Lots of Packing and and Unpacking

Hello readers!

I do apologize for not writing sooner – it’s been a crazy few weeks. I completed my internship with Gulfstream about a week ago and today is the first day of classes back at ERAU!

I’m just so thrilled to have had such an amazing time at Gulfstream this summer. Now that my internship has come to a close, I don’t have very busy days; I’m simply finishing reports and data collection, which is a little different from my earlier task load. I’m used to having lots and lots to do and due dates to keep track of. But now it’s very calm and simple, which I can’t complain about, really. But that still doesn’t mean I’m not busy. I’m incredibly busy when I get home. If you haven’t moved before or moved by yourself at all, you’re in for a real treat. Packing up and unpacking all of your belongings is quite a feat.

I’m sitting in my apartment now, just looking around at all of my stuff. I don’t think you ever realize how much stuff you actually have until you have to pack it all up and move. I’m currently in the state where I don’t even have boxes taped together and am just sitting, anxiously hoping that somehow all of my stuff will magically pack itself, like a spell from Harry Potter. We’re not so lucky in our muggle world.

I know that moving to a new place, especially a school where you probably don’t know anyone (just like me my freshman year), trust me when I say that it’ll turn out better than you plan. Your room will be planned out just like you wanted it to be (or even better!), your RA will be awesome, and you’ll make friends that you’ll have for the rest of your life. My best friends are people I lived with in the dorms my freshman year. They were and still are my lifeline.

I’ll keep this one brief and keep you posted with the final ending to my time at Gulfstream (for now!).

Stay tuned for another update on the first few days of classes for my last semester as an undergrad!

Blue skies,


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!


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!)

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,


Density Altitude is Real

Hello again, my fellow aviation enthusiasts.

It’s week 2 of being back at Gulfstream since returning from the Air Race Classic. Needless to say, there’s a transition that I’m still stuck in even 9 days after returning. No one, except my mom, told me that there is such a big difference between work and school ethic. School consumes every single second of every day for me. This past semester, I was up at 0445, flying by 0630, class from 0915-1300, working from 1330-1700, at group or individual flight team practice from 1715-1915, and then homework. Forget a social life. Luckily my best friends live with me so we make time to have fun at home.

Now granted, not everyone’s schedule is like this; I choose this crazy busy life, it didn’t choose me. But this gives you an idea of how busy of a schedule that I’m used to. Now, transition here to today. I’m working from 0730-1600 on average and then head home. To do what? Well, I make myself do things. Clean the apartment, write CFI lesson plans, apply for scholarships, apply for jobs, laundry, fun crafts, learning to curl my hair with a straightener, try perfecting a new recipe, FaceTime the dog back home while doing the dishes. But what does this all mean? Why should you care? I am living proof that the way you shape your own college experience (hopefully with us at ERAU!) shapes you into the working adult you will become. Through my choices of classes, clubs, teams, and friends, I have been able to teach myself time management,  self-discipline, self-motivation, stress management, when to call it quits, and of course how to have fun.

The picture above is me and my race partner, Abbie, taking off from Prescott, Arizona.

Pilots always talk about the effects of Density Altitude on aircraft performance. We teach it and discuss it, but you don’t know what you’re up against until you have to deal with it first hand. I’ll try and explain it to the best of my abilities in the simplest terms. Density altitude is the altitude at which your engine thinks that it’s flying. So out in Arizona in the mountains on a hot summer day, as I experienced during the Air Race this year, the density altitude could easily be upwards of 7000-8000 feet. In that case, the engine produces the same amount of power as if it were flying at 7000 or 8000 feet above the ground along the shoreline, except you may be only 2000 feet above the ground in Arizona. Basically the engine isn’t producing the full power that we would like during climb. It takes a little longer to get the airplane off the ground and the climb is slow and gradual. The airplane feels sluggish. To describe going from race mode, a constant “Go! Go! Go! Go, Quick Turn!” attitude and mentality, back to a normal schedule feels like I’m constantly fighting with density altitude. Getting up and ready in the morning takes me a little longer; driving to work, the flow of traffic is frustratingly slow; gathering information from others feels sluggish. Those may not be the best examples, but I guess we can say that we all fight density altitude in our lives everyday, somehow.

I hope you’ve enjoyed following along on a little tidbit of my thoughts over the last day and are looking forward to the next post!

Until next time, blue skies and tailwinds!