Human Factors Success Tips

Hello again, Riddle fans!

While doing my work this week and throughout the summer at Gulfstream, I’ve realized that Human Factors involves way more than we’re taught in school! The major project that I’ve been working on this summer has me working with several departments within the company, but also with companies across the country. It’s taught me what, besides my formal education, can make or break your success at a company.

What could this possibly mean? Well, human factors is already a mix of engineering and psychology, so what else could possibly be thrown in this mix? Well I’ve learned this summer that Human Factors is more than that. Human Factors is more than user-centered design, maintainability, ergonomics, and all of the other subsections of the topic. To be successful in Human Factors, you have to have more than just the GPA and number of projects you’ve completed.

To be successful, you have to be a quick-thinker and decision maker. You never know when an urgent project might drop on your desk and you have 2 days to get your human factors requirements out. This happened to me this summer; I had to assist another engineer with designing a new component for a customer and had to have a quick turn around on my inputs. At the same time, you have to be great at time management; you had to balance the new project AND the other projects piling up on your desk.

You to be a fast and great technical writer. Within the HF program at ERAU, yes we do have to write a bunch, but the way the program is designed, your growth as a technical writer is very structured. You always know exactly what and how you’re supposed to be writing. The professors are amazing sources on improving your writing abilities, too. Our Research Design class, which you normally take your second or third year in the program, teaches you step-by-step the technical and research report writing methods that are commonly used in industry. I can definitely say that that class and what I’ve retained from it has greatly influenced my time here at Gulfstream. Because of my writing skills gained from that class, I have been able to work on tougher, bigger projects that not many, if any, other interns are working on.

You have to be patient with those around you. Not everyone understands HF like real Human Factors Engineers and students do. You have to be able to explain why your input and requirements matter to the overall project; how they’ll assist in the outcome and why. Here at Gulfstream, Human Factors is very well received and understood, but other smaller companies might not be as familiar.

My last tidbit of success-in-HF advice (for now!) is you have to be confident in your understanding, knowledge, and abilities with Human Factors. Others can pick up on your confusion and lack of confidence really quickly. You also might have to fight for your input to be considered seriously; sometimes HF requirements and input can be lost in the overall development of something because some engineers are more concerned with completing the project and don’t think about the user. That’s why we exist!

If you have any questions about Human Factors, leave them in the comments and I’ll be happy to answer.

Until next time, blue skies!


Family – Living away from your home away from home

Hello, readers!

I apologize for not posting at the end of last week. My week got slightly more chaotic than I anticipated. Too much work and not enough time to do it!

I had the pleasure of hosting my mom at my apartment, graciously given to me by Gulfstream for the summer. To be honest, I’ve never had a parent come and stay with me before at somewhere other than where we live as a family (so basically our family home). So naturally, I wanted to be able to prove to her that, yes, at 21, I can too live by myself and take good care of myself because I’m an adult. Well, I’m supposed to be an adult, but that’s debatable. I spent 3 days after work cleaning (more like sanitizing), organizing, ironing, folding, rearranging, anything and everything that I saw my mom do when she would prepare the house for guests. Except this is my mom and is just impressed that I’m where I am, regardless of how I live.

While she was visiting, we called our time together her “vacation from her vacation” and my “vacation from my problems”. She wouldn’t let me do the dishes or my laundry or even cook. She just wanted to do “mom-things” as she explained. We traveled to a different beach in a different city each day, which really was like a vacation for me. The beach isn’t as easy to get to in Savannah than it is in Daytona at ERAU. We’re spoiled, but I can’t complain about living near the beach!

We shopped, ate great food, swam, and even just lazed around the apartment. What I often forget about, now that I’m living on my own, is how nice it is to be around my family. Of course I miss them like crazy when we’re apart, but you sometimes forget about how much fun and relaxing being with family is. But living on my own has changed my relationship with my mom, in a good way! We’re less of mother-daughter and more like best friends. Of course, she always has her “mom” moments, but we work things out differently. It’s very hard to explain other than it’s like a best-friendship.

Being away from home for college is always tough on the family at first, but it’s completely worth it. My parents saw me grow as an adult and I saw that their constant watching over me at first was nothing more than them just making sure I was happy. That can often get lost for some people. Just remember that you don’t want to push away your family when you move off to college! They’re your best and greatest assets. Take care of them like they take care of you. You’ll have best friends for life! Plus then you can have family “vacations from your vacation” or a “vacation from your problems”, which are too much fun. Riddle does a great job keeping parents involved with the university at different functions, like Parent & Family Weekend for example. Riddle takes care of everyone, not just the students!

Give your mom a hug and have a fantastic week readers!

Blue skies,


Everyone has those days and makes mistakes

The best way to sum up this week so far is that it’s ok for an intern to make mistakes. It’s been one bumpy week and it’s not even Friday yet.

Let me give you a quick recap (and when I mean I quick I mean it; not a whole lot of time to write this week!):

Monday – not too bad of a day for a Monday. Slow morning, slow to get in the groove of the day, but worth while. Knocked out some work that needed to be completed and got it out prior to its deadline.

Tuesday – Rough morning. Woke up to a cockroach lollygagging across my bedroom carpet. That’s the third one I’ve found in a week. Just what I need at 0530. What a warm, southern welcome from nature. Spent 3 hours working on a project, only for its priority to change. Rather than being due in 4 weeks, it’s due in 2. Not that big of a deal, but I came to learn that I had to re-do the work I’d already done because of a detailed wording change. No biggie, but I had to re-do my work…

Wednesday – Focused in really deeply on working on that project due in 2 weeks. So much so that I missed a department meeting. Once I had realized what time it was, no one was in the office except for me and I had no way of getting to the meeting room because of my limited access. I tried to reach other people in the meeting, but because they were all in the meeting, I couldn’t reach them. So I took one for the team and kept on working.

Thursday – We’ll see what happens; something is bound to happen!

If there’s anything I’ve learned this week, it’s that the perfect time to make mistakes is when you’re an intern. It’s perfectly fine to make mistakes as an intern; you’re not supposed to have perfect work. Sure my ego is a little shot for having missed the meeting and screwing up the work, but now I know not to make that mistake again. Hopefully the rest of this week will go a little more smoothly than the beginning.

I guess here’s to making more mistakes and making better impressions!

Stay busy this week and enjoy the beautiful weather! I have an exciting weekend planned; stay tuned to hear about the adventures!

Blue skies,


Filing a New Flight Plan

Kevin Garland arrived at Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach Campus as a freshman in fall of 2008, the height of the Great Recession. It’s no surprise he ended up at Embry-Riddle, he’d been attracted to aviation since he was six years old when his grandfather introduced him to Radio Control Aircraft (R/C). Naturally, he chose to major in flight. He also selected minors in air traffic control and unmanned aircraft systems. At that time, unmanned aircraft studies were just being introduced to college curriculum. In fact, Embry-Riddle was the first to offer the major that began accepting students into the program in unmanned aircraft systems science in the fall of 2011, just a year before Kevin’s scheduled graduation. But he saw the opportunity in the rapidly expanding field and modified his plan.

When he started college, he had already achieved much success in the world of R/C having soloed when he was just seven years old. By the time he was a senior, he was ranked 4th in Advanced Class his region and had secured a variety of sponsors to support his competitions nationally. He continued his R/C flying at Embry-Riddles part of the R/C Club with a team made up of students majoring in aerospace engineering, communication and unmanned aircraft. Kevin changed his major to aeronautics, a move that gave him added flexibility for gaining minors.

But he says these competitions are about more than winning, they are also about inspiring young people. As a college student, he enjoyed visiting high schools, like Griffin High in his home state of Georgia, and the kids who attend Youth Masters R/C competition where Kevin helps out each year.

Kevin's niece - keeping the family inspiration going

Kevin’s niece – keeping the family inspiration going

Kevin’s final student blog after graduation relates the plans he has for the future: move back home, finish his certified flight instructor rating to become a flight instructor and build flight time, land a job in air traffic control and keep competing in R/C. But that’s not how the future panned out for Kevin, and he’s happy about that for a number of reasons. Let’s ask him about where life took him and where he is today.

How did you land your job at Latitude Engineering?
After completing my degree at the end of the Summer of 2012 I visited the Embry-Riddle Daytona campus in November to see a few friends. While visiting I stopped and spoke to a few of my past professors. Mr. Ted Beneigh who was one of my UAS professors mentioned about a job in Yuma, AZ working for Latitude Engineering. He gave me their contact information (still have that piece of paper today!) That night I emailed Latitude my resume and the next week I heard from them. They mention I basically met all the criteria and they wanted me to fly out to Yuma the next day to do an in-person interview. The interview went great and when I landed back in Atlanta I got a voicemail saying I had been selected for the job and was going to start the first of the year in 2013. Without the help of Professor Beneigh I may have never found this great opportunity.
What is your position and job duties?
 From 2013 to late 2015 I worked in Yuma, AZ as a contract R&D Test Pilot for the NAVAIR Program flying the Tiger Shark UAV, which is a 500lb 20-foot wing span UAV. For this particular job I tested new software code, new payloads to be used overseas, and testing new parts for the aircraft itself. I have earned more than 900 hours flying this platform over those three years in Yuma, AZ. My contract with that program ended and late 2015 I moved the Commercial Side of UAVs flying for the BNSF FAA Pathfinder Program working with Latitude.  I am currently a Company representative supporting Latitude’s Hybrid Quadcopter Aircraft. This is a VTOL (virtual take-off and landing) aircraft which will be used to support BNSF’s train operations. My roles for this position include doing test flights on the aircraft, teaching new students how to fly the aircraft for BNSF’s operations, and to fix any issues with the aircraft in the field if there is a problem. The FAA Pathfinder project is dealing with BVLOS operations.  Fun fact! Embry-Riddle has purchased Latitude Engineering’s HQ-40 Aircraft.


VTOL - work in progress

VTOL – work in progress

Do other Embry-Riddle alumni work at Latitude?
As of right now no one else from Embry-Riddle works with Latitude Engineering. Alumni are, however working with the same BNSF Pathfinder project working for AUV Flight Services. I am hoping to attract more alumni to Latitude Engineering as it is an awesome company to work for. Where else can you skate board around the office and rip stick around the workbenches?

Are you still competing?
Even with my busy schedule I still compete in aerobatic flying with model aircraft. I still try to make a few competitions each year along with performing airshows at local and regional events.
My main sponsor currently is Futaba / Hobbico. A few other sponsors are Flight Power Batteries, Ohio Model Products, Smart-Fly R/C, B&E Graphix, Spot-On R/C and my newest sponsor is Ready Made R/C.

Do you spend much time flying the old-fashioned way – in the sky?
Flying? I honestly don’t know when I am not flying! I guess when I sleep. I am constantly flying manned and unmanned aircraft along with model aircraft. As for manned flying, I try to get up a few times every month to stay current. I am very fortunate that part of my job is flying manned aircraft for unmanned flight testing. I also have been very fortunate to be able to fly my girlfriend’s family plane which is a Cessna 182. Brenna (my girlfriend) and I have been dating two years now and she enjoys flying as much as I do. I have put on an extra 300 hours since we started dating in their Cessna-182. I say I am very LUCKY! Just last year I completed my Certified Flight Instructor rating and later this year I plan on completing my CFII.

How about your personal life?
During the spring time in 2013 I was out flying R/C aircraft at the local model aircraft field in Yuma, AZ. An older gentleman walked up to me and notice the hat I was wearing was an ERAU hat. He also noticed my airplane had an Embry-Riddle decal on it. He mentioned his granddaughter Brenna was interested in going to college either at ERAU in Prescott or UND. I gave my personal opinion and he wanted my phone and email address for her to contact me. Brenna later emailed me and asked me a few questions about the University. I personally did not know much about the Prescott campus as I went to the Daytona campus, but I answered the questions to the best of my ability. She later mentioned she chose ERAU in Prescott and she was starting in the Fall of 2013. We talked over the phone and via emails for nearly a year till we actually met in person in Spring time of 2014. We really got along as we shared a lot of things together. We have been on many adventures in her parents Cessna 182. We have flown across the country from Yuma, AZ to Atlanta, Georgia several times along with flying to her hometown from Prescott, AZ to Alden, IA. We have also flown into Oshkosh together and Sun N Fun. Other great trips were flying to Telluride, CO, Catalina Island, and to see the Arches in Utah. Even though we graduated from two different campuses we both worked great as a flight crew. She graduated from the Prescott campus back in December of 2015 and she now has a job as a First Officer for Boutique Airlines flying a PC-12.
Words of advice?
I would like to thank my family for supporting me all of these years. My parents always worried about the money we spent on flying r/c aircraft during my years living at home. The hobby is not cheap, but I was very fortunate enough to have my parents help out when I was younger. Today my parents said their investment in my hobby paid off, because I have landed a dream job of mine of flying Unmanned Aircraft. The person I would like to thank the most is my Grandfather. He is the one that introduced me to this hobby and taught me how to fly mode aircraft. Without his help there is no telling what I would be doing as for a career today. Model Aircraft, I feel, is a great starting point for anyone to get into the field of aviation. Let’s put it this way. My first flight in a manned aircraft the Instructor never had to take the controls from take-off to landing. After landing my instructor looked at me and said “are you ready to solo” Of course he was joking, but he could tell the skills I learned from flying r/c aircraft transferred to my manned flying skills.

Kevin and Granddad

Kevin and Granddad

Quick Update

This past week has been quite busy juggling between work and my online summer class. I am working currently working with the 2017 summer schedule. My online class is almost coming to an end with less than two weeks remaining. Students must always request permission to take courses online, but it’s a good way to keep moving towards graduation during the summer months.

Last week, we had to turn in a rough draft of a research paper on leadership, which is due in a week. I only have a few assignments left before finishing the class. Since I work 40 hours a week, I have to study and do homework during the evenings after work and on weekends. This week, I will review and edit my essay and turn in my final submission. We also have a final exam in two week. It consists of five short essay questions.

In less than two weeks, my internship at Air Canada will end. I am taking the time to enjoy my last few days as an intern. I hope to come back next spring as a full-time employee.

Until next time!


Contact the author at

Isn’t this summer “Phenom” – inal???

Nothing like starting off the post with a funny airplane pun, huh?

Throughout my very boring and relaxing weekend (which I am very grateful for – haven’t had one of those in what feels like years), I mulled over how awesome this summer has been. It’s not very often anyone can say that they’ve been able to compete in 2 National Flight competitions, placed in Top 10 in one and won the other competition AND intern at one of the greatest and most influential Business/Private Jet design and manufacturing companies in the world.

I’m in the process of creating my final internship presentation to present in front of other interns, my boss, my supervisor, and the head of the overseeing department that includes my human factors department. Trust me, after all of the presentations that I’ve given over the last 3 years at Riddle, especially this past spring semester, this is going to be a piece of cake. But in writing this presentation, I can’t help but be in total awe of the opportunities that ERAU has given me over just these past 3 years. I’ve been able to compete in 3 National Intercollegiate Flying Association Safety and Flight Evaluation Conferences (otherwise known as NIFA National SAFECONs), 2 going on 3 Regional SAFECON competitions, 2 Air Race Classic races, and interned at a leading aerospace company. I have been one busy girl, but I am incredibly thankful for those at ERAU who have helped me along the way.

People often look at a university for what some pretty obvious factors, like a football team, majors (of course), family history maybe, in-state vs. out-of-state, retention rate, money ($$$), and a few others. What I wish I had done, but what luckily worked out for me, were the hidden programs within the university. Other opportunities besides the obvious and marketed aspects. Of course, Riddle has an amazing flight program which I absolutely love, and great students and faculty, and amazing sports and flying opportunities. All of that is absolutely true, but what is often overlooked my incoming freshman are the countless careers paths and opportunities only offered to ERAU students. Of course, we all know about the cadet programs and gateway programs for the pilots, which I have considered over the years, but what about us engineers and specialists? It’s amazing how just mentioning your involvement with ERAU can put you leaps and bounds ahead of other students. I have at least 5 co-workers that are ERAU alum in one way or another and it’s fantastic networking. We share stories, gather advice, and share our love of Riddle. Many companies offer special scholarships to ERAU-only students, which I have been lucky enough to have received one this summer from Gulfstream. Aerospace companies and ERAU take pride in their connections, whether it’s students, employees, activities, Greek life, sports, anything and everything. People in industry are amazed at what Riddle has done for myself and its students.

I’m definitely proud to have been able to represent ERAU and be an Eagle thus far in my college career and I’m so looking forward to continue representing this amazing university for one final semester this fall.

I think you’ve heard enough of my early week ranting, so enjoy your week and get excited for more (hopefully more hysterical) posts from me.

Blue skies,


(For those of you unfamiliar with what a Phenom is, Phenoms are a series of business jets developed by Embraer out of Brazil. They’re very popular aircraft in the United States and around the world. They’re definitely one of my favorite series. I think I may like the Phenom 300 a little bit more than the Phenom 100, only because it’s a slightly bigger aircraft. They’re definitely on my flying-bucket-list!)

Taking the Scenic Route to the NTSB

When Pete came to Embry-Riddle as a freshman in fall of 2009, his goal after graduation was to be a pilot, a dream he’d had since he was in first grade. But it wasn’t long until he recognized his love of aviation would be better served in a business role, so he changed his major to business administration.

“My internship at Tweed New Haven Regional Airport opened my eyes to this and made me realize flying wasn’t the only way I could be actively, hands-on involved in aviation every day,” he says in his introductory student blog.

He began writing the blog as a sophomore and, by that time, was well on his way to achieving his college graduation goals. He’d began working in Airport Operations at Daytona Beach International Airport almost 30 hours per week. In addition, he earned his Private Pilot’s Certificate, Instrument Rating, made Honor Roll, published a blog and articles for various online outlets, was certified in Aircraft Rescue & Firefighting, and had organized large events including an air show. Pretty impressive stuff – but that was just the beginning.
pete tbird

Prospective students followed Pete’s adventures at RiddleLifeFlorida where he shared his Embry-Riddle experiences of plane spotting, day trips to Disney, and work stories. One of the highlights was working during the Daytona 500 NASCAR races and supporting the United States Air Force Thunderbirds, the more than 250 corporate aircraft that fly in and out during the event, and even celebrities like Fergie.

Fast forward to 2016 and we find Pete about to begin his third year of law school and at the NTSB working as a Law Clerk. How did he get there? Let’s ask him.

The last Riddle blog you wrote was in 2011. Where did life take you from there?

Well, somewhat comically, not three days after graduation from Riddle I began working in my new job at Orlando International Airport. I was given a rare opportunity for someone only 22 years old due to the amount of experience that I had developed to be an Airfield Operations Specialist at one of the largest airports in the world. I still credit my experiences at Embry-Riddle in addition to my work experience for getting me there. It was truly a great experience to be responsible for something as big as Orlando International on a day-to-day basis.

While I was at Orlando, I decided that it would be a good idea to continue my education, so I began working on a Master’s of Science degree in Criminal Justice at the University of Central Florida on a part-time basis. In doing this, and in the work I was doing at the airport, I uncovered an interest in the law, specifically in aviation law. So, I took the LSAT and applied to law schools, ultimately selecting the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University in Arlington, VA. Following my first year of law school, I was lucky enough to do an internship with the Federal Aviation Administration in their Chief Counsel’s office. Following my second year of law school, and presently, I am working in the General Counsel’s office of the National Transportation Safety Board as a law clerk. Then, I will complete my last year of law school, take the Bar exam, and be an attorney working in the aviation industry in some capacity.

How did you choose a grad school?

I started my graduate studies at UCF largely due to its proximity to work, and also because of their criminal justice program that is well respected in the industry. In choosing Scalia Law, I was primarily focused on attending a Top 50 law school in close proximity to Washington, DC and the federal government. Ultimately, that proximity has allowed me to obtain a great deal of exposure with the government and to work/intern there during the school year, while students at many other schools only have the opportunity to participate in internships with the federal government during the summers.

How did Embry-Riddle help you prepare for and transition to grad school?

Riddle definitely prepared me for grad school in the way that the professors structured their classes and assigned projects. The Riddle requires students to be strategic in their time management and planning, while also teaching students how to think rationally and logically. These skills are imperative for success in law school. You need to be able to process information quickly and accurately, and you need to be able to budget your time almost perfectly, especially in the first year of law school. Additionally, the Aviation Law course that I took at my law school was more of a review than anything else as a result of the coursework from the College of Business. This allowed me to excel above the other students in that class.

What was your grad school experience like?

It is still ongoing, that is for sure! As most people know, the first year of law school is tough. You are assigned hundreds of pages of reading a night, legal writing projects, and you are also randomly subject to being called on in class to discuss the material (the “Socratic method.”) It really left no free time to do much of anything else. The second year was much easier, and I was able to get involved on the Trial Advocacy Team, continue my internship at the FAA, and even take on a part-time job to make a little money. The third year of law school is more outside the classroom work and less school: I will only have class two days a week this semester and will be working the remaining days. All in all though, the skills I have learned are very helpful and useful, and I appreciate the experience very much.

Did you ever imagine you’d find yourself working for the NTSB?

No, I don’t think so! I was always interested in accident investigations and wanted to take those classes at Riddle, but I was never able to do so unfortunately. I did not think that I would ever be working in a legal capacity for the Board, however, that is for certain. I am enjoying it very much thus far!

What are some of the legal issues specific to aviation?

There are many legal issues in aviation today, probably the most well-known of which involve the air service controversies that have been occurring with foreign carriers such as Emirates and Qatar, and US-flag carriers. Foreign carriers must be permitted by the Department of Transportation to serve destinations in the United States, allowing them to compete with US carriers on the same routes. However, some US carriers have claimed that they cannot compete with these foreign carriers because those carriers are subsidized by their respective country’s governments and subject to those countries’ laxer labor laws, resulting in significantly lower overhead and the ability to charge far cheaper fares.

However, aviation law issues stretch further than one might imagine to include tort litigation (personal injury), enforcement, regulatory concerns, and more. Personally, my favorite area is tort litigation as I love being in the courtroom. Ultimately, I would love to be able to litigate cases involving aircraft crashes in court. The utility of my Embry-Riddle background and technical knowledge is immeasurable when it comes to this type of law.

Do you still spend time flying?

Yes, I try to. The Washington, DC airspace is somewhat tricky, but I have found an airport nearby that has nice rentals and is not too hard to get to. When time permits, I love to fly around and check out the landscape of Virginia.

Are there many ERAU grads working with you?

There are, actually, but not directly in the General Counsel’s office. Many of the investigators went to Embry-Riddle, and, in fact, one of the presidentially-appointed Board Members (Robert Sumwalt) has a Master’s Degree from Embry-Riddle.

Advice for students attracted to Embry-Riddle?

Prospective students? If you have even the slightest interest that you want to work in aviation in any capacity, go to Embry-Riddle. Take it from me. The opportunities that I have had have all been related to my degree from Embry-Riddle. The people you meet will connect you with jobs for the rest of your life. It is worth every penny you spend on your degree to go to Riddle. I would not be where I am today if I did not go to Embry-Riddle. In short, DO IT. The education is fantastic and will prepare you for whatever you choose to do in life. Additionally, going to college in Daytona Beach is an experience that I reminisce about every day, and you will absolutely love it yourself.

Current students? Think outside the box. I came into Riddle with tunnel vision that I wanted to be an airline pilot, but look where my career took me due to one internship. Try a few different things and see what you like. Don’t give up, even when it gets hard. It will all be worth it. Lastly, enjoy every minute of it, because it goes by so fast. But, know that the friends you make at Riddle will be your friends for life. Virtually all of my best friends are people who I met during college.

Students interested in similar careers can contact Pete at

What is Human Factors?

Hello, all!

To give to a little bit of a taste of what I do at Gulfstream (and some tips on how to get your foot in the door here), I figured I need to explain what it is exactly that I do.

I’m a human factors engineering intern; I’ll try to explain the basics of what I do. Not a whole lot of people know what human factors is, but a simple explanation of what human factors is is the study of the interactions between humans and machines, creating a better overall experience for the human. There are endless opportunities within human factors, anything from ergonomically designing seats and controls (like a steering wheel in a car or a side-stick in an airplane) to developing checklists. Human Factors plays important roles in aviation and safety, which is why, thanks to the help of the FAA, there’s been a huge influx of human factors department growth within major aerospace companies. Some companies, like Gulfstream, have had human factors departments for a long time, but have tried to expand the influence that human factors has in the overall design and development of aircraft.

Human factors isn’t just touchy-feely, “how does this make you feel?” science. It’s more about “what can I do to make this easier for the user?”. Take your car for example. Every single button shape, the amount of force required to press the button, the symbology, color, and size all had input from a human factors professional. The seats in your car? A human factors and ergonomics specialist helped designing those. The brightness of the lights on a flight deck and how they affect night flying or the shape of the cockpit windows and how the light reflects off of the glass cockpit are both practical examples of human factors in aviation.

But physical systems such as cars and airplanes are not the limits of human factors. Operating procedures and training are also big parts of human factors. One example that I’ve become familiar with while working at Gulfstream is writing SOPs which are standard operating procedures. It’s basically a how-to guide for completing a task. For human factors, SOPs are great because we can design the SOPs to complete a task in the most effective and efficient manner. It is very often that what we design is not the common practice, but the changes made can make the job easier, decreasing workload, physical load, and other factors. ATC is a perfect example of human factors in a non-physical system. Another example would be rearranging an operating room so that the doctors and nurses have all of the pertinent equipment close by rather than having any issues with space and access to important people and equipment.

There’s a lot more to human factors than meets the eye. I’ll be perfectly honest and my HF friends and colleagues will agree that it’s not easy. Some people have the idea that HF majors have it easy, but until you experience what we do, you really have no idea how technical levels. Now, I’m not saying that it’s as hard as or harder than an engineering program. But they’re almost incomparable. Where there is an engineer, there’s a human factors specialist. One cannot exist without the other nowadays.

If you’re interested in pursuing human factors as either a major or a minor, I’d be more than happy to help you out and answer any questions!

I hope this helps explain what human factors is. I’ll be posting more about it further in the summer time. Now it’s time to focus on my human factors work at Gulfstream!

Until next time – blue skies.


Weekend Adventures

Good morning, ya’ll!

It’s a beautiful day to start this week; the sun is shining bright, not a cloud in the sky, the birds are chirping, my air conditioning is fixed – I couldn’t ask for a better Monday. To continue to sad Friday afternoon story, my air conditioning was fixed quickly and efficiently. The guy who came by even took care of the dead cockroach he found (luckily before I did). There is definitely such thing as southern hospitality here in Savannah.

To continue my storytelling, I did go on a solo adventure this weekend up to Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. Living in Savannah, I’m just inside Georgia on the southern side of the Savannah river and just a quick hop over and into South Carolina. And let me tell you, the drive itself was gorgeous. The trees were so green and the water was so blue. I’ve never stopped in Hilton Head before but I can’t wait to go back in a few weeks. I poked around some local shops and street art, sat and watched the people run back and forth to the beach, but more importantly, I just relaxed. I get all caught up in what I’m doing, whether its work, flying, small projects, scholarship applications, cleaning, whatever else I spend my time doing. More often than not, I’m busy working on something, especially during the school year. After the race and a few weeks back at work, it was so wonderful to be able to take a step back and relax for once.

Now the title of this post implies something to do with cockroaches. Not to gross anyone out, but I do have a story about a cockroach. I promise it’s not that gross or detailed, because I cannot stand cockroaches. They’re disgusting little creatures that roam like they own the place when all they are are pests. But this story also has a lesson to it; just stick with it and you’ll see, I promise.

Now to start, I don’t like bugs. Never have, never will. When I was growing up, Mom was usually the one to get rid of the bugs. I remember one instance when I was 7, I walked into the bathroom, closed the door, and BAM a huge spider was just chilling on the back of the door. No thank you. I screamed, Mom came running, and removed the beast from the premises. I’m pretty sure I used the other bathroom in the house for at least a month before getting over it. But as I’ve grown up, moved away to college 1000 miles away from home, I’ve had to learn to take care of that nonsense myself. Since I’ve been at Riddle, I’ve lived in the dorms. My best friends, my family at this point, are some of the people I met and lived with my freshman year in Adams. I might have griped and grumbled about how lots of juniors and seniors don’t live on campus and trying to explain to my family that, yes I can take care of myself in an unfamiliar city, but I’ve learned so much about myself and grown up because of living in the dorms. I’ve learned how to deal with up to 7 roommates in O’Connor, whether its cleaning up after everyone, splitting the house cleaning work, confrontation and compromises, and understanding that not everyone else has to be up at the crack of dawn and some often like to sleep until noon. It’s an adjustment process for sure, but I’ve made some of the best memories and best friends while I’ve been living in the dorms (sorry, residence halls!). But since living there, I’ve learned to step up and, for lack of a better phrase, be an adult.

So what does this have to do with bugs? Well, this weekend I had a battle against the cockroaches. I stepped out of the bathroom after I had finished cleaning and low and behold there a HUGE cockroach just strolling across the bedroom floor. I gasped, but quickly got my senses back together. I’m the adult here, no one to go running to. I very reasonably grabbed a plastic cup from my prepared anti-bug stash of stuff, and placed it right on top. I removed the bug from the apartment, all on video for my friends to see (pics or it didn’t happen is a very common theme when dealing with bugs), and ran to Walmart to get some traps. I’m currently still in battle with the cockroaches, but I think I won this weekend.

Also, check out the article by Rob Mark on Flying Magazine’s website about the Air Race Classic! It’s a fantastic read – proud to be an Eagle!

Stay tuned for more adventures with me this summer! Headed back to another fantastic and busy work week here at Gulfstream – Until next time!

Blue Skies,


How do Airlines Evaluate New Routes?

Airlines are constantly looking to grow their route network. They do multiple evaluations in order to know if a route will be profitable in the long term or not. Airlines use many programs and tools such as Diio to perform a route study. Diio is an aviation business intelligence data that is used by more than 400 airlines in the world.

Route Map from Air Canada's largest hub, Toronto-Pearson.

Route Map from Air Canada’s largest hub, Toronto-Pearson.

Diio collects data such as fares, routes, airlines, and connections. Airlines using Diio can determine how many passengers are traveling each day (including connections) between Daytona Beach and New York-JFK for example. There is only one daily flight between DAB and JFK (operated by JetBlue) but passengers also travel on other airlines between these two cities. You might have a passenger that has a frequent flyer status with American Airlines and will decide to fly on American with a connection in Charlotte. From a large collection of database, airlines can see the city in which each passenger connected, the airline they flew on, and the average fare they paid for the leg.

An airline will definitely not start a route and fly a Boeing 777 where there are only a few passengers traveling every day between point A and B. It would simply not make any sense to operate an aircraft of such capacity.

Airlines can predict revenue and profitability of a route depending on different times of the day. If the flight is scheduled at a time of the day where there are no possibility of connections to other cities, than the airline might not do as good as a flight that is timed for inbound and outbound connections.

I hope you learned a little more on airlines today!

Until next time,


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