About Jason


Aeronautical Science

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

The end of flight course festivities!

At the end of every flight course is the part that stresses every flight student out: the check oral.

Upon successful completion of the review activities, orals and flights, comes the check oral. This is where you sit with a standards instructor for two hours and have a verbal test of required course knowledge. For my flight course (FA 122 Private Multi), I am required to know certificates and documents pertaining to the pilot and the aircraft, performance limitations of the DA-42, and airworthiness requirements. Also required knowledge items are operation of systems, system and equipment malfunctions, principles of one engine inoperative flight, and emergency and survival equipment. All this knowledge is tested in two hours! So you can start to see why this is one of the most dreaded, and stressful, flight activities.

I have my mock oral tomorrow. It is comforting to know that this is not the actual check oral, but it is invaluable practice with a standards instructor to be tested on the required knowledge and be told what items, or areas, may need improvement before the check oral. Embry-Riddle requires all flight students to go through mock orals and mock checkrides before doing the check activities to ensure the student is ready.

To be honest, I am very nervous! Luckily, I know I am prepared and I know I can do this! I tell myself before every mock or check activity that I can do this, I know I am ready, and I WILL pass! This positive mentality helps to calm me down and prepare. I highly advise some process to help calm yourself down, as this helps for any test or situation in which you feel very anxious. I hope you will be as prepared as I am when you get to checkrides so you will not feel stressed, but comfortable and relaxed instead!

The usefulness of practicing emergencies

4 weeks ago, I went up for a regular flight with my instructor to practice some basic attitude instrument (BAI) techniques. The sky’s were clear and it was a great day to go flying! One thing was different, a training manager (my instructor’s superior) came to observe my instructor on the flight to see how he teaches. Even though he was observing only my instructor, I felt an increase in pressure as I wanted to prove I was a good flight student and that my instructor had taught me well.

After checking my weight and balance (required for each flight to make sure the plane is not overloaded), we all got in and taxied out to the runway.  In the unit lesson, I had to demonstrate a short field take-off. I taxied out on the runway, held the brakes, went to full power, released the brakes, and took off!

Everything was normal until we reached a height of 400′ AGL (above ground level), which came pretty quickly after wheels up. At that moment, the left engine started to surge 10-20% in power. We heard multiple backfires and the aircraft yawed to the left. Tower even reported smoke coming out of our engine! Having practiced engine failures in previous flights, I knew what to do. However, when an actual emergency, or abnormality, occurs, the instructor usually takes over the controls to ensure proper communication and control. After we understood what was going on, I used the positive transfer of controls and handed control to my instructor. Following my pre-takeoff brief on emergency situations, I asked my instructor if he would like me to run any checklists or aid in anyway possible. We pulled the power back to 72% and  both engines were operating as normal. We decided to make a full stop and down the aircraft when we got back.

The educational experience from this abnormality was invaluable. I understood to stay calm during the entire ordeal and revert back to the outstanding training I have received, and continuing to receive, here at Embry-Riddle. Here is a picture of the plane I flew that had the problems.

Winter in Prescott!

After the summer weather of +70 F, the next season to hit the campus is winter. Yes, I know that fall season should fall in between summer and winter, but it is more of a sharp transition.

The first snowfall here at ERAU was on November 18th. There was occasional snow in between then and the last week of November, but on December 1st, the clouds dumped snow by truckload. Most of the time, the snow does not stick and is mostly gone by noon the next day. However, the storm dropped temperatures enough (at least to 10 F) so that there is still snow over a week later! Here is a picture of snow over Prescott from my flight yesterday.

My group of friends and I went to the annual City of Prescott Tree Lighting Ceremony in downtown and the lights plus snow created the perfect winter wonderland image. Here is a picture of our group downtown!

And here are two pictures of the courthouse all lit up!

Hopefully we will get more snow because it puts you in a good mood for winter!

First Flight in the Diamond DA-42 NG!

Embry-Riddle Prescott got four new DA-42’s over the summer to switch out the old Piper PA-44 Seminoles. Yesterday, I had my first flight in the retractable gear, multi-engine aircraft! Here I am with R93, which is the plane I got to fly in!

It is quite different getting to use two power levers and a gear switch, but it is a lot of fun! When picking a practice area to go to, I decided I wanted to go to crown king; which is a practice area dedicated to only multi engines. After preflight, I got in with my instructor and started the engines. It is easier to start than the 172 because there is no mixture control in the Diamond; its is all control by the Engine Control Unit (ECU). We taxied out to runway 21L and took off.

In the practice area, I completed all the standard private maneuvers (stalls, slow flight, steep turns) and got to have a feel for how the aircraft flies. During the flight, we climbed to 12,700′ MSL; but not for more than 30 min. Also, on our way back, we got to 180 KIAS (indicated airspeed) and a ground speed of 199 KTS! I had a beautiful landing which was aided by the trailing linkage gear on the Diamond’s. I taxied back to the ramp and that was my first flight. I logged my first multi-engine time in my log book. It was a proud moment. I hope you will enjoy the Diamond’s as much as I do!

Octoberwest Weekend!

This past weekend was our Octoberwest/Alumni weekend! To start the weekend off, recruiters from the aviation industry came out at the annual career expo! Everything from airlines to government agencies were there talking to interested students and giving interviews to those applying for internships and jobs.  Even though I am a sophomore, it’s good to talk with recruiters to learn about internships and requirements for jobs!

Friday night was the infamous, and ever hilarious, hypnotist Bruce McDonald! It was literally a laugh-out-loud event! The next day, there was the static display at the flightline as well as performances by Matt Chapman in his Eagle 580 and Elaine Larsen in her ERAU Jet Dragster! They put on an awesome show of aerobatics and jet dragster action which was the most exciting part of the weekend! here is a picture of Elaine Larsen and Matt Chapman performing!

I definitely got sunburnt that day, but it was worth the burn! Among the spectators of students, faculty and community members, 4 Apache helicopters, and 2 F/A-18’s  flew in before the show and left after it was over! I am always excited about the activities at the flightline because you have the opportunity to get up close to the aircraft and even sit in them! This is me in a WWII T-6 Trainer!

I even got to meet Matt Chapman and Elaine Larsen during the day, and getting to see them perform made it that much more awesome!

The topper of the weekend, and another personal favorite, are the fireworks! This year, my friends and I drove down to the lower fields to watch them and they were awesome! We got pretty close, which made the booms bigger and it felt like it was a private show! Here is one of the pictures from the fireworks!

So, when you come to Riddle; make sure you attend the various activities of Octoberwest!

Clubs and Cross Countries!

Almost done with the 3rd week of school, but it seems like forever since I packed up the car and drove to Riddle! Time flies when you’re having fun, right? (see what I did there? flying is fun!).

Anyways, tonight was the club fair! If you have an interest in a particular activity or like a particular object, there is most likely a club for that. From the sweater vest club to the skydiving club, Embry-Riddle Prescott has a club for you! One of my favorite clubs is the music club. I played the alto saxophone all throughout high school and wanted to continue in college, so I joined with the music club. There are 3 groups within the club: jazz, choir, and drumline. I am in the jazz and drumline groups because I am not the best of singers. Jazz is a pressure-off group of chill students who play on their free time; get together and have an awesome jam sesh! Like each group in the club we have performances on campus and in the community! So if you like to play an instrument or sing, or even want to learn how, you belong in the music club!

In every flight course, students are required to go on cross countries. For the non-flight students, a cross country is a long flight to an airport at least 50 NM straight line. For my flight course (multi private), I have to go at least 150 NM away. I am choosing to go to the John-Wayne Airport (SNA) in Santa Ana, CA! It’s really convenient since I live about 30min from SNA. I have my route all planned out and I am just waiting for this Saturday 9/17, to go; assuming the weather is good enough to fly in *fingers crossed*. I personally love cross countries because you get to fly somewhere new or somewhere where you want to go (just as long as its a Riddle-approved airport). If you are a flight student, you will be doing many of these in your years here. If you are not a flight student, take the opportunity to go as an observer to wherever the student is going! Observers can go on cross countries as long as the are a dual flight. However, as an observer (anyone, even flight students), you can go on a local flight to the practice area and see Prescott from the air! I encourage every Embry-Riddle student to go on at least one flight; and if you’re lucky, I could be your pilot!

Officially a Private Pilot!

Last Friday, April 22, I had my private pilot check oral.  On Monday, April 25, I had my check ride. Throughout my entire flight course this year, I have been training for the check oral and check ride. All of those activities (orals, sims, and flights) with my instructor have prepared me well. Now, it was my job to review all the information and prepare for the final.

There is something about check orals that make me nervous. Maybe it’s the fact that it is with a check airman, or maybe it’s the fact that you are being drilled on private pilot knowledge for two hours straight! In any case, I was ready. I got to the flight line early, looking fancy for the check oral, and got my cross country flight plan from the flight supervisor, and waited for my check examiner to come get me. I sat there reviewing all of the various line items (things to cover) to make sure I knew the answer to any question he asked. Then, my check examiner came. We went to the oral rooms, discussed everything for two hours and I came out one step away from my license!

After the oral was done, I started studying for my check ride. The way to study for this flight was to review all maneuvers, checklists, and Practical Test Standards (PTS). I can tell you my Easter was different from all other years, as I did not go home and I had my check ride the next day.  I woke up at 0535 for my check ride. When I got to the flight line at 0600, I printed the current weather, filled out the performance sheet and waited for my check pilot to come, just like the check oral. I preflighted, like a boss; flew like a boss; and parked like a boss. Seriously, my parking job was the best I have seen and it was the most perfect on the line. After a 2.5 hour flight, it was time for the debrief. The first thing my check pilot said after the flight was that I had passed, which made me feel better, instead of waiting until the end to find out the result.

The next day, I picked up my temporary license and from that point on, I am a marked man. I am a pilot.

Embry-Riddle Jazz Band!

Every Thursday night, the Embry-Riddle jazz band practices various songs and simply having fun playing our instruments! The music club on campus offers a jazz band, orchestra, choir, drumline and rock groups. My favorite instrument to play is the alto saxophone and I absolutely love to play it.

In practice, we play songs out of various books, including some great classics of Duke Ellington and Herbie Hancock. The group size varies every week, but we always have a drummer, saxophones, trumpets, a guitar, a bass, and even a tuba! It does not matter what instrument you play, we accept everyone who wants to play an instrument!

At the end of first semester, we played in a gig in downtown Prescott for Acker night which is a night of music in the courthouse area during the holiday season. This semester we are performing in a “Night of the Arts” here on campus. The jazz band will play a set of songs (TBA) but we are not the only ones performing. If musicians want, they can combine to make a jazz combo group, or even perform solo! In any case, the night is for having fun and playing on your favorite instrument!

After practice sometimes, there are a few of us who stick around for a random after-practice jam session! Some of switch instruments, like me, but we fool around and play music that isn’t in our books. Also, this time is where some learn a new instrument, or maybe play another’s to see what its like to play a bass, for example. If you have ever played an instrument, or want to learn, the music club, especially the jazz band, is the right club to join!

Its that time of year again!

It’s crazy to think, but it’s time to register for classes again! Now, for flight students, there are two parts to registering for fall classes. The first part is registering for your flight block. Depending on the flight course you are in, you are allowed to register for specific flight blocks. For private pilot, I had flight block 82, which is from 0840 – 1255 Monday through Saturday. For next semester, they changed the flight blocks a bit to reduce the number of different ones they offer. I will be taking the private multi course to start training in the Seminoles! For the fall semester, I will be in the 81 flight block which is from 0600 – 1005 Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and 0600 – 1100 Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

That is all for flight! In terms of academics, I am taking 5 classes; which is a full schedule. I have Aerodynamics, Technical Physics II (with a physics lab), Aircraft Systems & Components, Aviation Weather, and Instrument Ground School. The first four classes that I listed are all on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Instrument Ground School is on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I think next fall will be tough, but I am definitely up for the challenge! It’s going to be a great year and I can not wait to get into the multi engine aircraft! I will tell you how its going next year.

Solo Flights!

Within the Private Pilot course here at Embry-Riddle, you get to do 4 solo flights: your first solo, practice area solo, pattern solo, and a long cross-country solo! On January 20th and 22nd, I had my second and third solo flights!

On my practice area solo flight, I went out and honestly had some fun, while maintaining safety and professionalism. The pressure was on. First obstacle to overcome was pre-flight. I started to preflight around 6:00 am when the sun was just starting to rise and it was about 28 degrees out. Most of the plane had ice on it, requiring me to get de-iced. I took the windscreen cover off the plane, continued and finished pre-flighting. However, it was cold enough that ice built up on the windscreen. I sprayed it off, got in the plane, and taxied to the de-icing station.

In the practice area, I did all the maneuvers (slow flight, power on/off stalls, steep turns, and turns around a point) as well as flying around and enjoying flying solo! I finished the day with 1 landing and 1.1 hours!

Two days later, I came back for another solo, this time around the traffic pattern.

My plane of the day: Riddle 49.

This was one interesting solo! After take-off, tower instructed me to “fly runway heading,” meaning keep flying the runway heading until they tell you to turn. I overflew campus, a spot where they normally tell you to turn, but I received no approval. I restated that I was on “extended upwind,” then they approved my turn. I thought they had forgotten about me! Then, on the downwind leg of the pattern, they told me to follow traffic ahead. Then, they would tell me to turn my base leg. However, I just about reached the edge of the airspace, when at the last minute they told me to turn! Needless to say it was an interesting and fun solo flight! Here are some pictures I took!

Before Take-off checklist, to the line part

The Prescott Airport

The ERAU Flightline

ERAU Campus