RA Life, AFROTC, & Rest

Happy December everyone! Finals are over!!! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, but in a few hours I’ll be in Orlando departing from MCO, then I’ll be heading back home to Norfolk, Virginia. 

Just a brief recap of fall 2018 before the new year and spring semester begins: This has single-handedly been the most challenging semester of my life, but I passed all of my finals and my classes, friends, so thank you so much for the support. Key shout-outs here go to the boxing girls and my best friend Obie wan.

Many students have already left Daytona, but RAs are the last ones to leave (as well as the first ones back) as we do health and safety inspections and have to check all the rooms to prepare our residence halls for shutting down and for opening back up to residents. Fret not though, this process only takes a few days and after that is freedom. 

I am so excited to be able to relax over break. I’m sure it will be filled with all the things I love and only get to have sparingly while I’m in college, including but not limited to: lots of working out, home cooked meals with fresh vegetables, yoga (YESSS), seeing my best friend home from college, living walkable distance from the beach, my dog Kita, and also my family. I may read a book for leisure, shocking I know, as well as listen to lots of music. I also will be sleeping in glutenous amounts and will be going to all my favorite local coffee shops. Taking a break every once in a while is so well needed and deserved for both students, professors, and faculty. Everyone has been working so hard since August, we all really deserve this chance to reset, relax, and recharge before the spring.

Next semester in AFROTC will be Field Training Preparation which is extremely exciting as well because after that comes Field Training during the summer, which is one step closer to commissioning and graduation. Field Training in a nut shell is essentially a 15 day “boot camp” which is very strenuous and is a required step to complete before GMC (General Military Course) underclassman become POC (Professional Officer Course) upperclassman in fall 2019. Over Thanksgiving my early Christmas present was new running shoes and, although I feel I’ve broken them in, as soon as next semester hits I will probably rethink that.  

Some of my family from AFROTC and me after our final Pass in Review ceremony of the semester

Also here’s a picture from when I contracted around this time last year and swore into the United States Air Force, which if I haven’t mentioned before, was an absolutely amazing experience and I 10/10 recommend.

But for now, we are in break and de-stress mode and I will continue to get through the holidays with an open mind, lots of exercising and stretching, and good food. I miss cooking so much, but one thing I do not miss though is the cold weather. Perhaps I’ll have a white Christmas in Virginia? I do prefer the moderate climates a bit more though, as per expected with the majority of my year spent in Florida and other hot places.

For everyone traveling this holiday season, or even just driving a few minutes away, remember to de-stress and relax over break and state safe. Will report back soon! Happy holidays and almost happy new year!

Flying All Over America – Part 2

I hope you guys enjoyed Part 1 of my long trip across the United States. In the second part, I will cover the rest of the trip from San Francisco to Orlando with a connecting stop in Minneapolis.

Due to our long delay back in Atlanta, we had less time to spend at San Francisco International Airport than expected. We used our time wisely to walk around the terminal/concourse. Below is a gallery of the pictures of some of the planes we saw:

After our quick tour, we boarded the plane for Minneapolis. Shortly after takeoff, we were served complimentary beverages and snacks, and I ordered the new Luvo chicken wrap the airline made available at 30,00 feet in the past few weeks. It was very good! For the remaining duration of the flight, I worked on homework while listening to music. I also took pictures of the outside sceneries over Utah and Wyoming.

Ski station over the state of Wyoming

A ski station over the state of Wyoming.

Somewhere over Wyoming!

Somewhere over Wyoming!

Arrived in MSP, I thought it felt like when I arrive in Montreal! It is cold and there is snow. Ironically, it was colder in Atlanta than in Minneapolis. Jack showed me a cool place in Concourse D. We went up in an observatory over the terminal where we can see the airline’s ramp operations. Our plane from California landed about half an hour earlier so we were fortunate to have more time to explore the airport of Minneapolis. It was my first time at MSP so my friend showed me around (close to the whole airport). It was night by the time we landed so I couldn’t take any photos due to the reflection in the windows.

Last leg of the day: MSP to MCO.

Last leg of the day: MSP to MCO.

For the last leg of the trip to the Sunshine State, we both got upgraded to First Class. The plane was quite empty where there were even 2 front seats that were unoccupied and all most of the Comfort+ seats empty. It is the first time of the day that I started to get tired after a long day. I was happy to have made through the whole day. I actually thought I would be tired after the long transcontinental flight from ATL to SFO, but I wasn’t.

Upgraded to First Class on our flight between MSP and MCO. For dinner was a tomato basil soup, followed by a salmon with basmati rice, and a toffee almond cookie for dessert.

Upgraded to First Class on our flight between MSP and MCO. For dinner was a tomato basil soup, followed by salmon with basmati rice, and a toffee almond cookie for dessert.

Since 6:00AM of that morning flight, I have kept most of the complimentary snacks the flight attendants passed around. I had quite a large collection by the last flight!

I accumulated many snacks over the day!

I accumulated many snacks over the day!

Overall, we had flown 5,500 miles while sitting around 17 hours on an aircraft during a timespan of 18 hours. That is a lot of flying! We calculated that we paid less than 30 cents per minute (~$17 per hour) to fly around the country in one day! It was definitely worth it! I hope I will fly again this year on a crazier trip than this one if possible!

On our way back to Florida after a long day of flying!

On our way back to Florida after a long day of flying!

Until next time!

Nicolas


Contact the author at berniern@my.erau.edu

Flying All Over America – Part 1

Hello!

This past Saturday, I flew over 21 states over the United States in less than 24 hours. I did this long trip with my friend Jack, who is also a student journal writer for Embry-Riddle. What was the purpose of this trip? We wanted to fly together just for fun. We would also accumulate more than 5,000 miles on this long journey.

Here was our planned itinerary: Orlando (MCO) – Atlanta (ATL) – San Francisco (SFO) – Minneapolis (MSP) – Orlando (MCO). In Part 1 of this exciting story, I will cover the flight segments until SFO. The remaining two flights until we land in MCO will be covered in Part 2.

Long flight ahead: ATL to SFO.

Long flight ahead: ATL to SFO.

Our day started very early has we had to drive to catch a 6:00AM flight in Orlando. The first flight to Atlanta was just over an hour from wheels up to touchdown. The thing I like about early morning flights is that you can see the sunrise from above.

When we arrived at the busiest airport of the world, we did not have much time to connect to for our next flight. Fortunately, our arriving flight and our departing flight were in the same concourse, so we did not have to take the Plane Train.

For the transcontinental flight to San Francisco, we were onboard a Boeing 767-300ER with one of Delta’s international configuration featuring lie-flat beds. I wished we got upgraded to the front cabin! We were seated in the first row of Comfort+ at an exit row, so we had plenty of legroom and space to walk around during the duration of the flight.

Delta has a crew base in SFO and uses this aircraft (B767-300ER) for transcontinental flights to New York-JFK and Atlanta.

Delta has a crew base in SFO and uses this aircraft (B767-300ER) for transcontinental flights to New York-JFK and Atlanta.

All the passengers were settled in their seat for an on-time departure when the captain announced a delay due to a problem with the main door. The door could not close and maintenance had to replace a part. The missing part of the door took a long time to arrive at the aircraft and it lead to a delay of about an hour before we got cleared for pushback.

My friend Jack and I are discussing with the flight crew while we were waiting for maintenance to repair a part on the main door.

My friend Jack and I are discussing with the flight crew while we were waiting for maintenance to repair a part on the main door.

In the mean time, we were granted permission by one of the flight attendants to go check out the flight deck. We spent about 45 minute talking with the first officer about aviation. The time went by fast and we returned to our seats because the airplane was ready to leave the gate.

The first officer's notes before the flight.

The first officer’s notes before the flight.

During the flight, we worked on a project for our Airline-Airport Operations class. We had to select an airport or airline and write a report on it. We were actually productive on that flight and did homework! As we approached the state of California, the flight attendants made a trivia to the passengers asking four questions related to the Super Bowl. The folks who got the most right answers would win a bottle of wine (I wished the question would be related on Delta!).

The attendants on our flight to SFO made a trivia with questions related to the Super Bowl. The passengers who got the correct answers got a bottle of wine!

The flight attendants on our flight to SFO made a trivia with questions related to the Super Bowl.

When we booked the trip at the beginning of the semester, we did not know it was during the Super Bowl weekend. At first, we thought the airport in San Francisco would be crowded, but it was not! At least for the time we were there.

Story to follow in Part 2!

Nicolas


Contact the author at berniern@my.erau.edu