Alex

About Alex

Junior

Aeronautical Science

Minor: Applied Meteorology
Career Goals: To become a pilot for a major airline, hopefully one day Southwest Airlines.
Why I chose Embry-Riddle: I was born in the United Kingdom and moved to the United States when I was six, traveling between the countries I became a frequent flier. Ever since walking into that cockpit when I was 5, I always dreamed about becoming an airline pilot. One day, I searched online for the best school to become a pilot. Result: Embry-Riddle.

April 25, 2011

Well, this year is coming to a close. It is really depressing in some ways but happy in others. To know that my first year as a college student is over and moving out of my first dorm with my first roommate ever is sad. This will be one of the weirdest summers till this day. While I was in high school, summer meant beaches and spending time with friends who I had seen just a couple weeks ago. Now it is completely different. The friends that I’ve made over the past 9 months are going to spread all over the country and the world. Knowing that we will see each other in 3 months makes us all feel better, but these people are friends that I will be friends with for the rest of my life. You will learn that once you come here. Friends that you make in high school and when you were younger are completely different than those who you meet here in college. There’s a different bond that is acquired between college friends, one that you don’t want to break.

This past weekend was Easter and you will realize that in college, you sort of forget about holidays. Easter was no different than typical weekend here. All that was different was seeing the Easter decorations and candy in Walmart and Target. I hope you all had a great Easter, if you celebrate it.

In other news, classes are going great. I’ve had quizzes and tests during the past couple weeks and doing very well on them. I only have one real final exam in Physics but have a LaserGrade for my instrument class, which is basically a final test but contributes to 10% or your final grade. If you don’t get above an 80% on it, you lose that 10%, thus it’s extremely important to study as hard as you can. Other than that, most classes are wrapping up and teachers are just summarizing the course, telling us how they enjoyed the year and to have a great summer. I will be seeing a couple of my teachers next fall because I have them for other classes. I have my Flight Physiology teacher, Professor Moren, for Aircraft Engine-Turbine, and my Science-Fiction Monsters and Villains teacher, Professor Porter, for my upper level humanity, Studies in Film.

Flying is going well. I might not be able to finish my private due to the fact that I am low on money. We shall see how it goes but I’m hoping to finish it. I got a new instructor who is very nice but I definitely miss my old instructor, Lindsey, who is getting trained for the airline, ExpressJet.

That pretty much wraps up this semester. It has been so great getting to know you prospective students and actually meeting some of you, those that came down for the Sneak Preview. I hope to be involved next fall in reaching out to more prospective students, in either journals or some other way of outreach. I hope you enjoyed reading about my first year experience here at Riddle and know you definitely will enjoy yours, once you get here. During the summer if you have any questions, please feel free to email me personally and keep up-to-date on my Youtube Channel. I will be posting videos during these last few days here at Embry-Riddle and might even post during the summer.

April 10, 2011

It’s been another couple of great weeks. The end of the semester is getting closer and closer and we have about 15 days of classes left, and that means we have more and more tests and reviews. I finished my Physics Laboratory, I had to take a final test that was based on all of our labs and we were given data and used certain formulas to get what the answer would be.

Flying is going great and I am only a couple flights away and an oral or two away from my check ride and getting my private pilot license. I can seriously almost taste it. My flight instructor will be leaving within the next week or two to work for ExpressJet. I am so happy for her and was so glad I had her as my instructor for the time I did, and she definitely taught me a lot. I recently had my first night cross-country. I flew to the usual place that people fly on their night flight, KISM or Kissimmee, FL. The route from Daytona takes you right by Disney World and you get to see both Disney and Universal lit up at night and if you’re lucky, you get to see the Fireworks. It was a great flight and due to the Class B airspace, which just means it’s very condensed, busy, and fast moving aircraft, they have to vector or direct you through the airspace. They put us right over Disney and it was a definitely an amazing sight and was one of my favorite flights so far.

I know I’ve talked about it but I love being in driving distance of Orlando. A couple friends and I drove over to Downtown Disney, grabbed dinner, and hopped a ride over to the Disney Resorts, watched the fireworks from the Polynesian Resort and rode the monorail for a bit. It’s awesome to think that people come from all over the world to a place we go just for the night; definitely a thing that should be on your to-do list when you come down. Also coming up is the Accepted Student event here at the Daytona campus. I’m looking forward to meeting all of you prospective students and if you spot me, feel free to run up and say HI! It will be a great feeling knowing that I was your spot a year ago.

Also we recently registered for classes and, since I came in as a sophomore, I got to register a couple days earlier than my friends. I got all my classes that I wanted and will be flying multi-engine this coming fall instead of going on the single engine route. It costs more but I feel that it should be worth it because I get approximately 30 more hours of multi-engine time instead of those who take the single-engine route who receive about 15-20 hours.

In Flight Physiology, we had a guest speaker, Bob Cabana, who is the director of the Kennedy Space Center and a former pilot and astronaut. It was great to hear about his journey and how he got where he is today. He’s done four space shuttle missions and was a naval flight officer for the Marine Corps. He gave us advice and what to do and what not to do in our careers and it really helped put a perspective on things and how our lives should turn out.

Other than that nothing much is going on outside of school. Mainly my life surrounds finishing up my private course and studying for classes and getting homework done. That’s also why there has been a lack of videos on my youtube page, but will hopefully be updating soon. So stay tuned. If you aren’t a part of the 2015 facebook group, I highly recommend it because you’ll get to see names and talk to people you might be sharing a dorm with so get to know people. And I hope you’ve registered for Sneak Preview. Makes you feel a part of the Riddle community already. Till next time!

March 28, 2011

Welcome back everyone! Spring break is over and that means were on our last third of the semester. 25 days of classes left. It’s another thing you will love about being in college. In high school, you go on spring break and when you come back you still have like 2 months left. Here at Riddle we only have about a month. Just before spring break I did my local solo, which is different than my first solo where my instructor and I flew to an airport and she hopped out and I did a couple landings. This time I left Daytona by myself, took off and flew around in the local practice area. I did some stalls and slowflight and then came back to Daytona.

Great experience and very liberating to know I could it do it all by myself. Delta 757 flew right over me as I was coming in back to the airport, which was really awesome to see. Anyways, it was great to get home and to see friends and family. I flew out of Daytona, which tends to be easier sometimes plus I get to fly on a different variety of planes rather than Southwest’s common 737. I flew out on a Delta 757-200 and, just like Delta, we had a maintenance issue. Supposedly there was a fuel leak, so we were delayed approximately 35 minutes or so.

If you are like me, one thing that will love once you start travelling again after you’ve gained knowledge of aviation, is that you think about what the pilots are doing and what’s going on in the cockpit. I was right behind the wing and I saw that when we taxied on to the runway, which I knew because of construction it was shortened to 7,150 ft instead of 10,000ft, that the flaps were much lower than usual. I knew from learning to fly that he was performing a short-field takeoff, which is a takeoff where you want to get off the ground as soon as possible due to a shorter than usual runway. I am performing these in my course in my Cessna 172. It really is amazing how the same maneuver is performed in the different aircraft but the same idea is being used. The flaps are increased to provide more lift and take off at a quicker speed and, once you are lined up with the runway centerline, you hold the breaks and full power. Once engine instruments are in the green, you let go of the brakes and fly down the runway and rotate at a lower speed and pitch up a bit higher. Stopped in Atlanta for a bit and then flew back to Baltimore.

Wasn’t so great to go back to the cold but supposedly I brought the warmth with me. It got up to about 55-60 when I was home, but the day after I left they got a couple inches of snow, which is hard to believe. I arrived back in Daytona with sunshine and 85 degrees. The next morning, I had to go pick up friends from Orlando Intl. Their flight was due in at 11am but because of some pilot from University of North Dakota, which you will learn is kinda like our rival school, I guess, put too much fuel on board and they were over takeoff weight so they had to spend an hour or so to take some fuel out. So I spent an hour just sitting in my friend’s car at the cell phone waiting lot with the sunroof and all the windows down, listening to LiveATC through her speakers since I have it on my iPhone and she had an Aux cable and then watching those same planes take off and contact departure. It was very relaxing plus I got a nice tan. This week it is supposed to rain and thunderstorm, which I am very excited for, because although I love the Florida sun and heat, I love when a little change is thrown. Also this week, we will be picking dorms for those students who will be living on campus next year. I have happily gotten a low number for the lottery so I will most likely guaranteed a spot in Apollo, the newest dorm and right next to McKay and a great view of the airport. I also get to pick my suitemates so I have gotten together with 3 other friends who we decided to live with. Other than that it was a great spring break and looking forward to final exams and then it’s summer. If you haven’t already I highly suggest you sign up and come to the Accepted Students event here on campus on April 16. Go here to register.

March 13, 2011

I love March. So many events go on and it really is a great month, well for me at least it is. It means that it’s spring (even though it feels like it’s been spring here in Daytona for the past 2 months), my birthday was March 11 and now I only have one week left of classes until SPRING BREAK!
My birthday was really fun. I only got 5 hours of sleep because I was so excited, even though I had a cross country the following morning. In spite of losing sleep, I was though extremely awake, I mean who wouldn’t be excited to spend the first 3 hours of your birthday 6000 feet in the sky, flying over Florida?! If you find someone, let me know. My instructor and I flew to Melbourne, Florida, not Melbourne Australia. It was a great flight, even though I learned that Melbourne Tower are not the friendliest of people. My instructor and I talked about it on the way. She went on to say that our school is going to be talking to them because they have a reputation for being cruel to students, which isn’t a good thing, especially if they are on a solo flight. It causes the student to become stressed out even more and possibly upset, which can lead to more confusion and possibly even an accident.
Anyways, once back on the ground, I had classes as usual and spent the night driving around Daytona and had a pizza/movie night with friends. I was sad to say that Bike Week was the week of my birthday. I officially hate motorcycles more than when I came down here. If you do bring your car to school and are out during Bike Week, please make sure to “Look Twice, Save a Life” as they say. As we were driving around on my birthday, we saw a motorcyclist who got hit by a truck; hopefully he is ok.
Another event occurred this past week and that was the 8.9 earthquake in Japan that triggered a huge tsunami that devastated Japan. All of Japan is in my thoughts and the death toll is supposedly over 10,000 people. We also went to IKEA in Orlando, which was awesome, since I love IKEA and it was my friend Jim’s first time. Let’s just say he is now in love with the store.
Classes are going good and I seem to be enjoying some of them more than I originally thought I would. For my humanities class we actually have spent a bunch of time watching Dr. Who?, which if you don’t know is a television show in the UK. We watch and then spend the rest of the time talking about the episodes, themes, and other contributions to the series.
This coming week won’t be too difficult, although I have one test on Monday and a paper due on Friday. Many professors are being extremely nice and cancelling class on Friday because of the fact that many people are trying to get out of town early. I, however, don’t leave till the following Monday. I am flying back home to Maryland and I am very excited to see friends and family. I was planning on staying here and building up my hours because there is a great discount for people who do so but because of the huge snow storm at the beginning of the year, my mom was refunded her Miles for Delta so we got a pretty sweet discount to fly home. Plus, after spring break, we don’t have any huge breaks until the end of the semester, which, believe it or not, is about a month and a half away.By that time, I will become a junior and only have 2 years of school left until I graduate. Besides my flight that I told you about, I am scheduled to finish my private license by the 2nd week of April which is a little behind schedule because of weather and spring break but I only have about 7 flights left, including the check ride. I also received my shirt tail from my solo from my instructor. It was such a happy moment and I framed it and it is now hanging in our middle room, which you can see here. Many of you have added me on facebook and emailed me questions and I would like to thank you for your continuous support and would like to tell you that you should definitely stay tuned this week to my Youtube Channel http://www.youtube.com/user/thatriddleguy. Because I will be putting a lot of updates on the channel this week before I fly home. The rest of the dorm tours, which people have been waiting for, are also coming. Till next time-Over and out!

February 28, 2011

So the other day in Flight Physiology, my teacher takes out the attendance sign-off sheet. He notices that the first page is full and he told us that that means that we are halfway through the semester already. I couldn’t believe what he said. He was right though because I came to my room that night and found that we only had about 60 days left until final exams. Time does really fly around here, literally. The past week has been awesome. I had a friend come down and visit for a week and it was great to see each other and catch up. He met my friends and he seemed to really enjoy himself. Great weather meant that it was perfect time to spend a whole day outdoors. So our group organized a grill session outside McKay.

We all chipped in and grilled burgers, hot dogs, and then after we played soccer and volleyball. To make it even better we decided to head to the beach. I had to rub it in my friends’ faces. While they were up north dealing with snow and cold, we were sunbathing and relaxing at the beach. During the day, we totally forgot that it was only February!

The next day we decided to head to CityWalk, which is part of Universal Studios, for dinner. We ate at Margaritaville, one of my favorite places, and then headed over to Downtown Disney to look around, shop, and basically anything. That’s another thing you can throw in your friends’ faces. You will be driving distance away from Disney, Universal, SeaWorld, all those amazing places that people come from around the world to see. Also, this past week was the last launch of Discovery down in Cape Canaveral. I was in class until 3:30 and the launch was at 4:50. As soon as I got out of class we drove as fast but “as safe” as we could to make it. Sadly, traffic and elderly drivers led to us being about 10-15 miles away from the Launchpad. We pulled off the side of the road and took as many pictures as we could.

We could feel the ground shake and the deep roaring of the rocket. It was a surreal experience and so glad I was able to see it a bit closer than school. If you are in class during the launch, most teachers let you out to see it and some even take their classes up on the roof of the College of Aviation to see it. There only two more Shuttle launches April 19th and June 28th. Accepted Students Sneak Preview is April 16th so if you are able to come down, which I highly recommend, see if you are able to stay a couple extra days so you can see it. It is so much more amazing than watching it on a tv, even a high-definition 56 inch version.

This past weekend was Parent Weekend where, obviously, parents of students could come, visit, fly with their kids, and go to class with them. My mom made the drive down from North Carolina and it was great to see her. We spent our time just relaxing together and figuring some scheduling out for next semester and what I am doing during the summer, which I decided I might stay and complete my Instrument Rating because there is about a 15% discount.

A final subject is the Daytona 500. Although I didn’t go to the race, its presence was known. You could hear the race from anywhere on campus and could see the smoke from the tires burning raging from the track. I’m not a NASCAR fan but there was one benefit to the race and that was the fact that there were so many planes flying in and out of Daytona. The day of the race, there were so many planes landing that the airport decided to park the planes on the alternate runway. I’ve never seen so many private jets and charter 737s in my life. I also loved how Delta began flying 757s into Daytona because of the known increasing traffic around this spring break period. It’s always great to see a variety of planes taking off right in front of you as you prepare for taxi. This coming week I will begin flying my cross-countries, which are flights that are more than 50 nautical miles. So that means I will most likely fly to Gainesville or Melbourne for my first trip on Wednesday. Hope you dealing with cold weather up there, northerners. Over and out.

February 14, 2011

I’M RIDIN SOLO! That’s right, I finally solo’ed. On February 9, 2011, my instructor and I headed up to Flagler airport, which I frequently visit, so it was a bit easier to feel comfortable.

Once we had the airport in sight and contacted Tower, we entered the traffic pattern. We did 3 touch-n-go’s, which are when we land and then take off right afterwards (hence the term touch-n-go). Once we did a couple of those, just to confirm that I make good landings, we asked for a full stop landing and then taxied over to the ramp. She signed my flight certificate endorsing me to fly solo. She then went over and sat and I started up my might Cessna 172S and taxied over to the runway. I performed my before take-off “run-up” and my before take-off checklists. After my final items, and clearance from tower, I made my way on to the runway and added full power. Once I was moving, checked my instruments, “Engine instruments in the green”, checked my airspeed, “airspeed alive”, and at 55kts or about 64mph I called out “Vr, Rotate” and pulled back on the yoke and I took off. It was seriously one of the most amazing feelings I’ve had. Having being stuck on landings and failing to past my check ride, this was awesome. I was supposed to solo around December 10th or so, but it finally arrived. Once I reached about 100ft or so below traffic pattern altitude, I turned crosswind (perpendicular to the runway after takeoff). I then reached traffic pattern altitude and then turned downwind, flying parallel to the runway. I glanced out of my window and caught sight of my instructor on the ground. I cannot express how exhilarating this experience was and how liberating it is. You are so used to looking to your right and seeing another person there. To know that you are the only person in this aircraft at 1000ft is one of the best feelings in the world and probably since school started and I took off for the very first time on my discovery flight. I can look back and see how much progress I’ve made and although I’ve had my ups and downs, this experience tops it all.

If you’ve read my journals up to this point, you’ve definitely heard about my downs and how disappointed you feel sometimes, but in all honestly, those are in the past and I barely remember them. I highly encourage you to check out my video where I’ll show some footage and pictures of my solo and talk about it a bit more. (http://www.youtube.com/thatriddleguy) In other news, the Budweiser shootout is going on in Daytona and if you leave campus, well, be prepared. Traffic is a lot worse than usual and the streets are crowded with people trying to get to the track. There are people tailgating on the side of the roads where people who own property sell parking at the most random places – but whatever pays the bills.

Classes are going well and I’ve had a couple tests lately and done pretty well on them. I had my first test in Flight Physiology, which is a really an awesome course, and I received an 88%. Professor Moren graded the test within an hour and posted them online. I love when teachers do this; it is highly different then High School, where you would normally wait a week or two to get your grade.

Small note is that my friend is coming down on Tuesday morning to visit for a week and I am so excited for him to get down here. We met through mutual friends and chatted for a bit but then lately we started talking more and more and realized that we get along extremely well, so I invited him down for a week. Other than that, Embry-Riddle is still exceeding my expectations. Also, the Accepted Students event is April 16th and I highly encourage you to come because I came last year and it seriously was an awesome time to finally meet the people I will be having classes with and the people that I saw on Facebook but yet to meet in person. Here’s the link if you would like to register (http://www.erau.edu/db/admissions/form_preview.html) I’m going to go enjoy this 70’s and sunny weather! Over and out!

January 31, 2011

Well we have been back to ERAU for about 3 weeks now but it seems like we’ve been back for a couple months. Classes have continued to be great and flying has really improved. I have yet to solo due to my landings, which tend to be variable. I would have some good landings and some bad. In my most recent flight, however, I seemed to have really improved. Nearly all my landings were awesome! I will be going for my check-ride this Wednesday, hopefully, only if the weather holds up, which it hasn’t been since we have been back. I’ve flown only about 3 or 4 times since being back from break and should have flown at least 9. Supposedly, this is the worst time down here in Daytona Beach when it comes to weather.

We actually experienced our first tornado warning of 2011 the other day. Severe storms rolled across Central Florida and a tornado watch was issued for the county. A tornado warning was then issued for about an hour when a huge line of storms came right across the area. Supposedly, there was a reported funnel cloud about 5-10 minutes away from campus. The campus alarm, called Code Red, was turned on and called everyone who is signed up for the system, which I recommend all you do when you come to campus, and alerted them of the warning. Alarms throughout the campus rang and campus safety sprawled out making sure everyone seek shelter immediately. Of course we still had our blinds open, pointing our cameras out. Heavy rain followed the sky turning an eerie orange color. No damage was reported and – call me crazy – but I love bad weather like that. I love sunshine but every now and then I like a little dramatic change. Speaking of change, I am slightly frustrated with Mother Nature at the moment. As soon as I move to Florida, all the hurricanes disappear and hometown, up north in Maryland, gets hit with numerous winter storms and constant snow.

Anyways, the Rolex 24 race, which is a race where drivers have to endure 24 hours of racing, was this past weekend. Many of my friends said that they couldn’t sleep because of the constant revving of the engines. Thankfully, I was able to. As I mentioned, classes have been going great. My humanities class, I have to watch the pilot episode of LOST for homework, which I never thought I would have to do. The class is called HU145 (Science Fi Heroes and Modern Monsters) and we talk about, not surprisingly, Heroes, Monsters, and Villains.

Aviation Weather (WX301) is going pretty good and so is my Instrument class (AS221). I seem to be really enjoying Flight Physiology (AS357), which is a course required for Aeronautical Science majors, and you are required to be a sophomore to take it. I am a freshman but because of those AP classes I took in High School I am considered a sophomore, so again, I highly recommend taking those upper level college classes in high school if they are offered. In the class you learn about how our body changes and works when we fly. At the moment, we are learning about the anatomy, which you need to know before you learn about how the body changes during flight, so we are learning about the different systems in the body like the digestive and circulatory system. The class also provides an opportunity for you to experience the effects of hypoxia, which is the lack of oxygen in the body, when you go inside a room where instead of actually sucking the oxygen out of the air, they simply replace it with nitrogen, which makes up a majority of the atmosphere anyways.

Before I finish up, I would like to thank everyone who has watched, commented, and subscribed to my youtube channel. If you haven’t checked it out, it’s basically a channel where I answer questions, give tours of dorms/facilities, and do anything that you guys ask. I really enjoy getting feedback from all of you so head over and ask away! http://www.youtube.com/thatriddleguy

Over and out!

January 18, 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome board Riddle flight 2011, it’s going to be a great flight! Yes, we are back to Embry Riddle and that means winter break is over. It was an amazing break and, while disappointed that it was over, I was also excited to start new classes and see all my friends again.
During the break I worked back at my job at Giant for about a week or two right before Christmas and afterwards. My brother, his fiancé, and myself, went to her family’s house in Pennsylvania and it was so much fun. I had yet to meet a large side of her family so it was great to be introduced to them. Christmas afternoon, we headed back to our house and then to my mom’s side of the family. It was a great holiday and wish it lasted longer.
During the new year we practiced some of my future sister-in-laws traditions like putting money in our wallets and putting them out on the back porch and holding silver when the clock struck 12. Also we ran outside and smashed pots and pans together and yelled Happy New Year. I also yelled at the end “Don’t you just love your neighbors?!” It was very amusing, as you can imagine.

 A week before our return to Riddle, I noticed on the weather site that a storm would be moving across the country on Monday, our travel back to campus day. I began to freak out and started warning everyone, obviously via Facebook. The Friday before the storm, Delta had already cancelled my flight from BWI to ATL to DAB three days in advance of the storm, when they didn’t even know how sure Mother Nature would play. We got a refund after being on hold with them for 45 minutes and then rebooked with Southwest (my favorite airline). I stopped in BHM (Birmingham, AL) where there was snow on the ground! I left the north where there was nothing and went south and saw snow. It was pretty crazy. I was in BHM for about 4-5 hours and then I arrived in MCO instead of DAB, which meant I had to take a shuttle. Once back in DAB, my friend and I had to drive back to MCO to pick up another friend who missed his flight by 5 minutes. Basically, I didn’t get to bed till about 4 a.m.

The next day was our prep day where we were to buy books if we wanted and get organized for the new semester. My friend, Christina, got delayed due to another storm that hit the northeast and I had to pick up her in MCO that night and again didn’t get to bed till 3:30 a.m. I was supposed to fly the next morning too which made a lot of my friends say I shouldn’t go, but I wouldn’t want my friend to have to spend the night in the airport. Plus I know she would do the same for me.

Once I wake up to fly, I find out that it’s so cold out that the planes are frozen, so I got weathered, which enabled me to go back to sleep for a couple hours until my next class at 1:00. I’m taking HU145 (Science Fi Heroes and Modern Monsters), which seems like an interesting class and a bit better than other literature classes. My class at 215, Flight Physiology, was supposed to be after that class but got cancelled due to the teacher being out for surgery. After that I have Technical Physics 1 at 330, which should be an easy class for me since I took AP Physics in High School. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I don’t have class till 215, which is Aviation Weather, and at 345 I have Instrument Pilot Operations. Nonetheless, I am glad to be back and looking forward to a new semester and a new step towards graduation. I would also like to make a note that I am now making Youtube videos in order to show you around campus, show you the dorms, and answer any questions you guys might have. Please just leave your comments or questions in comment box on the site and subscribe to stay updated for the most recent content. Welcome Aboard!

December 14, 2010

The countdown is approaching the end. Classes finished on December 9th and final exams are scattered between then and December 16th which is the day students have to check out of the dorms. For me, I only have one exam, a business exam, on Monday at 7:15pm. It will be weird to have a test that late at night, but they schedule it like that so that students can have enough time, more than the normal class time.

Friday December 10th was dedicated a “Study Day” which is basically a day off where you can begin to review everything for exams. On that date as well I signed up for my FAA Written Private Exam, which is basically the exam you have to pass in order to get your private license. Before taking the exam, however, you take AS121 aka Private Pilot Operations, which is a class dedicated to teaching you the basics on flying and how to pass that exam. Throughout the course you are required to take Gleims, which are basically practice tests for the FAA Written. They are practically the same thing and at the end of the course you take a LaserGrade, which is the last practice test and combines all units and chooses 60 random questions, just like the written. You have to get an 80% to pass the final gleim, even though you only need a 70% on the written to pass. The teachers do this to basically make sure that you could pass the real thing, which is a good idea. Thank goodness, I passed. The tests are $130 which is the increased price after it got changed from $80 this past April.

I will be leaving school on Tuesday evening and I am extremely excited to get back home but I definitely will miss my friends and the whole environment. It will be weird not flying for a month but I might be trying to fly a little bit at my local airport. When I go home, I plan on working over the break, just enough to get a little bit of money but I want to be able to enjoy my break. If you are my friend on facebook, you will most likely see pictures of me dressed up as an elf. I work at a grocery store and the thought it would be funny if they brought in a Santa and had an employee dress up as an elf and take pictures of the kids with Santa and give out candy canes. Of course they chose me, one of the tallest elfs you would ever see. Alot of people said I reminded them of the movie Elf with Will Ferrell.

Here’s a picture of last year so you can have a laugh but it was definitely fun, a good way to get in the holiday spirit, which you don’t really have as much down here because it usually is warm, however, it has been some crazy weather here in Daytona Beach. Never did I expect it to get as cold as it has. This past week I preflighted the airplane when the temperature was 27 and the wind chill was about 20 or so. Even if you’re coming to Florida, bring gloves! Once you’re here for a while, your body adjusts to the heat. So even when it drops to about 60 degrees or so, it feels a lot colder.

I also have applied to be a Resident Advisor since the last journal, so hopefully I might be one of your RAs next year. If I don’t become a Resident Advisor, I will most likely move off campus to one of the local apartment complexes with a friend. I like living on campus, seeing how everything is so close, but I like having my own place, where there is more to customize. I can buy my own sofa, own bed, and own desk. Well I guess this basically wraps up our last journal of 2010. I cannot wait to start a whole new set of classes and I hope you all have happy holidays and a great new year! Ladies and gentlemen, we have just been cleared to land into Daytona Beach, local time is 1232 and temperature is 57 degrees. Please make sure one last time your seat belt is securely fastened. The flight attendants are currently passing around the cabin to make a final compliance check and pick up any remaining cups and glasses. Thank you.

November 29, 2010

Attention ladies and gentlemen, we are now beginning our descent to the end of the semester. We are now coming back from Thanksgiving break, where most of the campus, including myself, went home for the holiday. We had Wednesday before Thanksgiving off until the Friday, so I decided to leave Tuesday night and not come back until Sunday. So it was definitely a pretty decent sized break.

 I believe I said this in my past entry but I feel the need to reiterate the idea. After becoming a student pilot, you take commercial flying so much differently. You understand more things like the delays. When you’re approaching the hold-short line, you know the pilots are contacting ATC and going over their final items. I also met a fellow Riddle student, who sat next to me on the flight back. We talked about school for a bit and who we going home to see. I should take this time to give you a notice. When traveling home for holidays or breaks, you have a choice of flying out of MCO (Orlando Intl) or DAB (Daytona Beach). Those are the 2 closest main airports. I have flown home in both of those airports and they both have their pros and cons. Pros of MCO is that usually is cheaper because you have access to cheaper airlines, like Southwest and JetBlue.

Also, MCO has more routes so you can generally get home quicker. Cons of MCO is that if you don’t have a friend willing to drive, you will have to use the shuttle which is a bit costly, or the cost of parking, if you drive yourself. Some pros of DAB are that it is close and cheaper. Cons of DAB is that only 2 airlines fly out of the airport, Delta and US Airways, who only fly to their hubs, Atlanta and Charlotte, respectively, which means it will take longer to get home. Especially since Atlanta has bad weather and in either airport you could get delayed or have a large layover. So, overall, if you have someone to drive you, choose Orlando, if not, it would probably be better to fly out of DAB.

Once home, I got to visit my brother and his fiancé, who were a pleasure to see. I spent Thanksgiving at my aunt’s and cousin’s house. It was amazing to see everyone and to tell them about my experience. Great food, great friends and family, that’s why Thanksgiving is my 2nd favorite holiday, after Christmas of course. After living in Florida for several months, many people, including myself, adjust to the heat. I used to despise the heat, now it’s not bad at all. 80‘s in November and probably a little bit for December is nice, but disappointing because it doesn’t feel anywhere close to Christmas, which is sad. Flying home, the temperature went from 85 in Daytona to 45 in Annapolis. A huge difference, so I made sure to pack plenty of pants and sweatshirts.

During the holiday, I also reviewed the itinerary for the upcoming weeks at school. I realized that once we fly home, we only have 9 days of classes left, I have 1 exam, and then we fly right back home again. It’s a dream compared to high school, where you come back from Thanksgiving break and have about a month left, and then exams.

Overall, it was a great break and can’t wait to finish my classes, my 1 exam, and get back to Maryland. I will definitely miss my friends and the atmosphere of college but more on that next time. I believe that I have 1 more entry until the end of the semester. Until then, make sure your seatbelts are fastened, seats and tray tables in an upright and locked position. Thank you. 🙂