About Alex


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.

November 14, 2010

Welcome back! We’re half way through November and that means that Thanksgiving break is upon us. We have classes the rest of this week and Monday and Tuesday of next week, and then break begins. Until last week, I had plans to stay and possibly fly and build flight hours but my brother and his fiancé gave me a Southwest Gift Card, allowing me to fly home, without spending much money.

Tomorrow, November 15, is also registration day for sophomores. Even though this is my first year at Riddle, I earned 28 college credits for taking AP exams in high school, enough for the university to view me as a sophomore, which is to my benefit, since I get to pick classes sooner, meaning my schedule might look a little better. Oh, the benefits of being in college and getting to pick your class times. I changed my flight block so that beginning in the Spring Semester I will fly Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, rather than Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. I really didn’t like having to wake up early on Saturday morning. One benefit I saw was that it was less busy, making it easier to taxi and just maneuver through the airspace.

Speaking of flying, I am coming up on my Pre-Solo. I have a flight or two this week, then, I have an oral where my instructor and I review a Pre-Solo Aeronautical Exam, making sure I understood everything. Then I have my Pre-Solo Check ride, which is where instead of flying with my instructor, I fly with a check pilot, who asks me to perform some maneuvers, like stalls, slow flight, steep turns, then asks me to do some traffic patterns to another airport, rather than Daytona Intl. If I pass, which I hope I do, I will be able to continue and solo the following module with my instructor. Basically what happens is that my instructor and I fly to an uncontrolled airport, meaning there is no control tower, we land, he hops out, and I fly a couple traffic patterns, then I come and pick him up, and we fly home. I am extremely excited and this is probably the one stepping stone, all pilots look forward to.

Also this couple weeks, many students and staff, including myself, got very upset to see the Discovery Shuttle launch get pushed back several times, until finally being delayed until I believe late this month. The push back was due to weather and mechanical difficulties, but we still were disappointed. The campus gets extremely excited when an event like this goes on while we are here. The university had planned on setting up a broadcast of the launch in one of the auditoriums and broadcasting the audio for the launch over the radio. Professors told us how most of them would either drive down to the Canaveral and watch or even stay here on campus, watch the broadcast in the auditorium, and as soon as it got so high, run outside and stare up into the sky and see it for yourself. It was a laugh for all of us, but it was extremely cool to know that we could see it from our dorm windows.

Other classes are going well but, because of Thanksgiving Break approaching, teachers have decided to get everything done before then, which I would rather because that means fewer things I have to focus on and prepare during break. I still have several tests before the break, an essay due, a team presentation to prepare, and a lot more, but I would rather get it over with.

On a side note, today, November 14, is my Residential Advisor, Fiona’s, birthday. My whole wing is extremely lucky to have such an amazing RA as her. I am very thankful that we have such a close and awesome relationship with her. I hope you guys get such a great RA, because they are there to help you and by being a good resident, you make their lives easier, more fun, and allow you to stay on their good side. So Happy Birthday Fiona! Well, that’s pretty much it and I won’t talk to you guys until after break, so I hope you guys have a great Thanksgiving. Over

November 1, 2010

Trick or treat! We all know (mainly those who are from the US, Canada, UK, and Australia) what this holiday phrase means. It means it is Halloween time and it was my first Halloween experience here at Riddle and what fun it was. Being in McKay, the university has kids from the community come to the dorm and trick or treat because it’s an open dorm, unlike Doolittle, Adams, or Woods, where you need a key to get access. Friends from those other dorms came over to give out candy with us and we had a blast and so did the kids.

We had dry ice flowing over the floor, creepy music, and we were all dressed up. The event began at 5pm and ended at 7pm. The RAs helped with event by holding a Halloween Carnival in front the dorm with games and food. Our RA, Fiona, was the fortune teller for the kids in the study lounge and played the part very well. Over all it was an amazing weekend and a good break from school work, but sadly reality comes back, but fortunately, reality isn’t too bad.

Also this weekend was the Open House 2010. Adriana, a fellow student journalist, and I helped out by talking to you prospective students who attended. It really did put a smile on my face when I saw the high schoolers because that was me last year. Although I didn’t attend the Open House, I did attend the Accepted Students event which is usually sometime in the spring. Side note, I encourage you to join the Class of 2015 Group on Facebook, where you can ask us questions, meet fellow students, and even look at pictures that we take because we can’t fit all of them here.

Flying has been amazing. The past week I had a flight mainly focusing on approach and landings. If you are completely new to flying, like I was, you learn that landing is the hardest part, and supposedly, you can judge a pilot on how he lands the plane. After the flight, my Instructor and I felt that it would be better if I had to repeat that lesson, which I was a little disappointed about but I realized that it’s okay and that it’s better to get that extra practice. So the next flight block we completed an oral on flight emergencies and systems, like the Hydraulic system that controls the brakes, the fuel system, the engine, and the propeller. There are many more systems that are to be discussed, which we will do in the near future. I may note that with my flying, I take a ground class called “Private Pilot Operations” which basically is a class to reinforce concepts you need to know to fly. Although the classes are in the same steps or flow, it’s a great benefit to have two sources of learning the material. In the class, we had already discussed the systems, so when my instructor went over them, I had previous knowledge, and so he didn’t have to spend as much time as originally planned. Then on the third flight block, we repeated the one lesson on approaches and landings. We went up to Flagler, which is one of the airports in the practice areas around Daytona. It went so much better than the first time. There are mainly three parts to the landing, after completing the traffic pattern entry and lining up with the runway. Once you begin your final decent and are aligned with the runway, you use your final notch of flaps, which help you steepen your descent without increasing airspeed. You descend and descend, then once you use believe you are at the point, you begin your flare where you become level and “float” over the runway. Your airspeed then decreases and then you begin descending again and then you continue your flare and pull up so that you your nose gradually points up, which causes your main landing gears to touch first. Then once they touchdown, you can slowly lower the nose and touch it down. At the airport, we didn’t want to do a full stop landing, so we perform a touch-and-go, which means you take-off as soon as you land. So once your nose gear touches and you slow down enough, you can go full throttle and decrease flaps to 20 degrees. Once you are at the rotate speed, or 55 KIAS, you pull up. Once above obstacles, you can eliminate the flaps. We took off and because we wanted to practice again and again, we turn once we enter the traffic pattern altitude and contact tower requesting another touch-and-go. So it consists of a lot of actions, within a small period of time. This contributes to making it one of the hardest parts of flying.

So it’s back to school for me and no big events, like Halloween are coming up but fun things seem to always happen here. I hope you all had a great Halloween. Over and out.

October 17, 2010

It had arrived, the most exciting weekend event so far in my books. That is the Wings & Waves Air Show, here in Daytona Beach. It has been five years since Daytona has seen a huge air show to this extravagance. The whole city was talking about it and the university was very prepared, especially since Embry-Riddle was a major sponsor of the event. Several days before the air show, the planes and jets began arriving. The first group to arrive was the F-16s.

It was amazing! They made several loops around campus while they were approaching Daytona Airport. I live in Mckay and all I can say is that they were low enough that the windows were rattling and I ran from my desk, flew out the door and stared up in the sky, watching. Once they finished one loop, I looked around to see, practically the whole dorm, running out, staring up, amazed. It was one of the funniest sights. You know you go to Riddle when nearly everyone runs out from their dorms or classes (that’s if the teacher lets you), and stares up. After the F-16s landed, things calmed down.

The Canadian Snowbirds arrived late that night. One of the best sights the following day was when I was flying. My instructor and I were coming from a southern practice area and we listen to ATIS, which is a broadcast of the weather at the airport, then Approach, which are controllers who handle people that are approaching the airport. We then hear one of the controllers clear a plane for some sort of vertical takeoff. We look at each other and then stare out the window. Over on the left we see a plane takeoff, then shoot straight up, completely vertical, and accelerate into the sky, it was breathtaking. I landed the airplane, taxied to the Riddle ramp, shut down, secured, and all the other necessary procedures. Once walking back to the dorm, I hear another noise. I drop my bag, run out to the lawn and see it, the F-22, two of them. I was in complete awe because they were so low yet going so fast. Then once they did their first loop, they came back around, for a second one. You could NOT hear them at all. They were going so slow and quiet. I thought they were going to stall and fall to the ground, but no. All the other aircraft arrived later that day, but the climax was the following day, the actual air show.

There were free shuttle buses that ran from campus to the beach every half-hour, starting a couple hours before the air show started, to an hour after it ended. I am so happy that Riddle provided transportation because traffic was literally chaos. A couple of my friends and I actually drove to the air show and took the shuttle back. Instead of taking the 10 minutes to the beach as usual, it took us nearly 30-45 minutes and that was using back roads. Once at the air show, we had the times of our lives. The beach was packed but there were surprisingly spots right around the center of the air show. There were a lot of performers, including the Snowbirds, F-22s, F-16s, P-51, Julie Clark, and many more. It was an amazing sight and I happily included some of the amazing pictures I captured during the event. Now before the show and even coming to Riddle, I wasn’t very good at recognizing military jets, unlike many of my friends. All I knew was that the F-22 was the same plane that flies in the Transformers movies as Starscream, a Decepticon. After the show, I feel like I am able to distinguish many more of the planes. It was amazing to see them perform. From going completely vertical, screaming by the beach, nearly breaking the sound barrier, it was astonishing. Overall it was an amazing experience. Only downside was being sunburned from being in the sun for nearly six hours. Thanks to my genes though, after I burn and turn into a red tomato, I become nice and tan. Later this week is fall break, from October 22 to October 25, basically just a long vacation but long enough for me to fly home and visit my friends and family.

October 3, 2010

Wow, it’s October and that means I’ve been at Embry-Riddle for more than a month now. It has been a great experience so far. A lot of events have been happening on campus. We’ve had an activities fair which was a lot of fun. All the clubs and organizations had a booth and you could easily walk up to them and get more information. We have such a variety and diverse selection of clubs on campus. From Up ‘til Dawn who raises money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to the skydiving club, it really is amazing the number of choices you have. We’ve also learned of the wild weather Florida goes through. We’ve had days of pure sunshine to our first washout day where it was completely cloudy all day and rained for the majority. We also had our first tornado warning which was huge amount of fun. Our group of friends got our CodeRed phone call warning us of the situation and since we lived in McKay, which is the best dorm, it is also the most open; we decided to run through the rain into Doolittle, which is basically the oldest yet sturdiest building on campus. Sacrifice for having to share your bathroom with seven other people. We also dealt with our first Tropical Storm. It was supposed to come right over us and dump a couple inches of rain but decided to sneak off to the east into the Ocean and gave us a couple sprinkles and some humidity.

When it comes to the weekends, they tend to be a semi-blur. If you bring your car, which freshman are allowed to do on campus, you can drive and spend the day in Orlando or drive down the coast, basically go anywhere. Sorry for our roommate and I because we don’t have a car. So when it comes to the weekend we have to entertain ourselves around campus, which isn’t too difficult but not as fun as Disney World or Universal Studios.

Classes this past month have been pretty easy to say the least. I lucked out this semester and get to sleep in on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays till 9:30 am and get up for flight on the other days varying between 7:00 and 9:00. It all depends on what activity I’m doing; flight activity can be a flight, an oral, or a simulator session. Speaking of flying, it has been an amazing experience. Now remember, I came to Embry Riddle with only my Discovery flight under my belt, so everything is brand new to me. I have been told by my teacher and my advisor and have seen it first-hand that every now and then you will have a bad flight. Things just don’t go right and you get out of the plane after completing your shutdown and secure checklist and just feel terrible. You just have to realize that it will happen and it’s ok. When mine happened, my flight instructor was showing me a maneuver and I tried it and it wasn’t too good. I tried again and nothing improved. You aren’t going to be a marvelous pilot over night. You’re going to have your ups and your downs, some more than others, but overall you will love the experience.

We actually just completed doing our stall maneuvers. A stall is a technical definition of when the airplane exceeds it’s critical angle of attack and doesn’t generate enough lift. In layman’s terms, the airplane is pitched up high enough and is going a certain speed that the plane begins to fall. So my flight instructor and I are performing the 2 types of stalls; power-off and power-on, which just configure the airplane into different settings. We had the airplane pitched up that you could only see sky and waited and waited until that speed showed up on the airspeed indicator. Then all of a sudden we hear the stall warning horns go off and then we pitch down and fall slightly. Then we go full throttle and recover from the stall. It is nerve wracking at first but it was one of the most fun maneuvers that we have done, and really good experience to have.

That pretty much wraps up my month at Riddle. I will be going home for fall break which is October 22, just a four day weekend, but long enough to see friends and family, and catch up on my brothers and his fiancés’ wedding. Again you can add me on facebook. Also, I encourage you to come to Embry Riddle’s Open House which is October 30. Here is the link to sign up and I also encourage you to join our official Class of 2015 group on Facebook.
Alex Munro, over and out!

September 16, 2010

Hey everyone, my name is Alex Munro and I am so excited to be writing these journals so you can try to learn about my experiences here at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Since this is my first entry, I would like to start by letting you get to know me a little bit better.

Although I spent most of my life in my home state of Maryland, I was actually born in the United Kingdom, specifically Scotland. Growing up overseas, my passport saw a lot of miles. Some people don’t even fly until they are 10 or so. My first flight was when I was approximately 6 months old and once I was old enough to know what aircraft I was going on to get to my destination, I loved to visit the cockpit. You see before 9/11, kids were allowed to tour the cockpit, meet the captain, and even take some pictures. This even strengthened my interest for aviation. When I was six, I moved over to the United State and once here, my home town became Annapolis, Maryland’s capital. I attended and graduated from Broadneck High School in June 2010. Ever since the beginning of my senior year, I knew I wanted to go to Embry-Riddle. Quick story: one night, I searched; “best school to become a pilot,” and top result was Embry-Riddle. After that I did some research, fell in love, and decided to visit and tour the campus several times. While some students answered the question “Which college do you plan on going to?” as “undecided” or “not sure”, I responded confidently, “Embry-Riddle.”

My major is called Aeronautical Science and is one of the most popular majors here at ERAU. It’s a fancy name and when people hear it, they aren’t too sure what it is. In basic terminology, the major is “Professional Pilot.” With that major you have the preferable choice of flight. I’m guessing since you want to be a pilot, it would make sense that you should know how to fly. Embry-Riddle is great for it. Our flight line is right next to Daytona Beach International Airport. Planes are always flying when you go to class you will always here the noise of propellers turning or the roaring of engines. Now although I have traveled commercially on vacations, I had never been in the cockpit controlling the aircraft. So if you are planning on coming to Embry-Riddle and fly, make sure you love flying. Take a first lesson in your hometown, just so you know you will enjoy flying and won’t get motion sickness. I had my “discovery flight” and it was basically love at first flight. The sensation of seeing everything from the sky is amazing. Even better, you can brag to your friends. While they were studying Chemistry or History, you were flying over one of the most famous beaches with your shades on smiling and enjoying your “class”.

Zipping to the present, I am currently a freshman here at Embry-Riddle. It is my fourth week of classes and still in love and finding more and more reasons why I love this place. The move-in experience was great. You will be assigned to one of several dorms: Adams, Doolittle, Mckay, or Woods. I live in McKay which I believe is the best dorm, honestly, I could be biased but that’s our little secret. It’s older than the others but so much roomier. It used to be a motel and you only have to share your bathroom with one person, where in Doolittle, eight people to one bathroom area. During the move-in the staff was very helpful and the Orientation team, or the O-team as they like to be called, was amazing at planning events to get people mingling, informed, and to adjust to the college life. I hope to become part of the O-team next year Fall 2011, so maybe once your moved in I might be running down your hall, banging on your door, reminding you to come to the show.

Please feel free to email me at munroa@my.erau.edu or add me on facebook, www.facebook.com/ajmunro. I also have a twitter which you can follow me: www.twitter.com/itsalexanu I hope to update it more frequently of events on campus. Thank you guys for reading my story, I hope I didn’t bore you too much, and I would like to congratulate you guys on considering Embry Riddle as your future “nest.”


Alex Munro