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."

Perks of Being a Flight Student

This past month, I had the chance to go on a long cross-country flight as part of my multi-engine add-on course. It is my last required flight course that I need in order to graduate and we fly our Diamonds (DA42) for this training. Me and my instructor decided to go up to Charleston, North Carolina on a calm Sunday.

The cockpit of a Diamond 42

The Diamonds are faster than our Cessnas so they allow us to cruise at much faster speeds. We could cover the distance of near 300 miles in 2 hours so when we left around 4pm, we were able to enjoy some breathtaking sights during our cruise up north.

The actual flight path of our XC flight

It is always quite an experience when we get to go on these long cross-country flights. Often times, I am able to enjoy the view and have a friendly, yet professional chat with my instructor, getting to know them personally on these long journeys. We were enjoying cruising over the clouds, flying over cities like Jacksonville and Savannah. Before I realized how quickly we were cruising (about 200 knots groundspeed if you need a reference), we were starting our descent into the Charleston area.

Charleston is a cool airport as it borders an active C-17 military base as well as the Boeing factory where they build the B787 Dreamliners. As we made our landing and taxied to our ramp, I could see the line of C-17’s and B787’s parked on the other side of the airport. Me and my instructor quickly secured the aircraft, grabbed a crew car and headed to one of the most popular destinations for Charleston XC flights, Lewis Barbeque. It was perfect as my instructor and I were both getting hungry near dinner time, so we decided to fill ourselves up before heading back to Daytona.

Lewis BBQ in Charleston, NC

After some good BBQ chow down, we headed back to the airport for our return leg. It was now past sunset so the cruise back was gonna be in the dark. We started up the aircraft and cruised up to an altitude that was the highest I’ve ever been at. The Diamond aircraft performance allows us to cruise at higher altitudes than a Cessna so we decided to cruise at 10,000ft in order to clear the clouds and the turbulence.

Making our way down to the cloudy Daytona Beach area, my instructor and I parked the aircraft back at our ramp around 10pm and we were able to safely complete the flight. I went home and crashed right after as it was a long flight, but it will remain as one of the most memorable moments from my flight training here. I get to experience what life as a commercial pilot is going to be like whenever I go on one of these cross-country flights. I get to work with different co-pilots (my instructor in this case) whom I may not know personally, but we still do our best to maintain a safe and professional environment in and outside the cockpit. Of course, I can’t forget about the breathtaking views during the cruises and the delicious local food at our destinations.

Final Stretch

This is my first blog of 2021 and (hopefully) my last semester at ERAU. After another restful winter break, we are green light for spring 2021 semester in beautiful Floridian winter. I was asked to quarantine myself due to my recent international travel, so I’m writing this blog from my room, not being able to attend my first day of class in person. It still hasn’t hit me yet that this will be my last semester as a college student, but I’m already looking forward to May.

I got to spend a lot of time with my family and close family friends during my time back home. It was a frigid winter and I got to enjoy some heavy snowfalls. My country was trying to contain the spread of the virus, so many places were still on lockdown and I was forced to spend most of my time at home or with close family members.

I’ve written about traveling during a pandemic in my earlier blog, but once again, flying back to Florida for the spring semester has never been this easy. I enjoy having less passengers at the airport and on my flights, so I cannot complain about keeping my mask on for 14 hours straight when I can have the whole row to myself.

I had a lot of time to reflect on my past college experience and how far I’ve come not only as a person, but also as a pilot. Four years have gone by relatively quickly and there were many high and low moments to say the least. It is a daunting task to now start thinking about post-grad and planning for my future career, but I am happy to soon close out this chapter of my life.

For my spring semester, I am taking a flight course, two aviation classes for my major and three international courses for my minor. I am taking my last flight course here at Riddle which is for the multi-engine rating on our Diamonds. I will be taking my capstone (graduating senior project) class on airline operations, and the pilot interview technique class. I am taking three electives for international relations which will include US-Asia relations, globalization and Middle-East current affairs.

I’m excited for my last semester (even though the current plan is to have all my classes in person…) and hopefully I can be walking across the stage in May (if this pandemic can be contained). It surely is an interesting period to be a graduating senior when there is a global pandemic, but we have to keep pushing forward. Happy inauguration day!

Research Opportunities

This past summer, I had the privilege to work on an undergraduate research project with my faculty mentor. I was accepted to the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows (SURF) program offered by the undergraduate research department. I spent the spring 2020 semester (pre-covid) designing my research and a plan for data collection. I conducted my research on Women in Aviation and factors that impact minority female students enrolled in aviation higher degree.

2020 SURF Receipients

During the summer and into the spring semester, I was conducting interviews on zoom from a remote site (due to the pandemic). These participants identified themselves as a minority female and I was able to have meaningful conversations with them in order to explore their needs and wants in order to achieve success in a very homogenous industry. The entire process almost took up a year but this past month, I was able to present my research at the Global Virtual Conference on Diversity in Aviation, Aerospace and STEM, hosted by Ohio State University. The paper was later published on UAA (University Aviation Association) for the CARI (Collegiate Aviation Review International) journal. In addition to the publication, I will be presenting at the virtual Student Research Symposium (ERAU) this fall.

It was such a meaningful opportunity to be able to conduct my own research, present it in front of people and be able to publish a research paper. I have learned so much from the experience and all the time I spent working on this project was well worth it at the end.

I always knew that our university had great research programs, but as a pilot, all those opportunities felt distant from me as I assumed they were more for the engineering students. However, from my own research experience, I found out these research programs extended to aeronautics, business, homeland security and many more majors offered at our school. It was a refreshing experience to see the work of student researchers from a diverse pool of studies.

For anyone who is interested in conducting their own research (you can also do it in a group), I would highly recommend contacting our undergraduate research department to find out more about all the opportunities they have to offer. They will help you find anything from a good research topic, a mentor, a scholarship, to conference opportunities. The experience you will gain from conducting a research at a higher degree institution is something you will not obtain from your average classroom setting.

The Uncertain Future

25 Awesome In-Flight Photos Taken by Pilots from the Cockpit - 500px

Almost anyone I talk to about my future career, they often ask me these two questions. Why do you want to become a pilot / what made you choose this career? Which airline do you want to work for? In today’s blog, I will be sharing my answers to these two questions.

Why do you want to become a pilot?

I am currently studying to become an airline pilot so my specific program is called the restricted Airline Transport Pilot/ Certified Training Program (R-ATP/CTP). What this means is that once I graduate with all my hours and my Bachelor’s degree of aeronautical science, I have some options of working either as a commercial pilot, flight instructor or an airline pilot. Who knows what my future will look like especially with the pandemic situation, but my ultimate goal is to become an airline pilot.
When I was a child, I loved cars and animals. I had boxes full of toy cars and everyone around me knew that I was always surrounded by cars. As I entered middle school, my interest shifted towards airplanes and helicopters. I often drew sketches of military jets and helicopters and I also collected miniature airplane models. However, aside from these hobbies, I didn’t have a any close family member who was in the Air Force or the airlines that I grew up looking up to. My only exposure to flying in general was the experience I had traveling abroad with my family.

During high school, we had college representatives visit our school once a year to promote and guide students in their college application process. One day, a college rep was standing in the lobby of my school with a campus map of a university that was placed right next to a runway. At first, I thought that map was the coolest thing since the rep also had small plane models sitting on the table. Her name was Terra (who is the international recruiter for ERAU Daytona Beach) and that’s when my story with Embry-Riddle began. Long story short, I got accepted to Embry-Riddle and I started attending this university from 2017. After spending almost four years at Riddle now, I am still fully committed to the future career of flying.

My first flight in a small single-engine aircraft came a few days after my first day of class. The university really got us into these planes from day 1 and we have been building hours ever since. The view from my “classroom” is absolutely stunning every single day, as we coast along the shorelines of Florida in our Cessna 172s. Flying above the clouds really changes your perspective and you start to realize how small the world is. To be able to look out the small window of your two-seater airplane and see the roads you take every morning commuting, and the Target store around the corner of your neighborhood, it’s an eye-opening experience.

I wanted to travel since I was young and traveling has always been part of my life. Before I heard about Embry-Riddle, my desired major was political science and international affairs where I was going to choose the path of a diplomat and pursue my passion for history, foreign affairs and diplomacy. This option would also give me a chance to travel the world with the help of the government. Either way, I wanted to travel the world and experience different lifestyles across the glove. I just thought traveling by flying an airplane in cool uniforms would be a better option.

What airline do you want to work for?

Some of my peers at the university have everything planned out already. One wants to intern with company X, get hired by them and one day become a captain of an A321 flying from Los Angeles to Atlanta. One wants to become a cargo pilot working out of Anchorage for company X or Y.
Then there’s me. “I would gladly fly planes for any company who wants to hire me!”

I thought I had a plan set out, but I also realized that life is very good at altering your plan without notice. Take the pandemic for example, where thousands of already-flying pilots were furloughed and the aviation industry was substantially impacted. If I learned anything from these trying times, I decided to stay even more open minded because things can go out of plan really quickly. My friends are already looking into their dream airlines’ commuting distances, health care benefits, company culture, scheduling, etc. I do believe that being proactive and planning your future is important. However, I just want to focus on my study and enjoy what I have going on at the moment. I always thought it was better to be more spontaneous than having everything planned out.

It’s definitely a new lifestyle that the world had to adapt to with a pandemic and especially in the aviation side of it, people and companies are hurting. However, I don’t want to discourage the current and future pilots as we will recover from this over time. It would be a great time for us to look at alternative paths and plan B, C, D, etc. It’s important to do the research and explore other parts of flying as a career so you don’t find yourself stuck on a single path that you’ve been relying on for so long. Fly safe!

Climb up the Ladder (Virtually)

spring 2018 expo - Career Services | Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

On October 13, 2020, ERAU will be hosting its annual Career Fair where a number of companies show up to showcase their businesses and recruit students. Due to the special circumstances this year, the career fair will take place virtually this time. Career fair invites a number of airlines like Delta Air Lines, United, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Frontier, and Spirit. Boeing, Embraer, Gulfstream and Northrop Grumman are also invited for engineering and business students. There are also government jobs and non-aviation contractor companies that visit to recruit students. It is very similar to your average college fair except you have the exchanging of resumes and business cards instead of college brochures.

This will be my fourth career fair I will be attending at Riddle. To be frank, as a low-hour pilot, there is not much that applies to you unless you enter your junior / senior year because often times, we just don’t have the hours or the certificates we need in order to get recruited. However, it is always a great opportunity to look for internships and talk to company recruiters about your potential interest in them. This year’s fair will be little different as everything will be conducted online. We have to exchange our resumes online through a program called “Handshake” and these companies will be hosting online meeting sessions to answer questions and showcase their companies.

Career Services | Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Prescott, AZ

The university puts great emphasis on these career fairs so on the days we have the fair, our classes are cancelled. You can see many students attending the fair in professional attire in hopes of getting a chance to work at their dream company in the future. Our school is heavily specialized in pilot and engineering programs and as a result, the level of competition between similar major groups is intense. Before COVID, you could see people waiting in line for Boeing, or Delta Air Lines for hours, just to get a chance to talk to one of the recruiters. If you see the desk areas of these major companies, the pile of resumes reaches an impressive amount by the end of the day. I’m hoping that the shift to conduct this fair online will not only keep us safe and healthy, but it will reduce the somewhat “chaotic-and-competitive” atmosphere of our usual career fair.

I believe it is a fantastic opportunity that is given to us students and it really gets you to start thinking about the real world after graduation. I am grateful that the school hosts these events that get you to be ready for your career before you graduate. It makes you realize how competitive the real world is and prepares you with the right tools for you to succeed after you leave Riddle.

Everyone has their own goals and whatever the goal may be, it’s important that we don’t let laziness and insecurities of our own distract us from the opportunities that are given to us. Whoever works the extra hours and shakes more reps’ hands will increase his or her chance of landing a spot in that interview or the company’s job.

I hope everyone will have a chance to attend this event and find some success in reaching your end goal.

https://careerservices.erau.edu/opportunities/events/industrycareer-expo-information-student/

What Do We Fly?

Embry-Riddle Flight Training, Aircraft Fleet, and Observation Flight

This blog will cover the technical side of flying as I will go in depth about what we fly to train everyday here at Embry-Riddle. This will only apply to the Daytona Beach campus and some of the statistics may be out of date.
As a student pilot who is working to get his or her Private Pilot License and become Instrument Rated, they will most likely be flying the Cessna 172 Skyhawk. Some students working on the Commercial Pilot License and Certified Flight Instructor training will also be training in these planes but they will spend majority of their time in the Diamond DA42-VI. I will be going over these two planes and giving you an idea of what it’s like to fly in one of your college classes in the state of Florida.

Cessna 172 Skyhawk

Cessna 172 | Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Daytona Beach, FL

“Skyhawk 405 Echo-Romeo, wind 050 at 7, clear to land runway 7L, caution wake turbulence, departing runway a Boeing 737.”

There’s a chance you will hear this through your headsets if you are flying near Daytona Beach airport in one of these Cessnas. Currently possessing 51 of these Cessna 172s, ERAU operates state-of-the-art aviation programs in order to help students train with a high level of professionalism. To briefly go over some specs,

C172SP: G1000 Glass Cockpit / ADS-B / Single-Engine (Textron Lycoming)

Max Speed: 124 knots

Stall Speed (flaps down): 40 knots

Range: 515 miles

Endurance (Time): 4.2 hours

Fuel Capacity: 56 gallons

This airplane can take a beating which is why it is used for flight training by so many different flight schools. It is so stable the plane will refuse to stall, which is a maneuver we need to practice. A stall is simply when you yank back the yoke and the plane loses thrust to compensate the weight and drag which pulls the plane down. Your plane will then “drop” from the sky which is why we train to recover from such dangerous situations. The plane can also take some “hard” landings which is a common mistake for many beginner pilots.

ERAU takes pride in all their Cessna 172s being equipped with G1000 glass cockpit and ADS-B. G1000 is a flight instrument panel that gives the pilot all the information he or she needs in a presentable manner. It is the updated version of the traditional “six-pack” where all the manual gauges and indicators were used to fly.

Garmin G1000 vs. Avidyne Entegra Avionics | High Performance Aviation, LLC

One quick glance at the G1000 system can give the pilot all the information he or she needs which may include: Altitude, Airspeed, Heading, COM Frequency, Engine RPM/ instruments, Warning signs, Glide slope indicator, GPS Map, Terrain, Weather en route, etc. It is now more common for the airline pilots to be flying fly-by-wire airplanes with computer generated Heads Up Displays and glass cockpits.

The second one is ADS-B which is Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast. What it does is track all the aircraft that are equipped with ADS-B using satellites and ground controls which allows their locations to be displayed on the G1000 GPS map. It will tell you the other plane’s location, flight path, altitude and airspeed and this becomes very useful especially in practice areas where high traffic of student pilots fly in limited airspace. Only down side is that not all planes are equipped with this expensive gadget so it is important for us as pilots to not rely solely on our instruments but rather looking outside.

Interesting perspective of what it’s like to fly in one of our planes out of Daytona Beach Airport by @AirForceProud95.

Diamond DA42-VI

Diamond DA42-VI | Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Daytona Beach, FL

Diamond 42 is our only multi-engine, complex aircraft which you can see by the two propellers spinning on each side of the cockpit. Complex aircraft means the landing gears can be retracted and it has a constant speed propeller… which simply means you can adjust your propellers in order to adjust the performance and fuel burn. These planes use jet fuel unlike the Cessnas so they are truly designed for commercial students who are about to graduate and head out to the airlines.

DA42-VI: G1000 Glass Cockpit / ADS-B / Multi-Engine (Austro Engine – Jet Fuel Piston)

Max Speed: 188 knots

Cruise Speed (economy): 152 knots

Service Ceiling: 18,000 feet

Range: 1273 miles

Fuel Capacity: 76.4 gallons

Currently operating 10 Diamonds at DB campus, these planes offer great training for commercial pilots who are working on long cross-country flights to Key West or North Carolina. They are packed with state-of-the-art gadgets as mentioned before and the complexity of these planes allow students to train on a high level of professionalism even before they get hired by the airlines.

Another wonderful perspective of flying a DA42-VI by @AirForceProud95

I hope you got to learn something about the planes we fly here at Embry-Riddle. It is truly a gift and a privilege to be able to fly and have access to these amazing gadgets and aircraft that are maintained for our flight training purposes. It is always easy to overlook how valuable this opportunity is when we fly everyday.

“They Shall Mount Up With Wings of Eagles, They Shall Run and Not Be Weary” Isaiah 40:31

How to Fly a B747

It’s been two weeks since the fall semester began and this semester is already so special in many different ways. Firstly, COVID has greatly changed the atmosphere of our campus as most classes are now taught online or in split format. Students are all wearing masks, cleaning their work stations and getting their daily wellness checks done. Secondly, it is the beginning of my senior year at Riddle and senioritis is slowly peeking around the corner to drain my motivation for school. However, there is one class that I want to share with you and I think it’s safe to say this is one of the coolest and the most favored class by aeronautical science students.

This class is one of the upper-level AS courses called EFMS (AS435). EFMS stands for Electronic Flight Management System and in simple terms, it’s learning about the programming and the operation of flight computers in a complex aircraft. Now for this class, that complex aircraft is a Boeing 747-400 which is a famous large passenger / cargo aircraft that many might recognize as the Queen of the Skies.

Boeing B747-400 – Artheau Aviation
Queen of the Skies

In this class, you will learn how to operate the Mode Control Panel (MCP), Control Display Unit (CDU), Air Data Computer (ADC) and the Flight Management Computer (FMC). Now you might be wondering, what the heck are all these acronyms. Well, don’t be intimidated by these letters because these computers are simply designed in a way that you can fly this giant airplane by pushing buttons and turning knobs. *Spoiler: Yes, this is how all the major airlines fly in the air when you are flying back home. Those pilots in the front are just pressing buttons.*

Now let me show you what these devices look like and what you can expect from a higher level AS course when you come to Riddle. It’s not a bad classroom environment to show off to your high school or hometown friends in different schools.

So many screens and buttons!

First thing you will notice is the classroom / “lab” is full of these little stations that surround the edges of the room. Each student is now responsible for each station (due to COVID restrictions) but before the pandemic, two students would share one station and take turns flying the airplane.

That brown device with orange buttons (left bottom) is the control display unit and I like to think of it as the keyboard of your airplane where you can push in all the letters and the numbers for your flight plan. Of course you have the joystick and the throttle lever (bottom right). That long device with buttons and knobs is called the mode control panel and that is what you use to fly this airplane.

Just plug in where you want to fly to!

This is by far one of the coolest classes I have taken and I would love to recommend this class to anyone who is in the AS program. You can fly a B747 without worrying about the passengers in the back or burning tons of money for jet fuel in real life. I hope everyone is staying safe and enjoying any cool classes or side projects you might have.

Back to Reality

The year 2020 felt like something you would see in a movie. The world has seen a handful of unfortunate events and circumstances unroll that will make this year go down in history. I left Florida back in April when the pandemic was starting to break out. I was fortunate enough to go back home and stay over the summer with my family in South Korea. I recently made my return to the US as I prepare myself for the fall semester. It’s time to get the gears turning but during my “jet-lag period”, I was able to reflect on a summer break that I will never forget.

Korea has somewhat flattened the curve in terms of COVID so during my stay, all businesses and services were open to the public with very little restrictions. Everyone was wearing masks and health precautions were in place. Most new cases were quickly identified and announced by the government to avoid contact with impacted places or people, so it felt strangely normal considering the gruesome situation of this pandemic.

Me and my family got to spend some quality time as we stayed home most of the time. We did some local traveling to places that were isolated in nature as we attempted to physically and socially distance ourselves from crowded places.

A small town near Ji-ri san (famous mountain range in south west Korea)
Gang-neung (Coastal city on the east coast of Korea)
Sok-cho (Another coastal city on the east coast) & Mt. Seorak (famous mountain range in the east coast of Korea)

I got to enjoy a ton of natural landscape and scenic views of Korea and it definitely helped with the isolation part of self-quarantine. Summer in Korea is very similar to that of Florida where the humidity and the 80-90 degrees weather makes it tough to do anything active outside. However, getting to enjoy a bit of a cool sea breeze and the shades of trees on the side of a mountain, it was nice to get some fresh air and a change of scenery.

On my way back to the states, I was able to enjoy the entire row of Delta’s A350-900 to myself as the flight was operating at its minimum capacity. All the seats were spread out and none of the middle seats were available for purchase. Everyone at the airport was wearing masks and it was definitely a strange travel experience.

The future of our semester is in the unknown and it is slightly intimidating as we prepare to open up to our full capacity. The university is doing the best they can to minimize the spread of the disease, but it’s hard to imagine this semester looking anything like our previous semesters here. Our best bet is to be cautious and aware of those around us and to do our best to practice active mask-wearing and social distancing inside and outside of classrooms. Here’s to the rest of 2020 and hopefully a healthy fall semester.

This little guy knows what’s up

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.