CJP Bob Hoover Scholar Updates
Good afternoon, everyone. I hope you’re doing well, staying safe and trying to social distance as much as possible so we can get our lives back to normal and go back to doing what we love – being in the sky and traveling all over. Since the last newsletter where I shared how my new flight instructor course was progressing at Embry-Riddle, a lot has changed since then. I never really understood how much responsibility is placed upon flight instructors and teachers in general, and how many things they have to go through in order to impart knowledge to a student. I think this course is one of the best things that I have ever done in my life thus far. It has definitely given me a greater appreciation for those who do this on a day-to-day basis.
Now I’m not going to sugarcoat it; this course has been rough. It has put me through the rigors and several hurdles to where I even wondered at one point if it was right for me. But I’m excited to tell you guys that I’m finally at the end of the CFI Initial, which is considered the hardest portion compared to CFII, which is the instrument portion. Today, I had my last training flight for the course and I was able to demonstrate proficiency in both the maneuvers and my teaching methods. Teaching was a struggle for me initially because I was not able to explain things to the fullest and in a way where a student could understand. After hearing those golden words that I dreamt of my instructor saying this morning, “You did it, you’re finally there,” it was hard for me to contain all my excitement. But the fact that we still had to get back to Daytona, I had to kinda suppress that and fly the plane back to school. Once we were on the ground I started celebrating in my mind.
Overall this experience has proven to me that giving up is never an option. There’s always a way to keep pushing forward no matter how dim that light at the end of the tunnel is, it’s up to you to get to the end. COVID-19 has been one of the biggest hurdles with this course, with all the additional rules implemented by the school to keep us the students, faculty and staff safe. Flying in a mask during the summer when the temperature is about 40 Celsius is pretty hard, but with your goal in sight, you can block out almost anything. Thank you guys for reading, and for the continued support. Please stay safe and stay well.
As we continue to work our way through these unprecedented times, I have been doing everything I can to stay as safe as possible while still doing everything that I need to do. Currently, I have been focusing most of my energy on working while out of school for the summer. This way I am able to save a considerable amount of my finances from working extra hours, so when I return to flying and my academics in the fall, I will be able to focus more of my time and energy on my flying and academics. As I previously noted in the last newsletter post, I was laid off from my Information Technology job at the university due to COVID-19. Thankfully, I was able to get a seasonal position at my local Target due to the pandemic, and just recently, I have been offered to stay as a regular time employee of which I have accepted.
As you know the university closed its flight department for the month of April due to Florida’s stay-at-home order, which halted my flight training at a crucial moment. I was set to finish the commercial course during that time, but sadly it was out of my hands. Due to this fact I had much to consider in terms of how I will resume my flight training. Out of all my options, I believed it was best to halt my training until the fall semester resumes again. Due to the uncertainty of the virus I believe this to be the safest option as I do not want to begin my retraining and then additional complications due to the virus arise again. Therefore, my current plan is to register for the flight department’s early return week, which takes place the week before classes start – with all flight activities discounted 50 percent off. I thought this to be the best plan so I can complete all of my retraining at a discounted rate instead of paying more now.
Even though I may not be flying now, I have still been studying for my upcoming commercial written exam. My first scheduled exam was canceled due to the university closure, but I have rescheduled and will be taking it in a couple weeks to have it done before I resume my flight training. I hope all is well with everyone reading this, and hope that everyone is staying safe and healthy during these uncertain times.
It has been two months since my last newsletter, and a lot has changed. When I wrote last, I was in South Dakota waiting on the reopening of Embry-Riddle Prescott’s flight department. Since then I have returned to Arizona to finish my commercial single-engine rating, which was interrupted due to the coronavirus. It was nice to see that the school had enhanced safety measures in place to protect all of the students and staff, although it took a few days to get used to flying with a mask on.
I am excited to say after patiently waiting two months to return to training, I have my initial stage check to receive my commercial license this week. After I finish both my stage check and end of course check ride, which are done in-house, I will complete a DPE ride which will conclude my commercial single course. After completing all three parts, I will then be put on a waitlist to enter the multi-engine course.
I am excited to begin multi-engine training as I enter my senior year here in Prescott and hope to get an instructor around the same time classes start. This fall, I will be taking classes to finish my aeronautical science major, along with classes for an air traffic control minor. I will be taking classes such as flight technique, flight safety, flight management systems and terminal radar operations. I have also elected to take a basic Air Force class as I wish to pursue a career as a pilot for the United States Air Force after I graduate. I look forward to seeing what this coming semester will bring. I hope with the enhanced safety precautions implemented by the school, I can continue in-person classes and flight training.
I hope everyone is still doing well despite the pandemic, and your summer is off to a good start. I wrapped up my spring semester classes in early May. Although classes had switched to electronic means, I made the Dean’s List for the semester. My favorite class last semester was Jet Transport Systems. In this class we studied the CRJ700 and 900 aircraft. I enjoyed learning the wide range of systems and operations. A capstone research paper was also a part of this class. I chose to study high-lift devices, primarily wing flaps and leading-edge slats. I researched the benefits and drawbacks of different designs and types of these devices. My main focus was the overall increase in safety and performance of an aircraft equipped with high-lift devices.
Restrictions here in Arizona eventually eased up, and the flight line reopened in mid-May. I was a little rusty with maneuvers after not flying for almost two months. After a couple of flights I was back to the proficiency needed for the check ride. The flight line is back to operating at an even higher rate than before the shutdown. Unfortunately, this means check rides still take a while for scheduling. I have completed the first check ride for “stage 1.” Next is the final check ride for the “end of course.” This will complete my single engine training in the 172. I am back home as I live less than two hours from school. This will allow me to work until I am scheduled, and I will drive to Prescott for the check ride.
The Helio Courier project continues as I assist an A&P mechanic. Each day I learn more about aircraft structure and maintenance. The GO-480 engine is back from the prop strike inspection and maintenance. Now that it is back on the airframe, our current task is mounting all the accessories, lines, and hoses. Taking it apart was fairly simple, but the reassembly has certainly been a fun and educational process.
Now towards the end of single engine training, I am eager to begin multi-engine training in the new DA-42 fleet. I am still on track to graduate in the fall of 2020. This will be a semester early since my first semester was fall of 2017. Without the continued support from CJP and the Bob Hoover Legacy Foundation, I would not be graduating early and getting a head start on my aviation career. This week I am looking forward to sharing my adventures with you during the Bob Hoover Legacy Foundation Live Webcast!
Dakota Foster – 2015 Hoover Scholar Update
After graduation in the Spring of 2017, I started working in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, at Epic Flight Academy as a flight instructor. I built my flight time with my CFI/CFII/MEI teaching both instrument and multi-engine commercial. About 11 months into instructing, I was promoted to a progress check pilot where I conducted stage checks with the students and end-of-course mock check rides. I completed my flight time in September 2018 and left to pursue my dream career of being an airline pilot.
In October 2018, I started indoctrination with Republic Airways. Due to a training delay from being understaffed, I didn’t complete my ATP check ride until April 2019. I’ve been flying with Republic since then. I’m based out of Columbus, Ohio and loving the quality of life of a somewhat senior First Officer!
I’m a member of the Cleveland chapter of Women in Aviation International. I volunteer on my days off. I also am a member of the Pilot Talent Team at Republic where we recruit, interview, and onboard new First Officers. For the last year I’ve been a mentor with the Republic RJet Cadet program. Essentially, college students get paired up with a First Officer and we mentor them thru any current flight training they’re doing, as well as answer their questions and give them a glimpse into our day-to-day lives as an airline pilot!
As I am sure you are aware, everything at the airlines is currently at a standstill due to the COVID-19 environment.