Jason

About Jason

Junior

Aeronautical Science

I am definitely stoked to be a junior here at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, AZ!

Update on my Internship!

Hello from Seattle! I am about ready to begin week 9 of my awesome internship and so far, it has been surreal. Wait. Week 9?? Already?? How am I almost done? Times really does ‘fly’ when you are having fun! As much as I want to share every minute detail of my internship, sadly I cannot; due to the company’s privacy policy. However, I will give a general picture of what I have been up to!

My desk

The first few weeks were mainly updating aircraft manuals (pages upon pages of them) and swapping them out on board the aircraft. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t the most thrilling project, but when we got to got to the aircraft to swap them out, that was awesome! The next few weeks were full of little projects around the different departments like the technical pilots, flight operations administration, and technical publications in Flight Operations. I currently have 3 projects that I am working on which all involve different things. Without getting into too much detail, I am working with the ACARS system (the magical computer box that you can program routes, performance, flight plans, etc into), an Operations Specification (Ops Spec), and a taxi time project where the other intern and I have to travel to Anchorage and LAX and, of course, Seattle to complete it!

Working on the taxi project

Other things I have done are helping out in the 737 simulators, tours of ATC and airport facilities and helping out over at the corporate building. One thing that is interesting is there is always food somewhere in the building. One day every month, without fail, there is “the food cube” in one spot of the office. It becomes “active” when food has been brought in. Various employees bring in food, under no obligation, to share and eat! Here is what it looked like one week.

The food cube

As far as how I feel about the internship, it has honestly been the most amazing and incredible experience of my life! The people at Alaska Airlines are one of a kind. They are kind and welcoming and really care about you as a person. I talk with the Manager of Flight Operations and the Chief Pilot everyday and both of them always stop to ask how I am doing, regardless of their busy schedule. I am incredibly fortunate to be interning with them and I know it will be really hard to leave when the internship is over. I will keep you updated on more cool stuff next week!

Aircraft Accident Investigation: One of the coolest Safety classes available!

Have you ever wondered how the NTSB investigates aircraft accidents? Or what happened to cause the aircraft to crash? If so, then SF 330 (Aircraft Accident Investigation) is the class for you! I just completed this class as part of my safety minor, and I am definitely glad I took this class.

The entrance to the Robertson Aircraft Accident Investigation Lab at ERAU Prescott.

Among the great knowledge that we learn throughout this course, the best part is that we get to spend time in the best Aircraft Accident Investigation lab in the nation! Led by our fearless leader Professor Waldock, SF 330 easily captures your attention and interest since day one. Professor Waldock is one of the greatest professors Embry-Riddle has. He is a prominent figure in the Aviation Safety industry and is highly respected as an aircraft accident investigator. The knowledge he shares with the class is invaluable because most of it is from his personal experiences. Time flies when in Professor Waldock’s class, as his stories bring the material to life! You should already want to take the class just to have Professor Waldock teach your class!

One of the numerous accidents in the crash lab.

So what do we learn? Literally everything that you need to know about how to investigate an accident. From impact patterns to determining power settings by looking at a propeller, from fire investigation to on-scene analysis, we cover it all. We put all our knowledge from the course together for our final project in which we get assigned a real accident in our crash lab to investigate. My group was given a Cessna 208B Caravan accident to investigate. Below is a picture of the accident we had to work with (click on the picture for a larger view).

The mangled cockpit of the Caravan.

Through our investigation, we determined the aircraft departed controlled flight as it was climbing, lost airspeed, stalled and entered into a flat spin to the right that resulted in 9 fatalities. Why did it do that? I’m glad you asked! The aircraft was trying to climb above IFR conditions, but flew through moderate icing at it was climbing to 17,000′. The airframe started to accumulate ice, which resulted in the loss of airspeed sufficient to maintain a climb. Due to the loss of airspeed, the wings stalled, and the aircraft immediately entered into a spin to the right due to the high weight of the aircraft and near-aft limit of the Center of Gravity (CG) (resultant from an incorrect weight and balance that was done too fast). The pilot did not execute a proper stall/spin recovery and the aircraft impacted the ground with approximately 100+ vertical G’s and killed the pilot and 8 occupants.

The wreckage as viewed from the right wing

There is more information I could write, but for the sake of reading, that is all I will put about the crash. If you want more detailed info, either leave me a message, or take SF 330 (Aircraft Accident Investigation) when you come to Embry-Riddle! Trust me, you will not regret your decision!

My Summer Plan: Interning with Alaska Airlines

This summer I think will be the best summer yet. Why? I accepted the opportunity to intern with Alaska Airlines working under the Chief Pilot! I am absolutely enthusiastic about getting my internship because it has been my dream of mine to work for Alaska Airlines as a pilot since the age of 4. I know I will not be a pilot for them on this internship, but this is certainly a HUGE first step in the right direction towards that goal.

Where will I be? I will be in Alaska Airlines’ Flight Operations building located on the south east end of the SeaTac airport in Seattle, WA. What will I be doing? I will be assisting the Chief Pilot, the Manager of Flight Operations, and other Flight Operations employees with tasks, projects, reports, and presentations. I am not 100% sure, but I might get to run the aircraft simulators too! I will also be working with another Flight Operations intern in Technical Publications to accomplish various projects that might include some business travel. After talking with the Manager of Flight Operations, he said their past interns had to travel to Anchorage and LAX to complete a taxi time project. I have no idea what the project was, but it sounded pretty cool.

Me on an Alaska Airlines flight

The coolest part of the entire internship is the opportunity the opportunity to jumpseat in the cockpit! Essentially, this is job shadowing, but it is my chance to observe the Captain and First Officer as they fly. From before start all the way to shut down, I will be taking notes on how a normal flight is conducted. I will even get a chance to jumpseat and observe my inspiration to becoming a pilot and my mentor, my uncle!

737 Cockpit from the Co-Pilot’s side

Here is my speech of encouragement. Word hard for what you want to do. If you put in the effort, it WILL pay off. It sounds cheesy, I know, but it is honestly the truth! I worked hard, starting freshman year here at Riddle, to get this internship and was selected after 3 rounds of interviews. I highly recommend going for an internship. It is a terriffic learning experience where you get industry experience and put your foot in the door with an airline. I have friends interning with Delta, Express Jet, FedEx, Ameriflight, and Cape Air. The internships are out there. All you have to do is work hard and apply.

Come fly with us!

Are thinking of becoming a pilot, or want to do a flight minor, but are not sure if it’s right for you? When you’re here for Accepted Student Preview Day, come on over to the flight line and go up with us on an introductory flight in one of our state-of-the-art Cessna 172’s.

One of our Cessna 172’s

What will you do? Where will you go? I’m glad you asked! We are going to put you in the left seat with one of our great instructors and let you fly the plane! After you take-off, you will depart to one of our practice areas, which surround the entire Prescott area. In the practice area, you will do some maneuvers like steep turns, power on and off stalls, and slow flight! When you come back to the airport, the instructor will help you make the landing!

Probably the best part about this introductory flight is that you can log flight hours! If you are going to become a professional pilot, or want to get your private pilot’s license, this is a HUGE first step towards that goal. This is your chance to start early to accumulate hours towards the proposed 1,500 hour minimum rule for pilots. When you go to fly next, whether it is with Embry-Riddle or another place, the hours you got on this introductory flight count for the rest of your flying career! It doesn’t matter if it is training towards a license, or flying around for fun, the hour you got with us adds to all of your future flights!

The view in one of our practice areas.

We’ll help you make that first step towards being the best pilot possible. Pack your bags for April 13th and join us at Embry-Riddle Prescott. Come ready to fly, the skies are open, and we are awaiting your arrival!

Embry-Riddle Prescott Preview Day 2013: Now Boarding

If you haven’t heard yet, we are now boarding for your next stop along your college journey: Preview Day 2013. Every year, the Prescott campus invites accepted students and their families to come check out every inch of this amazing campus.

How much do you get to explore? As much as you want! With our doors wide open, we encourage you to look at our classrooms, dorms, demonstrations, and our flight line. You even have the opportunity to go up in one of our state-of-the-art aircraft and observe a current student and their instructor! Our hope is that when you come visit the Embry-Riddle Prescott campus, you feel that this is your college destination; your home away from home. On Saturday, April 13th, you have the opportunity to meet your future professors, talk with current students, and meet other accepted students!

Also during Preview Day, there will be meetings for you to learn more about classes, professors, and other information about your major. You get to receive your Eagle card/student ID and register for fall classes! When you arrive in the morning, we offer a delicious continental breakfast before the welcome address. In the afternoon, we invite you to our dining hall for a complementary lunch with other accepted students in your college and an opportunity to talk with current students while you eat.

If all that wasn’t enough, as part of our thank you for coming to Preview Day, we will give you our Embry-Riddle Travel Grant that will be added to your student account that will become a credit towards your first year! The amount depends on how far you traveled from home to our campus. If you have already visited our campus before, then you have already received this grant.

All we ask of you is that you please RSVP to http://prescott.erau.edu/admissions/preview/ so we can prepare materials for you. We will provide you with a schedule of the days events and other information.

I will be working on Preview Day for Admissions, so I hope to see you here on April 13th!

Update on Flight Training experience and progress

One of the greatest reputations Embry-Riddle has is our high quality flight training. As a flight student, I am training in state of the art aircraft and simulators to give me a competitive edge when it comes to applying for jobs with the airlines. I am glad I came to Embry-Riddle for flight training as the instructor’s take a hands on approach to helping you learn the various material and maneuvers required for the certificate or rating. As most flight instructor’s are former Embry-Riddle students, they are extremely knowledgeable, given their education. They can relate to you with flight training and with classes, since they have already gone through the Aeronautical Science degree program. I have enjoyed working with each instructor I have had throughout my flight training and have considered them friends as I have gotten to know them in my flight courses.

My instructor has prepared me well throughout this flight course to the point that I am ready to be tested on my knowledge and skills in the instrument rating flight course. After I submit the paperwork, I have 5 check activities to complete before I am an instrument rated pilot. The activities I have are an oral, a simulator, a flight, a final oral, and a final flight. I think that the oral is hands down, the most stressful check activity. You are questioned by a standards (or check) instructor on weather information, cross-country flight planning, aircraft systems related IFR operations, aircraft flight instruments and navigation equipment, ATC clearances, compliance with departure, en route, and arrival procedures and clearances, holding procedures, loss of communications and lastly pilot qualifications. This ordeal usually lasts about two hours. You are graded for each knowledge area on a scale of outstanding, good, marginal, unsatisfactory, and incomplete. I am definitely working hard to get all outstanding and good marks.

Personally, my favorite check activity is the flight. In this activity, I get to demonstrate to the check instructor that I can fly under instrument conditions and can land the aircraft safely after a successful instrument approach. I am pretty sure I will have to fly the VOR RWY 12 approach into Prescott and circle to land RWY 21L. Also, I will have to fly either the RNAV GPS RWY 12 approach and circle to land RWY 21L or the RNAV GPS RWY 21L straight in approach.

The VOR RWY 12 approach is probably the hardest approach we have here at Prescott. Depending on where you are coming from, you either arc, hold, or proceed straight inbound to the Drake (DRK) VOR. After passing the VOR, you are now on the final segment of the approach. This requires you to descend at about 1,000 ft/min as well as to check to make sure you are on course, make all the required callouts, bring the landing gear down, and prepare for landing. The most important part is to not descend below the minimums until you make the decision to land! If at any point you are unstable on the approach, you must execute the missed approach.

I am excited to almost be done with the instrument rating and to have received great flight training from one of Embry-Riddle’s exceptional flight instructors.

Jason Kopczynski, Junior, BS Aeronautical Science

Hi! My name is Jason Kopczynski. I am from the awesome and sunny southern California, and I am definitely excited to be a junior here at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, AZ! I am pursuing the Aeronautical Science major with a minor in Aviation Safety, as well as earning my flight certificates and ratings to include the Commercial license with the multi-engine and instrument ratings.

I also work in the Admissions Department as an Admissions Counselor Student Assistant and a Social Media Student Assistant. To add more fun into my college career, I am involved in a number of clubs like the Music club (drum line and jazz band), Air Line Pilots Association ACE club, Flight Safety Foundation. Additionally, I am the President of Catholic Campus Ministries and I am also an Assistant Scoutmaster in a local Boy Scout Troop here in Prescott.

I hope that you find what I do as a student as exciting as I am to live it! I also hope that you are able to learn more about what it is like to be an Aeronautical Science/flight student here at Embry-Riddle. Enjoy!

One last thing before summer: Finals.

With the end of the semester approaching, one things stands between students and summer: finals. It is amazing how one word strikes fear in the eyes of most students. However, instead of dwelling on the negatives, I would like to briefly tell you about my classes this past semester!

First off is Principles of Management, which our professor is also a business consultant. I really enjoyed this course. I have always found that managing things (marching band as drum major in high school or senior patrol leader in boy scouts both having 100+ members) to be fun and interesting and this is basically what the course was! The next class after a lecture was a case study or an exercise that followed the same concepts that were in the chapter, but applied to real-life situations that sometimes our Professor dealt with! That really but a unique spin on the course.

Next is Flight Physiology which was very interesting to learn about how the various parts of the body relate to a flight environment and how the body can provide illusions that lead to spatial disorientation!

Aircraft Performance was a great class, technical, but helpful. The big project of the semester was to do a paper on an aircraft and make performance charts based off of the data that you found. This was difficult, but it was a great learning tool of how the various bits of data change the parameters of an aircraft’s performance!

Lastly, I took Turbine Engines. I really did not know hardly anything about a turbine engine before taking the class, and now, I know so much that I can get nerdy around one! This was basically the professors goal – to beat the turbine information into our heads so we can be intelligent when talking about turbines. The big thing is this class was the term paper on a turbine engine of our choice. I chose mine to be the PW150A, which is found on the Bombardier Dash 8 Q400. And surely enough, I know that engine inside and out!

Overall, this semester was great. I learned a lot in each class (I know this sounds cliche, but I am completely serious!). I mainly took a lot of core classes for my major this semester and I am pleased with the education I have received thus far! Next week is finals, then I can enjoy the relaxing and fun summer! If you have finals, or midterms coming up, may you have the best of luck!

Diamondback’s game!

Opening day, the official start to the 162-game baseball season, made tons of fans happy as they watched their favorite teams play America’s favorite pastime game! For me, my favorite team is the Anaheim Angles (or to be politically correct, the Los Angeles Angels of Anahiem). However, I was not home to watch them play.

Instead, I went to watch the Arizona Diamondback’s play the San Francisco Giants on the second day of opening weekend! Embry-Riddle offers students fun activities to participate in throughout the year and the Dback’s game was one of them. It was only $5 to go! We took the university van’s down to Chase Field and had a blast! We got there an hour and a half early, so we had time to walk around the stadium.

The stadium with the roof closed before game time.

I made sure to get a bag of peanuts, because what is a baseball game without the peanuts! About 30 minutes before the start of the game they opened the movable roof! Here’s what the stadium looks like when it is open!

 I know I was wearing the wrong shirt for the day, but I was supporting the Angels as they were playing at the same time.

The ceremonial first pitch was thrown by Michael Oher, who is the guy the movie ‘The Blind Side’ is based off of! Anyways, the game was great and the Dback’s won 5 to 4! It was a lot of fun and I cannot wait until Riddle goes to another game!

Snow? But I thought it was spring?

I went home to California for spring break and returned back to Arizona to find myself in the middle of over 12″ of snow! I would like to point out a few key words here: spring break, Arizona, and snow. Usually you only see two of these words in the same sentence, but very rarely do you see all three!


The start of the biggest snow storm I have seen since I have been here.

This snow storm was the 4th most snowfall in a 24-hour period that Prescott has ever had. Since it happened on the last Sunday of break, school officials decided to cancel class the next day (Monday) to ensure the safety of students making their way back to campus. For those who fought the storm and made it back on Sunday, this gave us more time to play in the snow! Walking around campus, I saw everything from snow angels to snow forts and students out having a good time!

However, if you were like me and had put off doing class work for the entire break that was due on Tuesday, you spent most of your time working on it on Monday. This isn’t to say that I didn’t have any fun though. I spend my first snow day mainly working on my term paper for my turbines class. In between working on the paper, I went out with friends to lunch near downtown and saw the massive amounts of snow in the city.


Downtown Prescott with all the snow!

By the end of our fun snow day, I was satisfied with how I spent it: a little class work, playing in the snow, and hanging out with my friends! I am hoping that this is not the last time we see snow before next winter, but when it does snow, it is always awesome!