About Alan


Aeronautical Science

**Minors:** Business Administration and Air Traffic Control
**Hometown:** Greater New York City Area, NY
**Career Goals:** To fly airplanes and prepare myself for an airline career.
**Why I chose Embry-Riddle:** The amount of opportunities available to students and the quality of instruction provided.
**Activities:** Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity, Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society, Orientation Team, Student Alumni Association, Flight Professional Conduct Board, Airline Career Education Club, The Avion Newspaper

November 2009

This is the last week of classes for the Fall Semester and I’m hoping to get through it without getting too stressed out.

My parents came to visit me for my birthday and so did my cousins who live an hour south of here. I really had a great time with them and was really excited to show them our campus.

Prior to the break, I applied to become an Orientation Ambassador here at Embry-Riddle. I enjoy sharing experiences with people as you can already tell, in addition I love it here, so why not show it?

The application process was pretty straightforward, but following was a group interview which allowed many of us applicants to express our ability to work with one another. After-which was a individual interview with all of the board members of O-Team, as it’s called. Later that week, I received a phone call telling me that I had been accepted to be a part of the O-Team. It was really great to hear that, especially the day before thanksgiving break.

For thanksgiving break I visited family in Boca Raton and really had a nice time. We had a big dinner as usual, and I got to see friends and family that I haven’t seen in a while. I also got a chance to visit a few friends in the nearby Fort Lauderdale area.

I’m anticipating taking my private pilot check-ride at the end of this week. I feel very prepared for it, just that I need to practice all my maneuvers and study up on special topics such as hypoxia and aviation legislation.

With this busy week ahead of me and all my upcoming exams, I need to make this journal shorter than normal, but will recap more next week in-depth.

Over and Out.

November, 2009

Hello Everyone! With the Fall Semester nearing its end, I can say that I’ve had a very successful time here at Embry-Riddle so far.

I now have a new instructor for the remainder of the semester, as I mentioned in my last entry. He also came to this school with no licenses in hand and he finished his private pilot’s license after 110 hours of flight training. What I find so interesting is he has been in my shoes before and knows exactly how to help me.

I’ve so far only flown three times with him due to weather, however he has assured me that I’m doing very well and will only need one more flight (landings) to prove that I know this stuff. Having flown with multiple instructors, allows me an opportunity to learn new skills as all pilots fly/operate differently. If you don’t understand what I mean by that, once you begin flight training, you’ll understand it completely.

 Homecoming week was last week here at Embry-Riddle and consisted of many games, shows, and contests among the various student groups on campus. Finalizing homecoming week was a static display of aircraft on the flight line. I didn’t attend that display because I had some plans of my own for that weekend: The AOPA Summit.

AOPA, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, meets once a year to discuss issues pertaining to general aviation as a whole and to spark the interest of prospective pilots. Along with the summit they host a static display of aircraft. This event took place at the Tampa Bay Convention Center, with the aircraft display being at Peter O. Knight airport. A shuttle service was provided between the two locations. All sorts of planes were on display from WACOs to Mooneys to Extras. I really had a blast, and walked away with lots of free stuff, as usual with these kind of events. After we were finished at the summit, we got back in the car on our way back to Daytona (2.5 hours). Halfway of course is Orlando, which we made a stop in to go plane-spotting at Orlando Int’l (MCO). It really is a great place to see everything from big to small and from domestic to international flights.

In addition to planes here in Daytona, we have of course the Daytona International Speedway, which hosts many races and practices on behalf of NASCAR. A friend of mine gave me the inside scoop about the practices that were happening these last two weeks. I got to see all types of cars like Porsches, Corvettes, Mustangs, Lamborghinis, Ferraris…(etc.). It’s really an amazing sight getting up close to these cars. My friend even got a chance to ride in one of them on the track!

My final event for this journal was our trip to Walt Disney World. We went to Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park for the day and really had a great time. We rode the rides, took the back lot tour of Disney, and got a chance to buy Disney merchandise. All of which was fun until we realized how much money we had spent. Well that’s all for now.

Over and Out!

November 2009

It’s officially been two weeks since I returned from fall break! So far school’s been pretty much the same. I took three tests since I’ve been back. One in Private Pilot Operations (AS 121) which I got a 90% on. I’ve already taken Private Ground course when I was doing my flight training back at Caldwell, so that course is mostly a review for me. I took a test in Instrument Pilot Operations (AS 221), which was on reading IFR charts and approach plates, of which I got a 93%. I also took a test in Math (MA112), which required me to spend a little more time studying, due to my lack of understanding the course material. However, I felt that the test was fair-to-easy, so I’m hoping I did well on it. I also have an upcoming research project for Aeronautical Science Success on the Honors Program here at Embry-Riddle. So to tie it all together, it was just an average two weeks of college. However, a lot of events are coming up for Homecoming Week, which I’m excited for because it’s my freshman year. What I find interesting about it is that we don’t have a football team.

As far as flight is concerned, I flew twice (Oct 21st & 23rd) on the week that I returned to campus from Fall Break. Surprisingly after that, I did not have flight for ten days. This is because my flight instructor was moved from the morning shift to the evening shift and with my classes being in the evening, I was unable to receive a flight block with him. But finally, I was paired with an instructor who is more than familiar with my situation, as he himself came to ERAU with only flight hours and finished up his license in just about the same amount of hours as I. Having to transition to a new instructor so late in the game is a little odd I think, but I’ve been credited two flights and an oral, as a result. It seems that my new instructor and I get along great and think alike as well. I’m hoping all goes well from this point on, I know this private pilot’s license is just being dragged out beyond belief, but I’m keeping a positive outlook about it and am using it all as a learning experience.

My message to all you prospective students is to take a flight to two while back home at your local airport to see if you like flying and if you wish to pursue it. Then come to Embry-Riddle and learn how to fly correctly the first time around. There are flight schools out there that have very good programs, I myself went to a school with a very good program. However, ERAU likes to take what is required and bump it up a notch or two. In the long-run, you will be able to complete your training in less time, and be a much more precise and safer pilot in the end.

AlanOutside of school, I went to a Volvospeed Car Meet at IKEA of Orlando on November 1st with a friend of mine from here. At the meet were of course Volvos and also there were some VWs, Mercs, BMWs and even a Citroen. I had a lot of fun checking out the cars and I even won a raffle prize of leather conditioner/cleaner. Since the meet was held at an IKEA we all had lunch there and I also got to do some shopping for the dorm. Both IKEA and Bed, Bath & Beyond are the two stores I swear by and I highly recommend them both for almost all your college dorm needs.

Over and Out.

October 2009

Since I last wrote, I’ve made much advancement as far as my flight training is concerned. I am pushing the 100-hour mark, but nevertheless I believe that it is all for a good cause. Since my failed check-ride last August, I’ve been able to perfect many maneuvers. Some maneuvers themselves may have been to the Practical Test Standards (PTS), however I realized: why would you ever want to be ‘flirting’ with the tolerances? By perfecting all of my maneuvers and flight activities, I have a better chance at achieving my goal of Private Pilot. I am not saying I am a perfect pilot, because let me get that straight; nothing in this world is perfect. What I am saying is that I am currently a much better pilot than I was before I came here (ERAU).

The flight department, and most importantly my instructor, has been helping me a great deal along the way. I’m glad to see that all my studies and practices are finally paying off. There still is a lot more coursework ahead of me and I do not see this as an opportunity to close the book. Like others have said before me, “a good pilot is always learning.” With that in mind, it is always good to re-read many topics in your text to maintain knowledge and possibly re-learn topics you may have forgotten.

During my free time, I write articles for our school newspaper, The Avion. So far I’ve completed three assignments and am currently working on two for this week. Although I dread the thought of writing, I find that once I get going, it’s hard for me to stop. I do enjoy writing; it’s just the motivation part gets me once and a while. I know, how ironic, right?

One weekend, a bunch of friends, including myself, took a trip to St. Augustine, Florida. What a really great day it was too, perfect flying weather! We rented three aircraft and flew from KDAB to KSGJ. There got a ride into the town, where the spent the day sightseeing. While there, we visited the Castillo de San Marcos, the Old Slave Market and the statue of Juan Ponce de Leon, the discoverer of Florida. The trip itself was relatively inexpensive, due to the fact that we all split the aircraft bill. Driving of course would have been cheaper, but when you go to a flight school and have your pilot’s license, you tend to fly a whole lot more.

This month our school was one of the few to offer its students a fall break. I spent this time back up north with my family, and had a blast. It had been awhile since I’ve seen my parents and what NY actually looked like during fall. Fall itself is nice, until you actually have to rake up the leaves and clean away all the acorns. Glad I don’t have to worry about any of that down here in Florida.

After relocating to a new location and new place to sleep, you feel awkward approaching your old bedroom. Until of course, you fall asleep, then everything is back to normal. Not having to worry about going to school, I felt as though it was summer time again, only colder.

While back home I also got a chance to visit the neighborhood, as well as some friends, and even took a trip back to my high school and saw some of my former teachers. I then realized that I was glad to finally be in college. The freedom itself is most enjoyable, but at times can be your worst enemy if not used properly.

Well, off to my studies and, of course laundry, because those both just never seem to go away.

Over and Out.

September 2009

It has been a good first month here at Embry-Riddle. I have learned so much already and can’t wait to experience everything else this place has to offer.

During the beginning of the semester, every club/organization on campus gets together at what is called the “Activities Fair.” I learned about all the different clubs, sports and organizations on campus and, of course, the activities within them. A few of which I definitely liked were The Avion (our campus newspaper), First- Generation Students, Eagle Sport Aviation Club, Ultimate Frisbee Club, and Airport Management Club. Many fraternities and sororities were also a part of this event. Unfortunately, because of my class schedule, I cannot participate in every club I was interested in. Hopefully next semester I’ll have the time, but until then, two (Avion & First Gen) is enough for me.

Living on campus is definitely the best place to be freshmen year. You get to adapt to the college lifestyle and best of all, you’re in the most convenient location possible. All the amenities are available to you: Food, Internet, Movies, Laundry, Parking, Shopping, etc. In addition, classes are just a bike-ride or walk away. I prefer biking to class because it is the quickest way, however during a peak-time, when everyone is walking, it could be a little difficult.

I’m definitely lucky I was paired with some cool people for room assignments. Our room is kept clean and in some order for the most part. We’re all Aeronautical Science majors and get along really well. We help each other out with homework and study together on occasion. On the weekends, we try to all do something together; in addition, we each have our own groups of friends.

Flying here, in my opinion, is the most exciting thing to do on campus, hands down. However it is not all fun and games. It requires hours of study time and demands a lot from you. But in the end, when it’s all over, it is well worth it!

As the semester continues, the workload increases tremendously and the excuses start to become unacceptable. Excuses in general are not acceptable, but now they are inexcusable. I’ve learned you shouldn’t study for a test only two hours prior, and you shouldn’t wait 1 hour prior to class to complete a homework assignment. This isn’t because each assignment will take one hour, but you should allow time to completely understand the assignment, rather than just ‘winging’ it. Also you should factor in some “technical time”, such as scrambling to find a working printer, if needed. What may have been working in high school does not work in college, and, in the end, does not work in reality.

During my time here so far, I’ve experienced a night shuttle launch in Titusville, Florida with some of my friends. In fact an ERAU alumni was on board, headed towards the International Space Station (ISS). I’ve spent a weekend with my cousins in Satellite Beach, Florida, where I was given the opportunity to go tubing out on the Banana River, which was a lot of fun! Most recently I went to Universal Orlando City-Walk one night for dinner.

My plans for October include getting my Private Pilot License, taking a trip to Universal Halloween Horror Nights, and possibly taking a few scenic flights around the state.

That’s all for now!
Over and Out.

August 2009

I continued my flight training throughout the summer and planned to complete everything by early August. However, I ran into delays due to weather, illness and scheduling. Nevertheless, I completed everything in the Part 141 syllabus, literally two days prior to the move. I was rushing to finish up training in order to arrive at ERAU with my certificate. Because of this, I wasn’t able to fully grasp every topic to the fullest that was required. In the end, I was signed off to take my FAA check-ride, but failed it. As a result, I learned a valuable lesson; flying should be something you enjoy doing and should not be considered at any time a “crash course”. In addition, stress and emotion should be taken into account any time one goes flying. The ‘IM SAFE’ checklist is a good way to determine if you are fit for flight:

  • Illness – Am I too sick to fly today?
  • Medication – Are my medications approved by the FAA?
  • Stress – Am I too stressed out to go flying today?
  • Alcohol – Is my judgment impaired for any reason?
  • Fatigue – Am I too tired to go flying?
  • Eating – Is my body well-nourished for today’s flight?

We had packed the cars the night before, so on moving day I only had to pack final items, such as toiletries, alarm clocks, etc. During our travel to Daytona Beach, my family and I took the Auto-Train from Lorton, VA to Sanford, FL. This cut down on the driving and gave us all a more relaxed and more comfortable experience. We had driven to Florida one time prior and it was enjoyable, but I don’t plan to do it again for a long time. The Auto-Train provided us with breakfast, dinner, a reclinable chair each, a lounge car, movies and the most legroom you could ask for. It was the cheapest way to transport a car down south, aside from driving it. I think it’s the greatest option, because you’re constantly moving, getting served, and they don’t nickel and dime you for luggage like at the airport because you just shove everything in your car. Upon arrival in Sanford, Florida, we waited a half-hour for our cars to arrive at the lot, which is typical wait time. It took less than an hour to arrive in Daytona, and according to my mom, I drove right up to the place, like I had already been there before. Upon “de-car-ing” we were greeted by two upperclassmen ready to assist us with unloading our stuff. Which at the time seemed overwhelming, but as time progressed, I purchased more and more stuff for the room.

Orientation week was really great, we had so many shows and lots of activities to choose from. There were shows such as Survey Says, For Men Only, a Hypnotist, and a comedian to name a few. Activities were all across the board from BBQs, to pool parties, to “play fair.” It was really the most fun that I’ve had in a while. Unfortunately I was unable to make “play fair” because we took an unexpected tour of the beach. During which I drove off the path and got my car stuck in the sand. We waited an hour for beach patrol to come with the truck to pull us out. It was a lot of fun regardless, but I had definitely learned a lesson there.

During my first week of classes I learned a lot about how to manage my time. I learned when and where to do my homework. It was the same back home, but I definitely need to take it more seriously now that I’m in college. While in college, each student is provided with a course schedule/syllabus which describes what will be covered each class and what homework is due for the next. This helps a great deal, especially when your professor verbally assigns homework and you’re not sure if you wrote down the correct task. Emailing and getting to know your professors is the key to success in college. You’ll get a better experience because your professors will get to know your learning abilities or disabilities and will work with you should any issues arise. College isn’t like high school, you are the person who needs to make the initial step of explaining to your professor if you’re not understanding something.

Constantly you will hear people talking about time management. It becomes very important, when you realize mom and dad aren’t there to help you with the chores. Laundry, cleaning and eating well are now your responsibility. You have to make time yourself to go partying or hang out with friends. You won’t be asking your parents if it’s alright anymore, because you’re the boss now. You won’t fully realize it until maybe the third day on campus.

Daytona Beach is definitely a great college town. Nearby are Stetson University, Daytona State College, UCF Daytona Campus, Keiser University and Bethune-Cookman College. The town is split into two main parts; Speedway and Beachside. Speedway is all shopping centers and chain restaurants and of course the NASCAR speedway. Beachside is where the beach hotels, thrift shops and clubs are located. Both parts of town are busy, however the beach is definitely the place to go on the weekends.

I’m glad I’ve finally made it to college. I’m still wondering whether or not I want to continue with my Aeronautical Science Major. It all depends on how my first semester here goes. I’d also like to mention that everybody is different with managing their time, regardless you learn different skills to better manage your time in the University 101 course.

Over and Out.

August 2009

Every pilot, it seems, knows from the very beginning that he/she wants to pursue a career in aviation. I knew it the second I stepped foot into the cockpit of a FedEx Express Boeing 727 at Newark Airport. Even though I had no clue what I was looking at or what I was doing for that matter, it seemed just as cool then as it does now.

On almost every flight I’ve boarded since, I have received a tour of the cockpit, and have had the opportunity to sit in the captain’s chair. With each visit, I grew more and more interested in the aviation world. During my high school years, I spent hours researching aircraft, airports, playing MS Flight Simulator, reading the Airliners.net forums and looking up at the sky every time I heard a plane flying overhead.

I was an A- student in high school and I was a member of both the National Honor Society and the Italian Honor Society. Throughout high school I enrolled in as many dual enrollment courses as possible and took AP exams during my senior year. All of which turned into seventeen transfer credits to the University. I’ve basically wiped out a semester for a fraction of the cost. I definitely recommend it, because it’s a good eye-opener to college coursework, and because you can’t beat the prices.

Discovering the perfect college for me, was not a simple task. I had always known about ERAU but wondered what other schools that offered similar degree programs were like. So I went exploring locally in New York, followed by a trip to the mid-west and finally Florida. After discovering what these other schools had to offer I was able to make my final decision; to attend Embry-Riddle.

During the first semester of my senior year, I submitted my applications to ERAU, WMich, FIT, JU, Vaughn, & Dowling. I applied to six schools, which I grouped into three categories, First-Choice, Medium-Choice, and Fall-Back. Fortunately for me I got accepted to each one, which was great because at that point my options were unlimited. The first school to notify me that I gained acceptance was Embry-Riddle, just before the Christmas Break and it was possibly the best feeling ever. Everything was going my way!

The remainder of my senior year of high school, involved a program called “Senior Seminar.” A class where each student enrolls him/herself in an internship; I choose flight training to become a pilot. To receive my flight training I attended a local flight school at Essex County Airport (Caldwell). I enrolled in a Part 141 training program to ultimately receive a private pilots certificate. I started out learning the basics during ground school, which was one-on-one with my flight instructor. I preferred this method over large classes, because it offers the student a better understanding of the material. In addition, my school had a full video library available to its students for training purposes, to reinforce each lesson. I highly recommend these videos from Jeppesen and King Schools to better any pilot during flight training. Throughout the course I learned many operations, maneuvers, and gained a knowledge about the aviation world. Overall I was loving every minute of it!

My final thoughts before leaving to attend ERAU were career related. I wasn’t sure if becoming a pilot would provide me with the job environment I had hoped for. I was constantly reminded by fellow pilots to always have something to fall back on. Whether it be medicine, engineering, or law, the key thing to remember is that your career as a pilot relies on you maintaining the conditions set-forth by an FAA Medical Certificate. Many people in their forties discover health problems which can determine them physically unfit to pilot an aircraft. Another factor to consider would be the trends of the airline industry, with all the furloughs and lay-offs that have occurred. These two facts need to be taken into account when determining a major or minor course of study. The ‘what if’ factor definitely should be asked upon oneself before finalizing majors and minors, so I’ll be exploring those options over the next months here.

Over and Out.