A Day in the Life of a Golden Eagle!

Ever since its formation in 1979, The Golden Eagles Flight Team (GEFT, for short) has strived for academic excellence and competitive superiority. As an active member and Public Relations officer, I am truly honored to be a part of a legendary team that has won 9 national championships and 29 consecutive regional championships!

A Brief Background:
GEFT is a competitive intercollegiate flying team that competes with several other collegiate flying teams across America. The competitions are hosted by the National Intercollegiate Flying Association, or NIFA (check out nifa.aero for more info). We practice and compete in several events, both ground events and flying events. Core grounds events include SCAN (Simulated Comprehensive Aircraft Navigation), CA (Computer Accuracy), and ACID (Aircraft Identification). SCAN consists of a timed, 50 minute tests that involves completing a full flight plan (typically at least 3 legs) and answering regulation questions from memory. CA also consists of a timed 50 minute tests that involves the use of an E6-B or a CR-6 manual flight computer used to answer primarily mathematical questions. Finally, ACID consists of identifying 60 random aircraft, with only 3 seconds to look at each aircraft (ACID participants need to be able to identify thousands of aircraft in total!). Other ground events include Crew Resource Management (CRM), Ground Trainer, IFR, and Preflight. Our flying events include precision power-on and power-off landings which are flown in our two 1965 Cessna 150s (Eagle One and Eagle Two), a navigation event flown in ERAU’s Cessna 172’s, and message drop (yes, we drop things out of airplane windows!). Personally, I participate in SCAN, ground trainer, preflight, power-on landings, and navigation.

Each week, we hold practices on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. However, the most important practice we get each week is on Saturdays, when we hold a day-long practice at the flight line in order to practice both flying and ground events. I’ve documented one of our typical Saturday practice so you can get a glimpse into what it takes to be a national champion. Without further ado, here’s a day in the life of a Golden Eagle!

0700: The day begins with a briefing lead by our captain, Victor Griffin. He goes over our schedule for the day, and our Co-Captain Sam Morris also goes over a few things before we get started.









0800: First off on the agenda is the navigation event! My partner and I were the first team to fly the nav for the day.

0800As the planner, I get to plan our route before heading out to the plane.





0800 fuel checkChecking the fuel before we get going!







Nav partner

My nav partner Connor McNicholas is ready to go






above West PrescottOut and about to the West of Prescott






BackAnd we’re back!






Waiting for fuel truckWaiting around for the fuel truck. And then refueling after our nav












1100: Time to practice some power-on landings! I head out to the line to wait for my slot and judge other teammates’ landings.
LandingsRJ Williams judges landings next to 21R. Hit that zero line!






Selfie with team!Selfie next to the line with my teammates!






My turn to landNow it’s my turn to land! While taking off in Eagle Two, I accidentally photobombed Ryan O’Connor’s selfie!







Last landingsThe last couple flyers wrap up landings for the day.






1300: Time for lunch!








1400: Now it’s time to take the SCAN test!

SCAN test







1530: As practice comes to an end, Victor Griffin and Sam Morris debrief us on our performance throughout the day.







But wait, there’s more!

1600: After debrief, I have one more event to practice: ground trainer. A few teammates and I head over to the sim building to get some practice. Flying this week’s sim pattern in the ground trainer










And that’s a wrap! I hope this offered a good glimpse into a typical Saturday practice, and what it takes to be a national champion. For more information on the Golden Eagles Flight Team, check out www.flygoldeneagles.com, and be sure to like our Facebook page for updates on this Spring’s national competition in Ohio. Go GEFT!


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!