About Mike


Aeronautical Science

College Decisions!

Hello all!

Being a senior about to graduate, I feel I can look back and reflect on my decision to come here. Furthermore, I hope to share this decision with you to help better make yours.

As I have said in the past, I have always wanted to fly as long as I can remember. In 8th Grade, Google was becoming the big thing, and I searched “Number One Flight School in America.” Among the top search hits was Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. I had never heard of this school, however they kept putting quotes on their website saying, “Most advanced flying fleet”, and “A quarter of all Airline Pilots studied at Embry Riddle.” It was these types of statements that had me interested in the school in general. Like I have told you before, I am from Syracuse, NY and the Daytona Beach Campus is much closer than the Prescott, AZ campus. However, I decided to check out the Prescott Campus for two reasons. First, I have family in the Phoenix area and wanted to be closer to them. Second, because of flying, I looked for the diversity in high altitude operations that Prescott has to offer.images

In 10th grade I flew out to Arizona and toured the school. As soon as I stood on the campus I was convinced this was where I wanted to study. The mountains, the campus, the smaller town feeling, I knew this was a place where I could be successful. The tour guides where more than helpful, and my Admissions Counselor Bryan Doughtery (Now Dean of Enrollment Management) also showed me every option I had at Embry Riddle. With that knowledge in hand, I applied in 11th grade and got an early acceptance.

One last choice I made was to attend Accepted Student Preview Day before coming in the fall. Preview Day is essentially a tour on steroids. All the labs, all the professors, all the facilities are open to only the accepted students to give you more of an idea of what being a student here is all about. You can get your student ID card, and make your schedule even. It was exciting to get into the mind set of attending college. This year’s Accepted Student Preview Day is March 28th, 2015 hope you can attend! For me though, after August of 2011 the rest is history and I am very happy with everything that I have accomplished here.10291074_10152428853030849_830597874819095158_n

Finally, I will provide you some suggestions to better put your mind at ease about choosing this school. Firstly, ask yourself is this really what you want to do? If yes, then Embry-Riddle will provide the tools to make that dream a reality. Secondly, are you willing to put forth the effort during the good times and the bad? Honestly, it is not all a picnic getting a college degree at any school, and you need to have the vision to get to where you want to go, no matter what. Finally, I suggest you visit multiple schools. If I could change anything about my college making process, it is that I did not visit any school other than Embry-Riddle. That said, at the end of the day, ERAU is the best at what they do and that was what I wanted.

Overall four years later, I am very happy with my decision to come to this school. I will always recommend it to anyone interested in the programs Embry-Riddle has to offer.

I wish the best for you on your journey of making what is the biggest decision of your lift so far. A blog on my Spring Break in the Caribbean to come soon! Take care!


Prescott by week, LA by weekend!

Hello all! It sure has been a “rough” winter here in Prescott with most of our daily highs getting above 60 degrees, and of course more of that glorious sunshine! That was one of the reasons I choose to come to this school, and might be one for you as well!

As I mentioned in my previous post, there are a lot of travel opportunities to get you out of Prescott if that is how you would like to spend your weekends. A little over a week ago, during the first full weekend of February some of my friends and I went to Los Angeles for a few days. From Prescott to LA by car is only about a 6-7 hour drive, assuming traffic is good in the LA area. (No traffic to worry about in Prescott!) However be advised, it is quite a bit of driving. When we were all done we drove almost 1,200 miles! At least gas is cheap.

Since all of my friends and I are pilots, we naturally tried to find a hotel that would give us a view of LAX and their incoming airplanes. If this interests any of you, the LAX Renaissance Hotel is one I would recommend! It was far enough away that no engine noise kept us up, but also close enough to see the action. If you face the north, you’ll have a really good view of 24L and 24R.  Furthermore we decided to go to the Santa Monica Pier for a part of the evening. In which after that we took a drive down to where I used to spend my summers, San Clemente, CA. Personally my favorite town in all of So Cal but maybe I’m biased. Beachfire restaurant has great food if you’re ever in the area!

United 787 on Short Final

United 787 on Short Final

China Southern Cargo 777 about to touchdown!

China Southern Cargo 777 about to touchdown!

Singapore A380-800

Singapore A380-800

Santa Monica Pier on a Saturday Night!

Santa Monica Pier on a Saturday Night!

I had to remember the real reason we went to California was for the USA vs. Panama Soccer Game! I personally am a fan of soccer, but had never been to an actual game. If it was to be anything like basketball or baseball games I have previously attended I figured I would enjoy it. However, by the end of the match I could honestly say it was better than any live sporting event I’ve ever been to! No other sport do the fans get so into the game, and so behind their team. It was truly a sight to behold, and enjoy. Tickets weren’t bad either, only around $40. In the end USA wins it 2-0! GO USA!!!

This was the beginning, when they played both Panama and USA National Anthems

This was the beginning, when they played both Panama and USA National Anthems

USA would go on to win it 2-0!

USA would go on to win it 2-0!

Just another option for our ERAU Prescott students to go out and explore! I want to make sure all of you understand that no matter what it is you enjoy, there is something for everyone! If it is not in Prescott, it won’t be that far away!

Stay warm and fly safe!

Phoenix Open during Super Bowl Weekend!

So all I have done thus far really is just talk about work, and more work. We do, believe it or not, have fun! Prescott itself is located right on the boarder of the Prescott National Forrest and can offer many exciting hikes in the surrounding mountains. We have Sedona, AZ with all of its beautiful red rock only an hour away. In addition, Flagstaff is just an hour and a half drive away, which in the winter, is awesome for skiing and snowboarding! Las Vegas can be exciting for those over 21, which is only just over 3 hour drive away!

However, the big destination for most students is going to be Phoenix, which is only a short 90 minute drive away! This past weekend was a big one for Phoenix with not only Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium, but also the Waste Management Phoenix Open in Scottsdale. If you are a sports fan Phoenix was the place to be!

Now the Phoenix Open is a different golf tournament from most with the 16th hole being one big party! It is the only hole in the PGA where you can just scream and be obnoxious the entire time, and not get into too much trouble. This year was a bit of disappointment with both Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods missing the cut at the same tournament for the first time since 2002. However be that as it may, my friends and I left Prescott early on Saturday around 6 AM to get there in time. Glad we did, because only ten minutes after we got to the 16th hole stands did they meter how many people could go in, and a huge line formed. We waited for a couple hours before the first players even teed off, let alone got to the 16th hole. It was worth the wait though. For only the second time since Tiger Woods in 1997, a hole in one, took place! Yeah that’s right; Francesco Molinari aced the 16th hole! Which the tradition has always been if this takes place to throw your…beverage of choice…onto the green! If you watched ESPN on Saturday night you would have seen this. IT WAS AN AWESOME EXPERIENCE!

If this wasn’t enough after we had our golf fix, we went over to Phoenix Sky Harbor to do some plane spotting for the Super Bowl traffic. The night ended with stopping by Westgate in Glendale where the Super Bowl was to see the action. It certainly was a fun Saturday that was a nice change of pace from normal work at school!

Next weekend, I go to Los Angeles for the USA vs. Panama soccer game, more pictures to come!

16th Hole after Hole in One!Rickie Fowler for ParPlane Spotting at PHX!

CFI New Hire Ground School!

Not going to lie, it felt weird beginning my last semester as an undergraduate student here at ERAU. Time went by faster than I could have ever imagined. Three plus years later, I have had experiences and made friendships that I could have scarcely imagined prior to actually attending. Nevertheless I digress, onward to bigger and better things!

The beginning of January did not only mark the beginning of classes, but the beginning of CFI New Hire class as well. This month the Embry-Riddle Flight Line hired a total of five new instructors, myself included. Having gone through a new hire ground school with Cape Air in the fall of 2013, I felt myself feeling prepared for what lay ahead. The key to any ground school, whether it is with a new company or even classes here at school, is to always get ahead. The instructors usually send out the material they will be referencing in class in an email prior to the school’s actual start date. In this case, with Embry-Riddle, we had about 3 weeks to study up.

Having used some of Christmas Break to brush up on details I may have forgotten, I walked into the new hire with excitement. Overall, the ground school was broken up into two pieces. The first piece was more administrative stuff, policies and procedures for example. As a student pilot over the last three years, I have become familiar with the policies concerning the students. As I transition to a flight instructor, now I have to learn the policies influencing instructors on a daily basis. The big ones include how to schedule your students on ETA (our scheduling software), and of course duty time restrictions. If you reference 14 C.F.R. Part 61.195, you will see we instructors have laws restricting us on how long we can actually work. Furthermore, the flight line has more rules.

The second part of the ground school was all about the FUNDAMENTALS! C172 Takeoff If there is one topic that was most certainly drilled into our heads it is the fundamentals. When I reference the fundamentals I mean straight and level flight, climbs, descents, and turns. These four aspects, or a combination thereof, make up all of the flight maneuvers you will learn throughout your training. We as pilots cannot continue to make progress if we do not have the fundamental foundation to move forward. Therefore, the fundamentals played a huge part in our ground school and will continue to do so for the actual flight training we conduct.

With the successful completion of CFI New Hire Ground School as of last Friday, here’s to the successful completion of new hire flight training. Hopefully, within the next few weeks I will begin to receive students. If you remember my earlier blog, I talked about time management. Being enrolled in classes, traveling for admissions, and now teaching actual flight students will be the culmination of time management as my time here at ERAU, as a student, begins to come to a close.

More to come, talk to you all soon!


So finals week for most college degrees involve taking a lot of finals, finishing projects, or giving presentations all within a small period of time. However, here at Embry-Riddle if you are majoring in Aeronautical Science the experience can be quite different. As an Aeronautical Science major not only do you take academic classes, but you will also fly to obtain your ratings. Students usually finish their flight courses at the end of a semester, the same time as finals…naturally, right? If the checkride wait is exceptionally long, or weather does not cooperate, the checkride may take longer than expected. So for students who live far away from ERAU it is a balancing act for when to book your ticket home. The negative side of this is if you guess incorrectly you may have to go home prior to finishing your flight course. While this usually does not cause a grade issue, you might have to retrain with your instructor before being put back up for the checkride. It is always your choice when you want to go home after finals are over, however like I said, going home earlier may cost you more in the long run. Therefore, you can see that it is not all cut and dry for finishing a semester as a pilot.

Having done this “balancing act” for three years now I knew I would be close to finishing CFII before going home for Christmas. I booked my ticket home for December 21st and hoped I would be done by the 21st. Sure enough I was scheduled for my CFII checkride this past Monday, Dec. 15. The activity began at 0700 with the sun yet to rise. It was cold outside, but luckily my aircraft was in the hanger, This simple change in aircraft location allowed me to stay warm during the pre-flight! Trust me, anything positive helps take away some of the stress of a checkride. Overall it was a busy day to fly because Runway 21L, our main runway, was closed for pavement sealing. I did have to change my plan of action to accommodate the closed runway. However, two hours later I got my answer.  As of Monday the 16th of December, I passed my CFII checkride making me an official CFI and CFII!

Would I have liked to go home last week to be with my friends and family? Absolutely! However, nothing beats the feeling of finishing a flight course right before you leave for vacation!

This may all seem a bit complicated for people unfamiliar with the ERAU checkride process. If you have any questions please let me know! Next year, I begin my journey of starting to flight instruct for Embry Riddle. In the meantime, I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!riddle21

Hired! The Newest ERAU Flight Instructor

Hey everyone! We are really getting close to the end of the semester here, and getting excited for Christmas Break!

Being a student employee for Embry-Riddle has opened up doors by increasing the people I interact with and of course providing some money too. I have been working in the Admissions office since freshman year, and with this amazing job I have given tours to prospective students, and even traveled the around the country promoting ERAU, including Oshkosh 2014.

However, now that the end of my flight training and BS in Aeronautical Science degree is approaching I am looking ahead. For years now I have worked through the flight training program with the end goal of eventually becoming a flight instructor. Earlier last month I applied to become a Flight Instructor for Embry Riddle. After submitting the application, I was offered an interview for the position. At first I was excited but also nervous for the upcoming interview. I prepared in every way I knew how, getting my suit ready, reviewing any last CFI or CFII knowledge that I was unsure about, and of course the lesson plan. For a CFI interview, not only do you have to answer standard HR questions and technical flight questions, but you also have to present a lesson plan like you would to a student. This was the one part of the interview I was uneasy about; however with enough practice I nailed it.

I am happy to report that as of Monday, I have been offered a position as a flight instructor! My new hire date is scheduled for January 5th upon successful completion of my CFII check ride (expect a blog about that next week!). Many updates to come!

The first picture you see is me as a freshman, right after my first Solo flight in October of 2011. The following two are from the multi engine cross-country flight that I did to Salt Lake City, Utah (KSLC). You can also find great images and videos on our Flight Department facebook page. As a matter of fact I recommend you “like” the page so you can keep up on the cool things you’ll do as a flight student.

I cannot convey enough how awesome all of these flight experiences have been thus far. Here’s to clear skies!


Your instructor will take a picture upon the successful completion of your first solo flight!

Your instructor will take a picture upon the successful completion of your first solo flight!


Making progress in my training. This picture was taken last summer during my Multi-Engine Cross Country to SLC!

Making progress in my training. This picture was taken last summer during my Multi-Engine Cross Country to SLC!

Sunset over Utah/Arizona Border!

Sunset over Utah/Arizona Border!

Planning My Final Semester at Embry-Riddle

MikeHello Everyone! My name is Mike Cruz, and I am excited to be posting my first blog! I am now a senior expecting to graduate in the spring with a Bachelors degree in Aeronautical Science and a Minor in Applied Meteorology. Furthermore, I am almost done with my flight training at Embry-Riddle, just finishing up the last bit of CFII (Certified Flight Instructor Instrument). If any of you have any questions please feel free to contact me and I will do my best to help you further understand what it is like to be a student and pilot here at Embry-Riddle. Here goes!

You would think that by the time you become a senior registering for classes is a piece of cake. Well it is and it isn’t. In the beginning, as a freshman, you have this huge grocery list of classes you have to take, and really it is the pick of the litter as they say. However, now as I register for my final semester, each class is a calculated choice that fulfills the final requirements for my degree. Which excitingly are going to be, AS411 (Airline Transport Systems), AS420 (Flight Technique Analysis), and AS408 (Flight Safety). Furthermore in order to get the reduced ATP minimums and have credit for an ATP ground school to that the written exam, I am also taking FA420 (Airline Flight Crew Technique and Procedures). A mouthful I know, and they sound more complex than they really are. The classes listed above are basically very specific classes to help you understand the ins and outs of what it is like being an airline pilot!

The process of registering for classes is really easy. Everything is done online, like shopping on Amazon. You have a “shopping cart” which is were you place the classes you would like to register for. Once in your cart and all you have to click is “enroll.”  Very easy system!

Timing is the another factor when registering for classes! You are in the middle of your current class load for the fall semester, — you’re focused, you’re determined, when all of a sudden BAM! You receive the email that it is time to register for spring classes next week. Being a college student really should be called “time management student.” Besides walking out of here with a degree you will become highly skilled in managing your time to the best of your ability. Which is an awesome accolade to have going out into the work force.

With all that being said I have successfully registered for my final semester here at Embry-Riddle on time and very excited. Check out some of the classes I’ve taken and ones that you will take as an Aeronautical Science student here!

Talk to you soon, and stay warm up in the north!