February 2010

Spring break is almost here, and classes will be at the halfway mark this week. It is strange how quickly time passes here; much faster than high school. With six classes, there is a fair amount of work to do each night, which means I’m rarely bored. Aside from school work, club meetings and special events fill the time.

About two weeks ago, the Airport Management Club (AMC) had its second meeting in the Daytona Beach International Airport terminal’s conference room. The room was situated on top of terminal, and there we talked with the airport’s director, an Embry-Riddle alumnus, who shared his memories and experiences working at the airport. It takes a lot to run an airport, as it is a very multi-faceted branch; finance, operations, marketing, etc. I thought to myself, “airport talk, sitting in a conference room overlooking the terminal, and pizza – what could be better?”

Last weekend I had the opportunity to go home for Valentine’s Day. Aside from a three hour tarmac delay at Charlotte and lost luggage, it was great to go home and see friends and family. I was welcomed by fresh italian food and sushi; my favorites. Fortunately Embry-Riddle had off on Monday, so I was able to spend three days home. Another close friend from Embry-Riddle flew up to see his sister, and we were able to catch the same return flights back to Daytona. Since friends were not around for the weekend, we were not able to catch a ride back to campus, but it’s only a 10-15 minute walk away – why not?

This past week, I had the opportunity to meet one my favorite authors: Homer Hickam. He is the author of “Rocket Boys,” which became the movie “October Sky.” The IC Auditorium was packed, and he gave an excellent motivational speech. While my interests are primarily in airlines, airports, and aircraft manufacturing, it was good to step out of those fields and take a look into the engineering / rocketry side of aviation.

That’s all for now – check back here in two weeks for another post!

February 2010

The weather here in Florida is finally starting to warm up and it’s about time. The last few weeks have been the coldest it’s ever been. It was even warmer at the Winter Olympics than it was in Daytona Beach. However cold weather is still good flying weather, so no complaints there.

I’ve finished learning holding procedures and I’m now starting to fly instrument approaches. Instrument training is a lot of work, but the more you do it, the easier it gets. I’ve been thinking a lot about the next step, which is commercial multi-engine. I’ve decided before I do that, I should get my multi-engine add-on to my private pilot’s license. That way when I start commercial training, I get to log the time as Pilot In Command; which is important when looking for a job.

As for extracurricular events, I’ve gotten involved with the Air Traffic Control Organization, as well as the Student Alumni Association, of which I’ve been selected to be the President of. I’m very excited and honored to have that opportunity.

I’ve been sick for the last two weeks, only recently has it affected me enough to put a flight-only ground on my training. I seem to be getting better, but it needs time. Health services has been a great help and I highly recommend using them when needed. Dorms are known for spreading illnesses around, so you’ve got to be careful, but even if you are, there is still a good chance you’ll get what is going around.

The College of Aviation had its family weekend this past week. There were different seminars for parents ranging from financial aid, to flight concepts, to simulator sessions, they were even allowed to sit-in on any Aeronautical Science class with their son/daughter.

The Daytona 500 was a quite interesting time in this town. Surprisingly it was the quietest of all the speed-week races, considering how close we live to the track. Students get a discounted ticket price, however when I called up, they were all sold out. Traffic was a nightmare and a lot of stores were closed because they sold their parking spaces to NASCAR spectators. The airport closes Runway 16/34 to use as a parking area for visiting aircraft. Those were certainly a sight to see!

Spring break is just around the corner (Mar 15) and I bought a resident beach pass ($20) for my car, so now I can park there anytime I want for the whole year. After four visits, the pass pays for itself.

Over and Out.

February 2010

This past week, I received the wonderful chance to meet Homer Hickam! If you have seen the movie, October Sky, or have read the book, Rocket Boys, then you know Homer and his inspirational and extraordinary life story. He visited the Embry-Riddle campus to talk about his upbringing, his dreams of becoming a rocket scientist, and his life as a NASA engineer. It was an honor and privilege to be in his presence and have the great opportunity to meet him!

“So, I say to you students of Embry-Riddle, don’t be afraid and please don’t walk away from a career in aerospace. The nation is depending on you to pry from the tiller of space the hands of those who don’t understand what its promise means. The nation is depending on you to rebuild from the wreckage that our present leaders may cause. The nation is depending on you to bring the vigor of youth to aging bureaucracies and to make them all new and bright again. This you can do, this you must do, and this old rocket boy is certain you will do. Now go forth and make me proud.” ~ Homer H. Hickam

The STS-130 crew of space shuttle Endeavour returned home last night (2/21) wrapping up a successful 13 day mission to the International Space Station. Endeavour travelled more than 5.7 million miles and has given ISS crew members a backyard view of our extraordinary planet. Endeavour has one flight remaining before being decommissioned and only four total shuttle flights remain before the program retires.

There is much more to come in the upcoming months, but those stories I will hold for next time. Until then, see you out there!

February 13th, 2010

Nothing too exciting has happened in the past two weeks…I’ve mainly been going to class, work, and doing homework. My homework is usually just reading assignments; unfortunately, I sometimes get bored with it and feel myself scanning the words and not really reading them. I hate when I do that because then I have to go back and reread several paragraphs or pages. On another note, I’m looking forward to Spring Break!! I think my sister is planning on coming down and maybe we’ll take a road trip or just hang out at the beach—if it ever gets warm enough! The weather here is actually pretty nice compared to what it’s like back home right now.

My job at the Daytona Beach airport has been going well and I enjoy being an observer to the airport environment. The other day a man came up to me and we started talking about the weather, then he asked me where I was from and it turns out we were both from Illinois. We continued talking and I found out that his son is a teacher at the community college I went to before coming to Embry-Riddle. Just goes to show you what a small world this is! As you can tell from the picture, I have a big TV behind me that shows incoming and outgoing flights along with the weather radar. Many people come over to take a look at it; then they ask me a few questions and I get to tell them about Embry-Riddle. I really enjoy talking to everybody and love finding out why people are coming to or leaving Daytona Beach.

Graduation is fast approaching and the other week I attended a meeting that gave all the details about the ceremony and things you must do before walking across the stage. Only about three more months till the day is here and I’m excited to order my cap and gown! If we want to, we can decorate our cap and I’m trying to decide what I want to put on there. Some people were shocked to find out that I would be graduating too; I love watching people’s reactions when I tell them! Along with the graduation meeting, I went to a MBA information session and learned some more things about the curriculum. In order to finish by next May, I think I will be spending my summer taking classes. I’ve taken summer classes before and I sort of like them better because you are done in six weeks instead of fourteen.

I did go on a “field trip” with Air Force ROTC this past Saturday. We went down to Orlando to a place called Rebounderz where you get to jump on a trampoline indoors. There are even trampolines on the sides, so you can jump off the walls! We played a game of dodge ball and being able to jump in the air to dodge the ball adds a whole new dimension to the game. I had a lot of fun and wouldn’t mind going back again!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Until next time,


February 2010

This month lead to a surprising announcement involving the next era of space exploration. The Constellation program, which proposed taking humans beyond low-Earth-orbit and returning back to the moon, was officially cancelled by President Obama at the beginning of this month. So what’s next for the new decade? No one is for certain what our next destination will be or when we will return to the lunar surface, let alone low-Earth-orbit. Those of you who follow along with all the space news are most likely familiar with Obama’s new proposal. If you are interested in finding out more, I wrote up a post, NASA’s New Future, on my online blog with my thoughts on the subject along with a few website links that give informative outlines and analysis regarding the newly imposed budget. I’ll end here on this subject before I start to rant on about this matter.

This semester is going extremely well thus far. I’ve become more involved with campus clubs and out of class projects. It’s demanding but nonetheless a blast. This past week, ERPL (Experimental Rocket Propulsion Lab), one club that I am a member of, performed a hydro-burst test on a liquid propelled rocket engine. Hydro-burst is a type of test which determines the amount of pressure an object can withstand. Basically, the rocket engine is filled up with water and sealed off to a pump. This pump steadily increases the amount of pressure buildup on the engine and will keep increasing until the pressure is too great. Thus, the end result is a rupture or ‘burst’ in the engine.

I like to conclude with the way I started out my Monday morning today (February 8). I woke up at 3:55AM this morning and headed out to the campus flight line to see another beautiful shuttle launch. An Embry-Riddle Alumnus and five other astronauts hitched a ride on space shuttle Endeavour (STS-130) for a two week mission to the International Space Station. I can’t describe the emotional impact it has on me; it is an overwhelming experience that I wish everyone could watch. You see this brilliant orange glow spread over the Florida horizon and you know there are people on board that are heading to another world beyond our own. It is truly astounding and even though humans have being doing this for more than 50 years, it never gets old. One of my friends recorded the launch and put together an awesome video. I invite you all to watch and get a glimpse of this awesome sight that lit the early morning sky: STS-130 Launch

Until then folks, see you out there!

February 2010

Now that the semester is in full gear, I realized that I have a lot of free time during the week. So I’m looking for a job off campus to earn a little extra money and, at the same time, do something interesting. My classes are Monday/ Wednesday/ Friday and I have off Tuesday and Thursday.

I have just completed Stage One of Instrument Training here at ERAU. I’m progressing rather quickly and I’m very happy about that. I had my first no-show since being here; I was scheduled outside my flight block, with a different instructor (for the day) and forgot all about it. That was a busy day, in addition it was Friday night. No worries, I went to the deferment seminar and it was wiped clean from my record.

Many organizations opened their doors to me at the activities fair this spring. I’m interested in joining the Air Traffic Controllers Organization, International Society of Air Safety Investigators, and NBAA Official Student Group.

I just found out I got an 85 on my first SF 210 (Intro to Aerospace Safety) test, which I’m very proud of because it is the first test of the semester. Hopefully more good reports to follow.

The weather here in Florida is still warm for the most part, but some nights are chilly and some days I wish were warmer than others. No biggie, I could be covered in snow.

The last ever night shuttle launch was the other night and I managed to get some sweet pictures of it, even from Daytona it’s an amazing sight. It’ll be sad to see the shuttle program go.

The upcoming Daytona 500 race has got this town on its feet. Many tourists and car enthusiasts are arriving by all means of transportation. It’s going to be jam packed. I’ve never been here for the races but I hear the aftermath (traffic) is a disaster.

Over and Out.

February 2010

What a great weekend for ERAU athletics! Embry-Riddle basketball’s Coach Ridder achieved the 500th win milestone, and baseball started off their season with a big win. Following his 500th victory, Coach Ridder said a few words, “I hope that the students know that these are not athletes on this team, they are student athletes.” In nearly every class I have this semester, there are several fellow students who play for Embry-Riddle. Unlike big schools, you’ll get to know many of the student athletes here, making the cheering more exciting and the games more enjoyable.

There is a group, called The Flock, that rallies behind and cheers for Embry-Riddle athletics. It is one of the approximate 140 organizations and student groups here at Embry-Riddle. Aside from being a flock member, I am a member of Embry-Riddle’s Collegiate Entrepreneur’s Organization, where students with business ideas can get advice and tips for starting their business. In addition, I am active in the Airport Management Club, and I will be sure to share photos from our upcoming tour of Tampa International Airport.

Classes are progressing fairly well, but they are challenging. Yet the professors do a great job relating the classes to aviation and its industry. My introduction to aeronautical science class, meant for those non-flight students, is taught by a former military pilot. My speech class is taught by a pilot. The professors are top quality, and they possess the background and credentials that give a feeling of assurance and reliability in what they teach.

Later this week I will have an opportunity to head home and visit family and friends. Yes, I am escaping the Daytona 500, but we have next Monday off. The Spring semester does not have as many breaks as the Fall, so I’m trying my best to make the most out of the few we have. We do have a week off for Spring break, and our last day of finals is May 5th – an improvement over some schools up north.

Until later,

January 25, 2010

Lions, tigers, and bears…Oh my! This past weekend I went to the Jacksonville Zoo with some of my friends and we saw lots of animals. I hadn’t been to a zoo for awhile, so I was excited to see some animals and leave Daytona for the day. The zoo was surprisingly large and was divided into sections—South America, Africa, and Asia. I got to see a giraffe up close and watch them being fed; they sure have long tongues. There were plenty of birds at the zoo! You could walk into a caged area and they would fly around you or land on your shoulder. I enjoyed the trip and seeing all the animals!

We are heading into the third week of school and I think I have gotten back into the groove of going to school, work, and studying. My classes are going well and I think it’s going to be a good semester. For undergrad classes, I have Airline Management, Social Responsibility and Ethics, and an Air Force class. Airline Management is going to be interesting, I think, because we get to learn about how the airlines make their schedules. We are still going over an introduction to the material, so we haven’t covered a specific topic in-depth, yet. In my Ethics class, we have to come up with a sustainability project that will have an impact on Embry-Riddle and my group is considering something to do with paper consumption. My two graduate classes are: Aviation Law and Insurance and Global Information and Technology. The Aviation Law and Insurance class is like the insurance class I took last semester, but I’m enjoying it more so this time. The class is divided into parts and we cover insurance with one professor in the beginning and then we cover law with another professor. I’m looking forward to the law part! Global Information and Technology is going to be the harder one of the two because technology confuses me most of the time. I had a similar class my sophomore year; however, I’m hoping that this time the material will be more understandable with a different book and professor. All in all, I’m enjoying each class and hope that this semester I won’t procrastinate so much (this always seems to be my goal)!

The weather has been up and down for the past week. Most days, the sun comes out and we have blue skies. However, we did have a big storm roll through the area and it brought a cold front along, which caused tornado warnings. I looked out my window and the rain was just pouring from the sky—thank goodness it didn’t last for too long! The other day it was warm enough for shorts and the next day I needed a sweatshirt…I hope it decides to get warm soon and just stay warm! My favorite place to go study when it is warm and sunny is the dock my apartment has over the lake. The view of the water just makes it feel so peaceful.

Daytona is starting to gear up for all the races at the racetrack and every time I turn on the radio I hear about a chance to win tickets to one race or another. I can’t get over how many people come to the area to watch the races! I’ve heard the airport has begun having meetings to discuss how they are going to deal with the increase in traffic. It’s interesting to see how businesses prepare for the influx of customers and it makes you realize how volatile the tourist industry is from year to year. I’m looking forward to the Daytona 500 because Tim McGraw is performing! Maybe, I’ll be lucky enough to work the infield and get to catch a glimpse of him. Well, time to go study and I think I’ll head out to the dock!

Until next time,


January 2010

What a busy first two weeks! I returned back to Embry-Riddle on January 12, and classes began the next morning. As I’ve written in past posts, this semester will be a challenge, as I am taking on six classes (18 credits). Only one of these classes, advanced computer systems, is business-major specific. The good part is, every class counts towards the degree.

From my experiences in studying and working within the business environment, it is imperative to have strong communication skills. The business administration degree requires students to take a humanities course, as well as a variety of communication courses. From my experiences so far, I’m leaning towards a minor in communication.

Last semester, and throughout winter break, I developed an interest in airline revenue management; a fancy name for ticket pricing. Selling seats, at different prices, to ensure maximum profit and a full plane sounds like a giant puzzle – the same goes for other interests of mine, like flight scheduling, or aircraft sales. The aviation industry is a multi-faceted, complex industry, faced with a variety of ever-changing external and internal factors – making it challenge; one of the reasons I’m fascinated and intrigued by it.

While the homework load is still fairly light, I’ve had the opportunity to spend time reading and blogging. Additionally, I drove around Daytona with a friend – just to explore and get-to-know the area better. I’m taking advantage while I can, since school will soon retake part of my weekend and life.

Last blog post I mentioned Florida’s frigid temperatures during winter break. Upon returning, temperatures began to rise (as they should) – it was 80 degrees F here at one point! It’s strange driving with the windows open in January, but I like it.

Lastly, I do not believe I have ever shared photos of my room. I live in the student village, commonly referred to as “the village,” at Adams hall. Here are a few pictures.

Until later,

January 2010

It’s now two weeks into the Spring 2010 semester and I must say it’s going well. My classes are as follow: Introduction to Aerospace Safety (SF210), Air Traffic Management I (AT200), Principles of Management (BA201), English Comp & Literature (COM122), Survey of Meteorology (WX201), and Instrument Flight Single Engine (FA 221). I just started to get in depth work for these classes and I’m excited most about AT200 and SF210; my core courses.

I started my first Part 142 course hear at ERAU which includes a hefty amount of simulator time. I’m currently working towards an Instrument Rating, an additional privilege to my private pilot’s certificate.

During the last two weeks I had books to buy and other supplies. But over the weekend I drove to Orlando with some friends to go plane-spot, a common activity amongst pilots.

The famous Daytona 500 and the Speed Weeks are approaching and will bring in quite a number of visitors to Daytona Beach. I’m excited as it will be my first races, aside from practices. I’m hoping to attend the 500 as well as the Rolex 24.

That’s all for now. More follows as the semester continues.

Over and Out.