I’ve been looking forward to starting the Spring semester ever since the start of Christmas Break. Now, with the second week of classes starting up, I’m just doing my best to remember which classrooms we’re using and what times each class starts at. One of the things that is new for me this semester is having almost all my classes taught in Battle Creek. WMU’s College of Aviation has their campus located about 40 minutes outside of Kalamazoo at the W. K. Kellogg Airport (KBTL). Many of the upper-level classes that follow the introductory subjects are moved out to the airport, presumably to make it easier for students and professors who work or fly also. As a result, I’ve been spending over 12 hours a day at the airport on certain days. While I certainly don’t enjoy the daily commute or the long hours, it’s been very fulfilling to start learning harder subjects.
For the next four months, I will be studying Advanced Aerodynamics, Advanced Aircraft Systems (with a lab), Aviation Meteorology, Commercial Ground School, and the Commercial Flight Lab III for a total of 16 credits. It is going to be a challenging semester for me, but I’m excited that they are all aviation-related classes. Last year I had a lot of general area subjects that I was not very interested in, so this should be a welcomed change. I’m also thrilled to start flying again! It’s been about 5 months since I passed my instrument checkride, so I’m totally ready to get back into the cockpit and start the commercial pilot course.
I’ll be starting off with a few dual lessons in the Cirrus SR-20 again, and then I’ll have several night solo and long cross-country flights to complete. Once those are finished, I will probably be assigned a new multi-engine instructor to begin training in the Piper PA-44 Seminole. If the weather cooperates, I am trying to complete the course by the end of Summer 1. Then with the 4 months of better (WARMER) weather, I would have the chance to do my single-engine addon. Depending on how much time is left, I might even try to get through a fast-track flight instructor course. Ideally I’d be returning in the fall with “Junior” status, hopefully as a CFI. It’s definitely going to be a challenge to finish all of that in the next several months, but I’ll be working hard towards it!
As a preview for the next several blog posts, I plan to do an article focusing on my college that will cover our program specialties and strong points. Next, I’ll probably post about Alpha Eta Rho, the professional aviation fraternity that I am part of. I would also like to do a few in-depth articles about some of the subjects we’re covering, perhaps on an aerodynamic concept or about a specific aircraft system. Last of all I will definitely do a few “trip experience” posts about my long cross country flights and night solos, hopefully with some good pictures! For several of the flights our training course outline recommends taking a team rider or back-seat passenger, so I’ll be asking friends to help shoot pictures while I’m flying!