Eyes Peeled for Open Doors

Embry-Riddle offers a wide variety of student organizations and clubs that students can take part in to develop their interpersonal relationships and find a way to de-stress from their rigorous academics. It can be overwhelming at first when deciding what organizations to join and I learned after 3 years at Riddle, that this process can be very long and exhausting.

For this blog, I will be talking about one particular event I had this past weekend with one of the student organizations I am part of on campus. I am a general board member of the Alpha Omicron Alpha (AOA) Aeronautical Honor Society. It is an organization built for students who are studying in the aeronautical science major. We work with the College of Aviation in assisting with various on-campus events along with our own unique social, fundraiser and educational events. Our organization is among the few pilot specific groups including the Tutor lab team, FLAP team and the Riddle Flight Team.

Group photo in front of the Airbus training center in Miami, Fla.

This past weekend, I was fortunate to go on an overnight trip to Miami, Fla with about 30 AOA students to an Airbus training center. We were greeted at the center where professional airline pilots come in for initial, currency and type rating trainings in their state-of-the-art simulators. We were able to sit down for an informational presentation about the Airbus company followed by a tour of their simulators. These simulators included sections for the emergency slide practice, cabin crew door modules, and full-motion simulators for the A320, A330, A340, A350 types. We were able to see these simulators up close and allowed to briefly jump in these modules for some hands-on experience.

The entire group was thoroughly briefed and presented the Airbus’ philosophy and their safety culture. It was a meaningful experience as most students in the organization are working towards becoming airline pilots, who will be completing the same training in these simulators in the near future. Our presenter and the guide was a Riddle alumni who was now the Director of Safety in the Americas for Airbus and he opened up so many doors for us and gave us an idea of what it’s like to choose this career path.

It is very important to choose the right number of organizations where you know you can handle the workload as you try to manage your academics, personal life and flight training (if it applies to you). It is also important to find a healthy balance between groups that you are passionate about and groups that look good on your resume or for your future career path. You need to give yourself plenty of opportunities where you can take advantage of your organization’s resources and network in order to open doors for yourself and your peers. It is important to know that we have all the resources and the power to shape our own college experience which can drastically shape our career path.

Who doesn’t like cool, free merch?!

My 2016 Travel Map

In 2016, I traveled more than 108,000 kilometers and spent more than 148 hours in the skies! Here are some of the best trips I had over the past 12 months. The ranking is not in order of best flight experience but is rather based on chronology.


My 2016 Travel Map

1. Flying All Over America in One Day
In February, I flew for fun with my friend touching the East Coast, the West Coast and the North of the United States in less than one day. We flew from Orlando to Orlando via Atlanta, San Francisco and Minneapolis.

My ride from Atlanta to Los Angeles.

Flew this type of bird (Boeing 767) between Atlanta and San Francisco and between Minneapolis and Orlando.

2. First Business Trip
In May, I flew on my first business trip just a few days after my first day as an Aircraft Programs Intern at Air Canada. I travelled from Montreal to Seattle for a week.

I got upgraded in Business Class from Toronto-Pearson to Seattle-Tacoma.

I got upgraded in Business Class from Toronto-Pearson to Seattle-Tacoma.

3. Customer Delivery Test Flight
While I was at the Boeing Everett Factory with Air Canada, I had the opportunity to fly on their brand new Boeing 777-300ER (C-FKAU) that was going to be delivered a few days later. We were only between 10 and 15 people on the plane for the flight that lasted a bit more than 2 hours.


View from the jump seat while climbing out of Paine Field.


The Boeing 777-300ER has a wingspan of more than 212 feet.

4. Flying on the Bombardier CSeries Before Commercial Entry Into Service
At the end of June in Montreal, I had the chance to fly on a Bombardier CS100 aircraft during a 45 minute flight for the media. The state-of the-art aircraft is very silent and offers a wide body feeling in the cabin.


FTV5 (Flight Test Vehicle Number 5) with the SWISS livery.


View of the CSeries wing after touchdown.

5. Flying Across the Atlantic to Ireland
After my internship was done, my family and I flew to Ireland for a week vacation.

Starter: smoked trout Niçoise said with roasted garlic aïoli.

Appetizer on the flight to Europe.

6. Weekend in California
During Labor Day weekend, I traveled to Los Angeles for a few days.


The famous Hollywood sign.

Plane spotters love to take pictures at Los Angeles International Airport.

Plane spotters love to take pictures at Los Angeles International Airport.

7. First Time in South America
I flew to Argentina for my first time during Thanksgiving break. This trip from Florida to the Southern tip of the world required many flights.

Boeing 737-800 of Aerolineas Argentinas at Ushuaia airport, the world's southernmost airport.

Boeing 737-800 of Aerolineas Argentinas at Ushuaia airport, the world’s southernmost airport.

What were your best flying memories of 2016? Share them with us below!

Happy Flying!


The Wings Club Gala in NYC

This September, I found out some of the most exciting news of my life, so far. At the beginning of the month, I applied for The Wings Club Scholarship through the ERAU Financial Aid office. A few days after I applied, I received an email saying I was chosen as the recipient of the scholarship. When I read the email, I was grinning from ear to ear. The Wings Club Scholarship is a $30,000 scholarship, and I could not believe that I was the one who had been chosen to receive it!

In addition to the scholarship funds, The Wings Club pays for their winners to attend the Annual Awards Gala in New York City. For those of you who may not be familiar with The Wings Club, I encourage you to check out their website to find more information about the club. It is made up of a large group of aviation executives and professionals from all over the world. When I heard that I was going to be receiving my scholarship in front of 1,200 aviation executives, I was slightly intimidated! Although I was intimidated at first, it quickly turned into excitement. After ordering my dress, booking flights, and researching the event, I could not wait to get to New York!

Luckily, the Gala fell during ERAU’s Fall Break, which allowed me to extend my stay in New York a few extra days. I was able to bring a guest with me, and we had a lot of fun exploring New York City both before and after the Gala.

The Gala was on Friday night, and was at the famous Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in downtown Manhattan. Another student from the Prescott campus also won a scholarship, so we both attended the Gala together. Before the event, we all walked over to the hotel for a pre-Gala silent auction. Once we got to the hotel, we ended up walking into the invite-only Boeing Pre-Party. Everyone was dressed to the nines, and was having a great time. It was incredible to be in the room with the executives of Boeing, all the major airlines, leasing companies, aviation insurance companies, suppliers, and maintenance companies. Needless to say, I was in awe.

After we realized we weren’t really supposed to be at the Pre-Party, we took a look at the silent auction. While we were mingling, I had the chance to meet several ERAU Alumni, who are now major players in the aviation finance industry. I was amazed at how relatable they were, their passion for ERAU, and their success within the industry.

Eventually, we were all escorted into the main ballroom, where we took our seats. I had the pleasure of sitting with other scholarship winners during the event. CNN Aviation Correspondent, Richard Quest, was the MC for the evening. He was hilarious, and welcomed the scholarship winners up on stage early during the event. I was pretty nervous to walk on stage to receive my scholarship, but it was an incredible feeling of accomplishment once I was on stage with the award in my hand.

Lorenzo (Prescott) and I before the event

Lorenzo (Prescott) and I before the event

View of the floor from our seats

View of the floor from our seats

After the scholarships were given out, the Beach Boys surprised everyone with a half an hour concert! It was awesome. It was also cool to see a room full of aviation leaders dancing and singing to the Beach Boys. Once the excitement from the Beach Boys was over, it was time for the main event of the night. Each year The Wings Club chooses someone to receive their Distinguished Achievement Award. This year, retired Boeing President and CEO, Jim McNerney, was the recipient. I loved watching the video about McNerney, as well as hearing about all of his accomplishments. It was an honor to be in the same room with him, and shake his hand after the event was over.

David and I

David and I

Scholarship recipients on stage

Scholarship recipients on stage

Once the event officially ended, we walked around the room and talked with more ERAU Alumni. I was able to talk with several CEOs, an NTSB Board Member, Executive Chairmen, and many more. I was so inspired by their success, but also by their great knowledge of the industry. I was proud to tell them that I attend Embry-Riddle, as it is an institution that is highly regarded in the industry. After we finished mingling around the ballroom, we attended the Airbus After Party. It was fun to see people who are fierce competitors in the aviation world, all having a good time together after the event.

ERAU scholarship recipients with our checks

ERAU scholarship recipients with our checks

Lorenzo and I

Lorenzo and I

I am so grateful for the opportunity to attend the Gala, and am honored to have been chosen as The Wings Club scholarship recipient this year. I am more inspired than ever before, and am excited to enter into a career in aviation.

I encourage you to apply for scholarships through Embry-Riddle, as well as from external donors. You never know what experiences you will be able to have, and how the scholarship will impact your life!

Until next time,


Short Trip to Ottawa and Winnipeg

Last Friday was a holiday for the province of Quebec. Yay, a three day weekend! Friday morning, I from Montreal to Ottawa to visit the Canada Aviation and Space Museum.


Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa, Ontario.

The museum had many artifacts and aircraft on display from WWI and WWII. It was amazing to see how aviation has evolved over time. It started from human-powered aircraft to state-of-the-art commercial airplanes such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the Airbus A350, and the CSeries. If you are a prospective student interested in anything related to aviation, Embry-Riddle is your #1 choice. We offer many degrees and programs such as aeronautical science (pilot), computer and technology, engineering, aviation business, and space. You can consult the complete list of what ERAU has to offer here.

Screen Shot 2016-06-26 at 20.53.55

My flight itinerary generated by The Great Circle Mapper.

After the museum, I headed to the Ottawa MacDonald-Cartier International Airport. I was flying to Winnipeg, MB, then to Toronto-Pearson (Canada’s busiest airport), and finally back to Ottawa on that same day. Unfortunately things did not go as planned as my flight from Ottawa to Toronto got cancelled. A WestJet guest service ambassador told me that the flight cancellation was due to the fact that the crew that was supposed to take us to Toronto was delayed in New York-LaGuardia and had exceeded their duty time. There were no other crew available at that time of the day. The airline gave me a hotel voucher and three food vouchers worth $45 total. I finally arrived home the next day in the afternoon.

Sunset over Ontario on my flight between Winnipeg and Toronto.

Sunset over Ontario on my flight between Winnipeg and Toronto.

You think that was a crazy trip? I did a trip back in February with my friend where we flew nearly to the four corners of the continental United States.

Read it here: Flying All Over America – Part 1 / Part 2

Other than working, eating, and sleeping, I do homework for the online class I am taking this summer. I am taking Leadership as an elective class. We are almost halfway through this 9-week course. I will post a blog soon comparing online classes versus regular classes. They both have their pros and cons.

This week will also be short since it is Canada Day on Friday. Another three day weekend! Americans, you will also get your three day weekend for Independence Day, which is next Monday.

Until next time!


Contact the author at berniern@my.erau.edu

Life in Network Planning

In my last blog, I talked about my summer internship in Network Planning. In this post, I will describe important terms that we use in our department. These terms are  also commonly used in the world of aviation!

Boeing 787-9 (Photo Credits: Air Canada)

Boeing 787-9 (Photo Credits: Air Canada)

Each of the 380 aircraft if our fleet has to undergo different types of maintenance that needs to be performed in order to be airworthy. It can range from simple line maintenance to complex heavy maintenance where the airplane is almost taken completely apart. Air Canada does the overnight maintenance in-house but the other larger maintenance checks are outsourced in other countries around the world. In Network Planning, we have to make sure that we pull out the necessary number of aircraft out of the fleet so it can go to maintenance.

Turnaround Times
Turnaround time is the period of time from when an aircraft arrives at the gate of a station (airport) to the time the aircraft is ready to depart from the gate for another flight. The turnaround time usually depends on the type of aircraft that is being handled on the ground. Fueling, catering, baggage and passengers loading/unloading is done during this time. Our smallest aircraft, the Beechcraft 1900D needs 20 minutes to turnaround. On the other side, our Boeing 777-300ER needs more than 120 minutes of minimum ground time. For airlines, it is important for their aircraft to be on the ground for the shortest amount of time possible. The more the aircraft is the air, the more they can generate revenue.

Most airlines have one or more hubs where they operate most of their flights. Air Canada’s largest hub is Toronto-Pearson. Our job in Network Planning is to ensure that most passenger will be able to go to the destination of their choice in our route network. For example, if you are flying out of Daytona Beach International Airport, your only options is to either fly to Atlanta, Charlotte, or New York-JFK. At these airports, the flights are timed to allow passengers to connect to another flight to eventually bring them to their final destination.

Departure Times
Some of our flights have an optimal departure time for local traffic while other flights are timed for connectivity. Air Canada flies between Montreal and Toronto at every hour during weekdays and even at every 30 minutes during peak hours. When we operate more than one daily flight per day to a city, we usually spread the flights throughout the day. Business travelers usually enjoy taking a flight early in the morning and return at the end of the day after their meetings.

Aircraft Types
Aircraft limitations are taken into account when we assign a plane to a route. For example a 70-seater regional jet cannot fly from North America to Europe because it simply does not have the range to do such missions. We fly the Airbus A319 to Mexico City (7,300 ft. of elevation) because this aircraft performs well at high temperatures and high altitudes.

Passenger Load Factor
The passenger load factor (PLF) can be described as “how full is the plane in terms of seats occupied.” The load factor can be calculated by dividing the RPMs by the ASMs on a particular route or for the whole network. You can also calculate the PLF by dividing the number of revenue passengers onboard by the number of available seats on the aircraft.

You are now an aviation expert! If you are interested in Network Planning, you should definitely take the Airline Management (BA 315) class on campus. This course is very interesting if you are an aviation passionate like me.

If you have any questions or comments regarding my internship, you can reach me at the email address listed below. I will be happy and glad to answer your questions!

Until next time!


Contact the author at berniern@my.erau.edu

The JetBlue Experience

About a week ago, during the day of Halloween, I had the opportunity to fly on JetBlue Airways for the first time. In this story, I will share my experience with you.

One thing I found I learned about JetBlue is that it is a low-cost carrier that still provides a good inflight service to its customers. Unlike some other air carriers of this type, passengers do not have to pay an extra fee for drinks and snacks. On my 2 hour flight from Orlando (MCO) to New York (JFK), the passengers had a choice of six different snacks. Another thing that I thought was interesting is that the airline does not use carts in the alley of the cabin. Those carts are heavy and in the way of the crew and of the passengers when they want to walk around the cabin. If there are no galley carts, I do you get a drink? A flight attendant goes row by row and ask the passengers which refreshment they would like. It is like in a restaurant, the flight attendant writes on a paper the drink the passenger asked and matched it to its seat number. A few minutes later, another flight attendant comes in the aisle holding a tray of the drinks the customers ordered. It is the first time I see this kind of method to distribute drinks. This process is probably faster and does not block the aisle entirely during the service, since it does not require a cart.

The flight from JFK to Boston was a short 35 minute flight and we were only offered two snacks, and a bottled water or Coca Cola. The airline calls it “JetBlue’s Express Service!”

Few minutes after takeoff from runway 31L at JFK.

A few minutes after takeoff from runway 31L at JFK.

JetBlue also offers inflight entertainment in the form of small screens behind every seat. Passengers can enjoy up to 100 channels on DirecTV and on Sirius XM Radio at no additional cost. Movies are available for $5 on the continental United States, but are free when flying outside the country. The airline also offers free internet service in the air. This feature is available on most aircraft in the fleet.

Before flight, the crew usually says to the passengers to enjoy their flight, but JetBlue does it differently, and instead says “we hope you enjoy the JetBlue Experience with us today.” I would recommend my readers to fly JetBlue Airways since I definitely appreciated the experience!

Next week, I am heading to Las Vegas for the 2015 NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition. The event welcomes 1,000 exhibitors and close to 100 business aircraft on the static display.