Category Archives: Aviation

Surviving My Busy Semester

Gavin Whitehead

Gavin Whitehead,
Junior, Aviation

Athens, OH 19 September 2014

This is officially the busiest I’ve been in my life. Having classes and working a few jobs all at the same time. It’s a different feel than I am used to. I’m used to having a morning class, a five hour break of relaxation, then a class in the afternoon after a leisurely lunch. What I had before sounds like the best schedule ever but overall I always felt like I should have been doing something. So I thought I would try something new this year and have a few more obligations. I am now an RA, Engineering Ambassador, and Certified Flight Instructor. This is actually the first time in my life I have a working calendar and every day I have something new to do. I just need to work a little more at this managing time thing, but so far I like it.

One of my favorite things about this year so far is flight instructing. Not only am I doing something that I love, but it also helps me with experience toward my career. Building this time and experience now is going to help me with a better job out of college. I currently have a few students now and flying with them a few days a week is an awesome time. I love seeing how they are developing the skills they need to fly an airplane and seeing their excitement towards flying makes me want to do all I can for them to have the best training. This is going to be a great year!

Start of My Senior Year in Aviation

Josh D'Urso

Josh D’Urso,
Senior, Aviation

Athens, OH 8 September 2014

As I start my senior year, everyone keeps reminding me that I need to start applying for jobs. While this is exciting to begin a new journey of my life, I don’t want to leave the life I’ve built here in Athens. I transferred to Ohio University my sophomore year and that was one of the best decisions of my life. Since I was a transfer student I knew I needed to get involved in some organizations in order to make some friends.

I joined an international business flight fraternity called Alpha Eta Rho (AHP) and I’m now the head of the fundraising committee. I’ve also joined Women in Aviation (WAI). I’ve met some of my closest friends through AHP and WAI and through these organizations I’ve been able to travel to Washington D.C. and Kalamazoo, Michigan for our national conferences. This year I’ll be going to San Diego where I’ll get to have dinner on an aircraft carrier! These trips have been possible largely by the help of Dean Irwin and some financial support of Russ College of Engineering and Technology.

While I’m looking forward to the future and those trips, I’m going to mention something in the not-so-long-ago past. This summer I stayed in Athens and worked very hard towards getting my Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) certificate. Three days before opening weekend I was able to successfully pass my checkride and I’m now a CFI and I’m teaching students this semester. It has been one of the greatest accomplishments of my life and I’m looking forward to where it is going to take me after college!

After CFI Checkride

2014 Women in Aviation International Conference

Kelly McCoy

Kelly McCoy,
Senior, Aviation

Athens, OH 25 March 2014 – The Ohio University chapter of Women in Aviation, International (WAI) recently returned from our trip to the annual WAI Conference. This year it was held in Orlando, Florida at the Disney Coronado Springs Resort, which was beautiful! The conference offers the opportunity to connect with professionals in the aviation industry, to attend educational sessions, and to get interviewed by companies such as major airlines and corporate flight departments. Every aviation discipline was represented, from maintenance to flight schools to research to the Federal Aviation Administration. The students who attended this year explored job options after graduation and networked with people who can mentor them and help them further their career. We met many inspiring people!

Personally, the conference offered me the chance to reconnect with pilots and recruiters who I have met at past conferences, and I made many new friends and mentors who gave me great professional advice as I prepare to graduate and begin my career. I also got several job offers through networking and by talking to the right people. We also had the chance to train in a high altitude chamber and feel the true effects of hypoxia, which is valuable training for pilots. The conference was a very rewarding and beneficial experience this year!

Spring Break Skiing

Grant Rhue

Grant Rhue,
Senior, Aviation

Athens, OH 14 March 2014 – One of my favorite times of the year as a college student is Spring Break. Whenever this time comes around, I can’t wait to go to Breckenridge, Colorado, with my family for some downhill skiing and time together. It takes a little time to get used to the elevation change–9,000 at Breckenridge compared to Ohio’s average of 800 feet, but I usually adjust quickly.


Breckenridge actually reminds me quite a bit of Athens, with its main street lined with small businesses and restaurants. There are also many unique venues to explore while trying to recover after a long day of boarding or skiing. Each year when we visit, we have a family tradition of walking down Main Street after dinner to the small outdoor Crepe A La Cart, where we all get our favorite variety of dessert.

When I began skiing during my junior year of high school, I found that many skiing skills were transferable from my years of playing hockey. It helped me to develop some decent skiing skill on downhill trails. After taking some lessons, I progressed from green trails up to the lower level black diamond courses.

Now, I can take on the steeper, upper altitude bowls and peaks that can range from 10,000 to 13,000 feet. This year, I covered more terrain than I had ever before–skiing from one mountain boundary all the way to the other side, covering 5 different peaks and a variety of runs along the way. Skiing is a great way to enjoy the mountains and to get away from the demands of school.

At the Future City National Finals

Kelly McCoy

Kelly McCoy,
Senior, Aviation

Athens, OH 24 February 2014 – I LOVE being an Engineering Ambassador! Last week, another Ambassador and I got the chance to fly to Washington, D.C., to represent the Russ College as judges at the finals of the national Future City Competition and it was awesome!

Future City is a national project-based competition where middle schoolers imagine and design futuristic cities and present their visions through scale models, essays, presentations, and a SimCity software simulation. Their projects are then judged on everything from transportation systems to city self-sufficiency to presentation skills. There were so many incredible presentations this year!

Groups compete regionally, and if they win in their region they are invited to the national competition in Washington, D.C. Evan and I acted as general judges and as judges for a Special Award–Best Personal Transportation System–and we heard some very creative solutions! Many groups incorporated several different futuristic ideas, such as autonomous pods charged by a road made of photovoltaic cells or a moving sidewalk. Some ideas were very imaginative and it was great to see kids thinking about engineering principles at such a young age. Many of them were excited continue their engineering educations and admitted they were thinking of becoming engineers. Success!

My personal favorite part of the competition was judging the scale models that the kids made. They had to be constructed of recycled materials ans have certain features. I saw buildings made of everything from vacuum heads to old computer equipment to car parts, all spray painted or decorated to resemble futuristic cities. The creativity of these kids was incredible, and their pride in their work was very inspiring.

Ready for an Aviation Career

Grant Rhue

Grant Rhue,
Senior, Aviation

Athens, OH 9 February 2014 – As the date of graduation draws closer, I am faced with the question that every university senior is asking themselves – “What’s next?” After four years of learning in Ohio University’s flight program, I have had a multitude of amazing experiences: from my first solo flight in a Piper Warrior (a single engine aircraft), to four years of flight competition with the Flying Bobcats, to being able to represent OU’s Flight Program in the airline industry with my Flight Operations internship at Trans States Airlines, it has been great. OU’s flight program has been exciting and worthwhile.

Now, I am ready for a job—well, almost. There are a number of different ways to reach the 1000 hours of flight time required to be hired by the regional airlines. I have begun looking into contract instructing with the flight academies in Florida to earn a multi-engine instructor certificate and to teach there until I accumulate the required FAA hours.

With the pilot shortage that currently exists, aviation graduates are in high demand, with some regional carriers like Envoy (formerly American Eagle) and Republic Airlines offering $5,000 dollar signing bonuses for new pilots. The demand for commercial pilots is high, and I am pretty happy about that. I have already been offered interviews for reserved spots in airline classes, as soon as I reach the required hours.

With every interview opportunity I have had, I have asked airline recruiters review my resume and give me feedback on ways to improve it. Many of them are supportive and positive about the OU flight program. As with many hiring situations, the airline industry responds well to networking and doing a good job at whatever you undertake. I am looking forward to meeting the recruiters from Republic Airlines when the Russ College of Engineering hosts a career fair on February 17th.

Women in Aviation Fundraiser

Kelly McCoy

Kelly McCoy,
Senior, Aviation

Athens, OH 11 November 2013 – This past weekend, the Ohio University Chapter of Women in Aviation, International (WAI) hosted the second annual Chili Cook-Off and Fly-In at the Ohio University airport in Albany. This year was another great success, with competitors and tasters flying over in their personal aircraft or driving in from Athens. We even had someone come down from Cleveland! Several university aircraft were on display at the event, including the historic DC-3, in use by the avionics department for research on advanced navigation systems. This plane, originally part of the Army fleet in WWII, it was used by the Federal Aviation Administration for flight checks until it came to Ohio University.

Throughout the day, anyone could enter a chili in one of 4 categories: Spicy, Mild, Non-traditional/Alternative, and Game. We were lucky to have many delicious entries, and the most original had to be the Spam and bacon chili. Each taster voted for their favorite in each category and for an overall winner, and the judging was very close. Winners walked away with personalized trophies, and the proceeds benefited the OU Chapter of WAI.

This year the chapter is working hard to raise money to be able to go to the annual WAI conference in order to network and attend professional development seminars. In the past, attendees have had the chance to talk to professionals in industry-leading companies, find mentors in their field, and interview for internships and jobs after graduation. Everyone looks forward to this opportunity!