This summer has been an awesome one so far. Catching up on sun rays, getting some flying in and working has been on the schedule lately… but mostly flying! I’ve been flying the C172/180hp and the Citabria 7GCAA and 7ECA. I think I’m addicted to tailwheels, but I’m completely OK with that. The airport has been quiet lately! Weather has not been CAVU (Ceiling And Visibility Unlimited), but luckily it’s been staying pretty warm here in San Diego.
Another side note to me.. in case some of you didn’t know, modeling is my other life. I started modeling when I was about 15 and have been doing it ever since. I can’t do as much when I am away at school, so during breaks it’s all I am doing. It’s definitely a fresh of breath air away from the college life. I get to work with all different kinds of incredible people, do awesome things, go to unique places (kind of like aviation, huh?)… and well, I love every part of it.
So, what’s going on this week?
Well, besides yoga and getting some sun, I’ll be up in Los Angeles for a few photo shoots and will be flying later on in the week. I’m loving this flying club and all it’s benefits, so if you’re already a pilot and not sure whether or not you should go to your local flight school as apposed to a flying club- join a club. The benefits and privileges outweigh any local flight school. For real. It took me about three and a half years to realize that. If you want to learn more, you can email me at GIANNOTW@MY.ERAU.EDU. I’m loving this huge airplane selection I now have! Especially, well, when I can get my hands on a few tailwheels.. you could say I am a bit spoiled. 🙂
Short but sweet today, I have a huge week ahead of me.
Keep squawking the blog!
This is probably the only blog from an Embry-Riddle student who started two first days at this University, 5 years apart.
Sometimes it’s hard to imagine that one year ago, I was a Key West trolley tour guide. I entertained tourists with facts of the island and repeated the same corny jokes to them every day, sometimes with a few originals. Chances are good that if you visited Key West and rode on an orange and green trolley over the past year, I was your bus driver and guide. I also drove the Key West haunted tours, a type of meet and greet with Key West characters like Robert the doll as well as the other types of spirits….not necessarily the ones found in haunted houses. I found myself living on the island by accident. I went to be a dog sitter for two weeks and ended staying almost a year! You might say I caught what the locals call the “Keys Disease” and it’s hard to resist. People come for a visit but never leave. It’s said on the island that if you show up to work every day, you have a job. If two weeks later you’re still showing up on time, they’ll make you the manager. Well, sure enough, the dog left town with its owner and I stayed. As well as being a tour guide, I worked other side jobs such as newspaper delivery boy, bakeshop dishwasher, and event security (a.k.a. bouncer).
The island life was a relaxing and good one. It is hard to resist the sunniest place in Florida with the least amount of rain. It ‘s truly Paradise except, endless renditions of Jimmy Buffett songs blaring down from Duval Street. One day I woke up with one more hangover and realized I wasn’t moving forward with my life. It was time for me to progress forward on my flight plan for life.
This was the culmination of a restlessness that I tried to resolve, and it brought me through many different experiences. These included several semesters at a state university, a shopkeeper in South Beach, and an unpaid Internship for Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in DC. This was right after I withdrew myself from Embry Riddle; I wanted to try something different in life. But my passions drew me back.
On August 27, 2012, my second first day of college began. Once again excited to be making progress, living in campus dorms, and starting from where I had left off, but more focused on my degree: Aviation Business Administration. In one week, I will be curing my desires, dusting off the backpack and train hopping across Europe to appease my wandering soul. In one month, I will be attending classes with the Study Abroad program in Berlin, and in one year, I will be an Embry-Riddle alumnus. It’s a long way from the old island life, and it feels great!
Woah. Where has the year gone? I’m officially done with my freshman year of college. So much has happened in one year. I left home with two suitcases (to have one actually stolen when landing at MCO) and a vision in mind; I made friends, acquaintances, a networking web, a new life for myself. I’m amazed at how fast it has all gone- how fast life is going. It’s incredible, really. I would not be where I am today if I had never attended Embry-Riddle. It’s made me grow into the woman and the pilot I am today.
There is a saying that goes, “Don’t get so busy trying to make a living that you forget to make a life.” What I’ve learned this year? You’ve got to commit yourself to making mistakes – they teach you lessons. You have to find hard work you love doing. You also have to accept and embrace change. And unless you’re trying to make a good impression while interviewing for a job, you don’t have the time to care what others think about you. What is important is how you feel about yourself. You’ve got to ask questions. Most importantly- do what moves you, what shakes you to the bone. Refuse to recite the following: “How the heck am I going to do this for the next 30 years?”
See, there is this magnetic north that we think we have to follow. We have to keep our compass lined up or else we will feel as if we are lacking. Society tells us that if we don’t stay up to par on a materialistic, fake course then we are not successful. What is being successful? You can sort that out yourself. For me, it’s working hard and loving every minute of what I do. My love for aviation gets stronger by the day, the minute.. and it’s led me to other passions and interests that I didn’t even think I had. The qualities aviation has given me have branched out into other spectrums that I didn’t believe to be a reality until I followed them. Life gets more interesting by the minute- if you allow it. But if you follow this drawn out course your society, your peers tell you to follow- you will lose sight of your true north. Refuse to get so off course to where you don’t know how to get back again, because the farther an aircraft gets off course, the longer the time and the bigger the angle it takes to intercept back. Do not get so busy trying to make a living that you forget to make a life.
Warning: Don’t stand too close to the prop! But it needs loving too 🙂
I am now back in San Diego for a four month long summer. A possible internship here in San Diego is on the horizon (good thing I went to Sun N Fun) and I plan on learning some more aerobatics. Proposed: I may be going to Greece in August. I’m keeping the summer a fun and relaxing one..you know, before I have to start doing ‘big people’ stuff.
I recently shot for my sponsor Scheyden Precision Eyewear. Here are some behind the scene photos 🙂
Blue Skies and Endless Horizons
POSITION: KLAL (Lakeland Regional Airport, FL)
This past week I went to Sun ‘n Fun, the second largest airshow in the nation! It was a ton of fun and I definitely went back to my dorm with a not-so-fun sunburn. I met a ton of interesting pilots, saw unique aircraft I have never seen before and I was exposed to so many different sides of aviation all at once. THIS was aviator heaven- and a definite perk of going to school on the East Coast. Enjoy the photos!
As you can see, I definitely enjoyed the airshow. This week is my last week of the semester here at Embry-Riddle. I have two papers due and six tests on the clock. Not to mention, packing up my stuff and shipping some back to California! I’ve got a fun summer planned ahead- full of aerobatic flying, working with my sponsor Scheyden Precision Eyewear, and a possible internship opportunity back home in San Diego! I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
More on the horizon!
Blue Skies ✈
Aerial torpedoes in the belly of a B-25
We had our new member initiation today! We gained four new beautiful Sigma sisters 🙂
Something I realized after reflecting back on this past busy week: We all have these alarm clocks that we tend to worry about as we go throughout our days. Getting this done, having to do that, wanting to do this, hoping to do that. Living life like a checklist. Working hard so we can get to our play faster. Normally, when we hear an alarm go off, it brings negative reminders of things we have to get done that day. But what if for once, you lived in the now and saw each alarm as another chance to be the best version of yourself? If you allow yourself to see every day as a new chance, a new horizon, your alarm clock is no longer a dreaded sound- but rather a beckoning call to be the most alive, passionate, extraordinary you. You’re either in full HP or you’re not. After all, who wants to go through life with a coughing, dull engine? Get up tomorrow, today, or whenever you read this and take it as an opportunity to be alive.The start is now.
See you at Sun ‘n Fun
Well, I have now returned to school from an on-the-whim Spring Break trip back home to San Diego! As most of you know, I was fortunate to have a 10 day Spring Break and be able to attend the Women in Aviation Conference held in Nashville, Tennessee! Wow. I can’t even begin to describe how awesome of an experience it was. I was in aviator heaven. From Boeing to Gulfstream to Virgin Air to XOJet to AOPA to Walmart Aviation to Delta to United to FedEx to UPS to name a few.. I guess you could say I was a little overwhelmed. Meeting pilots and company representatives from all over the world was nothing more than humbling. Honestly, I never truly realized how much there is to aviation until I attended this conference.
From banquets, to FedEx chocolates, to having lunch with the Women in Aviation Chapter from Ghana, Africa, to Women in Corporate Aviation and Setting Your Stage for Success meetings, to just spending time with the girls in the Women in Aviation Chapter here at ERAU, this was an experience that I will take with me for a life time. Walking into the main Exhibit Hall at the Opryland Resort Convention Center, there was this overwhelming feeling I had- like I was a part of a family. Ok, ok, maybe that sounds weird, but there’s just this sudden connection you seem to have when you know everyone that possesses the same interests are all in the same room as you. I met some incredible and inspirational women and left with stories that I will take with me throughout the aviation world for many years to come. There’s this incredible ladder called aviation and I’m loving every moment in climbing it.
I got to spend a great deal of time with family and catching up with my beloved city. Not to mention- real Mexican food! I miss home, but it was definitely fun running around being a tourist in my own town for the week I was back. Now it’s time to finish out these last 4 weeks strong!
While being at the Women in Aviation Conference, a quote that I read on the plane ride home from BNA back to SAN struck me: “It’s better to be at the bottom of the ladder you want to climb than at the top of the one you don’t” – Stephen Kellogg
I immediately thought, ‘Wow. I don’t think I could have read that quote at a better time.’ Whether it’s through a job or getting a degree, we’re all climbing a ladder, but only some of us are climbing the ones we truly want to climb. Some of us climb ladders because others expect us to or it is the one that has simply presented itself in front of us. Whether it’s parents, friends, or society who tells you what ladder to climb- I want to know: are you climbing the ladder for yourself, or others? Let’s take a detour; in aviation terms, RVR is a means of visibility (Runway Visual Range). It is the distance which the pilot of an aircraft on the center line of the runway can see the runway markings so the plane can be landed in safe visibility. Some of us can see a reward at the top of our ladders so we quickly and eagerly climb the rungs to get the trophy; the job title, the degree. Yet we don’t see that starting a journey in and of itself is a reward we have already proclaimed. It’s not about the ultimate satisfaction at the end, it’s the juiciness inside the middle of the sandwich. RVR is great, don’t get me wrong, and you may be able to see the end of a certain ladder, but that doesn’t mean it’s yours. Your ladder may be scary, tall, frightening with minimal visibility as to what is at the top. Let that fear be your reassurance, because once you take that first step, you will open up a world of reward that you could have never imagined and I can guarantee you that nothing is more exciting than following not your parents, not your friends, not society’s ladder laid out for you, but rather your own. Trust me. It’s much taller.
To the starting end of the semester and my first year in college –