November 3rd, 2008

Hello again, it’s November! I can’t believe it, one more month and the fall semester is over. I’m a little sad that this is my last semester taking aviation related classes. I’m going to miss the enthusiasm from the teachers and their wonderful flying stories. This semester has truly been amazing.

Flight technique analysis has been a worthwhile class, and the best is yet to come! This week, we are starting the application part of the course. This is where crews of 5 people get together and simulate several situations using the Aerosim program. Aerosim is flight sim times a million. It is super accurate and realistic. The cockpit is an actual picture taken from a real 747-400 and every button and switch works just like the real one. The point of these sim sessions on the computer is to tie everything we have learned in my past 3 years at Riddle together. Every student has an opportunity to be in a pilot position, while the others play the role of air traffic control, dispatch, and the lead flight attendant. It should be a wonderful learning experience. The neat thing about the sim sessions is that it takes the place of a final exam. We are graded on how well we work as a crew, handle an emergency, and get 400 people on the ground safety in a timely manner. Where else can you say you played flight sim for a final? Truly awesome!

In flight management systems, we use the same Aerosim program used in flight technique, but we learn the specifics on how to use the automation. The first 3 tests were over how to properly fly the 747-400 using the autopilot. There was one written test, and two practical tests using the simulator. I love it! It is such a great learning environment to actually see how every thing works through Aerosim. Last week, we started to learn how to program the flight management system. This is the little computer that holds all of the information relating to the flight; truly the heart of any aircraft operation. I can’t wait to see just how much can be accomplished with this equipment!

Crew resource management is also way above my expectations for a college class. Last week, we had crew led discussions. This is where 3 students run the class and are in charge of starting a discussion on a specific topic. This was so much fun. Our topic was how time and task management is important in the cockpit. Because of the fact that I am a flight instructor, I talk in front of people everyday. Therefore, I love giving group presentations and leading the class. You learn so much from everyone when you lead a classroom discussion.

Last week I took my second test in flight safety. I have learned so much from this class. It is a perfect example of a class that is focused on the students learning as much as possible with out any tricks. The tests are straight forward and allow to you leave with knowledge that will stay with you forever.

Finally, I had my third test in airline dispatch last week. Whew, what an interesting one. It was over aircraft performance. I was given weather, an aircraft, weights of cargo and people, and a bunch of other information relating to the flight. From that, I had to determine how much fuel we needed on board, how much we could weigh at take-off and landing, climb data, etc. Tons of fun! It was an intense test, but I did really well. The reason I aced it was because of the performance class I took last year. This is a perfectly good example of how Riddle provides you with information that you will never forget. I didn’t do a performance problem for over a year, and I still remembered 75 percent of the information. I was truly shocked. I hardly had to study for this test because most of the knowledge was already in my head.

Finally, I just want to say just how much fun I’m having being a flight instructor. I flew every day last week at sunset! It was probably the most amazing week of flying in my life. The weather was clear skies and about 65 degrees. This proves that I truly love my life at Embry-Riddle and I would not change a thing!

Well I hope everyone has a great start to November. I am starting to get sad that my senior year is almost half way over! I still can’t believe it. Well, it’s time for me to start my day. I have two classes to go and I’m flight instructing for most of the night. Have a great day everyone!

September 22, 2008

Hello everyone, it feels so good to be back at school and getting into the swing of things. This year is going to be filled with fun and excitement, as well as knowledge that will help me succeed in many years to come. I am finishing up my last year in college and teaching young students the wonderful world of flight, what more can I ask for? I love my life!

As a senior here at Embry-Riddle, I have already taken all of my general education classes, as well as most of my Aeronautical Science/Flight courses. Because of the fact that I received my private pilot license before I came to Embry-Riddle, I was able to obtain all of my pilot’s licenses by my junior year. This has allowed me to focus on my class work and gain an abundance of knowledge from teaching others how to fly. What an experience! This past year has been very rewarding, and I look forward to what my senior year will unfold.

This semester, I am taking my last five Aeronautical Science classes. It’s going to be a blast! These are the capstone classes of the program and they will provide me with the knowledge I will need to succeed in the professional aviation environment. These classes include Airline Dispatch, Aviation Safety, Flight Management Systems, Crew Resource Management, and Flight Technique and Analysis.

Airline Dispatch is the capstone course for a program we have at Embry-Riddle known as the dispatcher program. A dispatcher is someone that works for an airline who prepares all of the paperwork for a flight. Some of the paperwork includes the route of flight, a review of the weather along the flight, and filling out a flight plan. This is something great for a pilot to have, because if he/she is working for an airline and is suddenly unable to fly, you can turn to your dispatcher certificate. This is a great back-up plan to have in your pocket in the aviation industry. I have really enjoyed this program and it is very enlightening. Most of the required courses are already built into the Aeronautical Science program. You only have to take a few required electives to qualify to take the dispatcher exam. If any you are interested, see your academic advisor for details.

My next class is Aviation Safety. All I can say is WOW! Our professor was a Marine and Naval aviator with thousands of hours of fighter experience. He also flew F-4 phantoms in Top Gun! The stories he shares with the class are truly amazing, especially how he can relate it back to the subject matter. This is definitely one of my favorite classes here at Riddle. In Aviation Safety, we investigate previous accidents and talk about how to prevent them in the future. I look forward to what I will learn this semester from others mistakes.

Flight Management Systems is also a very interesting class. Here we learn how to operate all of the computer systems and autopilot in a Boeing 747-400. It is truly amazing how accurate the Aerosim program is to programming a real 747-400’s computers. We practice loading routes of flight into the system and flying simulated flights using the autopilot. Since most of the airline and corporate world is operated using autopilot, this is a very valuable skill to have.

Another useful skill I will learn this semester is how to fly an aircraft in a two pilot cockpit. Crew Resource Management teaches us the special skill of how to work together and provide the passengers with a safe flying environment. General aviation pilots need this training because we are used to operating an aircraft that requires one pilot. This skill works great in small aircraft, but once you begin flying large transport category aircraft, the workload in the cockpit increases tremendously. Therefore, you need to know how to divide up the duties in the cockpit in a safe, yet efficient manner. This class is going to provide me with this skill.

Finally, the last course I am taking this semester is Flight Technique and Analysis. This course is the capstone course of the entire Aeronautical Science program. It takes everything I have learned over the past 3 years and ties it together into one. We use the Aerosim program just like FMS, except we perform actual flight scenarios in a crew environment. We learn how to deal with emergencies, weather, and passenger problems. The flights that we will fly are identical to scenarios an airline would present to their new hire pilots. I am very excited to see how this course will tie everything together, and provide me with a means to succeed in the real world.

As the semester continues I will give you an update on each class and talk more about the wonderful world of flight instructing. Until then, stay motivated, work hard, and fly safe!