can be especially more difficult if you are still in Daytona Beach. I have been trying my best at keeping myself busy and active with the resources I have.

I have been traveling around locally as my days are mostly free of classes now. I took advantage of some of Florida’s best natural perks by kayaking and going on walks by the beach and the state park. If you have your own car or one of your friends does, you can also explore by leaving Daytona Beach and going to places like Orlando or St. Augustine. You really have to actively try to stay fit and mentally awake as the temptation of procrastination grows larger everyday.

Sanitary

Lastly, let us practice common sense and take care of ourselves by washing our hands and avoiding interactions with a large group of people. The time we are going through is absolutely crazy and it may seem like the end of the world but with simple practices, we can prevent and solve the issue at hand. Especially the flight students who are here to fly, we have been using Lysol wipes and hand sanitizer before, during and after our flights. It should become a habit as we try our best to disinfect our aircraft.

It is a tragedy and an unfortunate turn of event but we have to make the most out of the situation that was given to us and move forward. To those who are still in town, keep your head up and always stay safe, sane and clean. Blue skies, tail winds and coronavirus-free!

Keep the spirits high!

Eyes Peeled for Open Doors

Embry-Riddle offers a wide variety of student organizations and clubs that students can take part in to develop their interpersonal relationships and find a way to de-stress from their rigorous academics. It can be overwhelming at first when deciding what organizations to join and I learned after 3 years at Riddle, that this process can be very long and exhausting.

For this blog, I will be talking about one particular event I had this past weekend with one of the student organizations I am part of on campus. I am a general board member of the Alpha Omicron Alpha (AOA) Aeronautical Honor Society. It is an organization built for students who are studying in the aeronautical science major. We work with the College of Aviation in assisting with various on-campus events along with our own unique social, fundraiser and educational events. Our organization is among the few pilot specific groups including the Tutor lab team, FLAP team and the Riddle Flight Team.

Group photo in front of the Airbus training center in Miami, Fla.

This past weekend, I was fortunate to go on an overnight trip to Miami, Fla with about 30 AOA students to an Airbus training center. We were greeted at the center where professional airline pilots come in for initial, currency and type rating trainings in their state-of-the-art simulators. We were able to sit down for an informational presentation about the Airbus company followed by a tour of their simulators. These simulators included sections for the emergency slide practice, cabin crew door modules, and full-motion simulators for the A320, A330, A340, A350 types. We were able to see these simulators up close and allowed to briefly jump in these modules for some hands-on experience.

The entire group was thoroughly briefed and presented the Airbus’ philosophy and their safety culture. It was a meaningful experience as most students in the organization are working towards becoming airline pilots, who will be completing the same training in these simulators in the near future. Our presenter and the guide was a Riddle alumni who was now the Director of Safety in the Americas for Airbus and he opened up so many doors for us and gave us an idea of what it’s like to choose this career path.

It is very important to choose the right number of organizations where you know you can handle the workload as you try to manage your academics, personal life and flight training (if it applies to you). It is also important to find a healthy balance between groups that you are passionate about and groups that look good on your resume or for your future career path. You need to give yourself plenty of opportunities where you can take advantage of your organization’s resources and network in order to open doors for yourself and your peers. It is important to know that we have all the resources and the power to shape our own college experience which can drastically shape our career path.

Who doesn’t like cool, free merch?!

New Year, New Member

Greetings everyone, my name is Eugene and I’m the newest member to join My Life @ Riddle blogger team. I’m a junior majoring in Aeronautical Science with minors in international relations and airline operations. I’m currently an instrument rated private pilot working on my commercial pilot license.

I’m from Seoul, South Korea. It’s a country in East Asia next to Japan and China, and I’m proud to call it home. We are famous for K-Pop and Samsung, and it takes about 14 hours to fly there from the east coast.

Seoul

In my spare time, I like to stay active, so I enjoy running, kayaking or going to the beach on a nice, sunny day. I enjoy reading which seems to be a fading hobby. I keep myself busy by picking up new projects and hobbies, and I try my best to keep my mind off school work and flying when I need to de-stress.

I always wanted to study international relations and foreign affairs by majoring in a political science degree. My goal was to work in the field of diplomacy and possibly end up with a career in the embassy. Fast forward to my junior year of high school, I was introduced to Riddle when a university representative from the school came to talk to us about college application. It was the only school I applied to that had a pilot training program. Fast forward few more years, I’m now a year away from graduating while studying international relations that is offered as a minor.

My short-term career goal is to become a flight instructor here at Embry-Riddle upon graduation. I’ll get a chance to teach and help eager student pilots earn their way towards getting their certificates and ratings. My long-term career goal is to work my way into the regional airlines and start building my airline career to end up with in a major airline in the long run.

I used to write personal blogs about traveling and flying in my freshman year of university, so I’m very excited to join the team to share about my flying experience here at Embry-Riddle as well as my traveling / college stories!

Inside the cockpit of a Delta Air Line’s A350-900 on my way back to Inchon, Korea from Atlanta, GA