Category Archives: Aviation

Flight Team Regional Competition

Becca Sedlak

Becca Sedlak,
Senior, Aviation Flight

Athens, OH 25 October 2017

For the past four years I have been a member of Ohio University’s Flight Team. It is one of the best experiences that I have had. Every fall we spend 10 days at a regional completion competing against Kent State, Ohio State, Bowling Green and Western Michigan in multiple ground events and flying events.

My favorite event is message drop. Message drop is when you get to drop a small box, called a message, out of the plane’s window and try to either get in the barrels on the ground or the closest.

There are two people in the plane, one flying and one the drop master. The drop master is in charge of telling the pilot where the barrel is and how to get the plane lined up so the drop master can drop the message out of the plane. The pilot is in charge of flying the plane and going no lower than 200 feet about the field.

This is one of my favorite events because it is a stress-free day because there truly is no way to train for this event. It is just overall a fun event and there is just a fun stress-free energy in the air. Teams even go to the extent of dressing up to bring more joy in the event. Here is Gareth Bussa, another ambassador, as the pilot and me as the drop master before we went up.

Pre Message Drop

Since I was the only senior this year I got the privilege of going up as a drop master with my best friend as the pilot and then I went up as the pilot with my little from my fraternity as the drop master. It was the best way to end my last competition as a competitor.

Flight Competition

Gareth Bussa

Gareth Bussa,
Junior, Aviation

Athens, OH 24 October 2017

Earlier this month, I spent a week and a half in Central Michigan. Ohio University’s Flying Bobcats were competing in Region III of NIFA SAFECON. SAFECON is a competition against 5 flight teams in the Midwest. We compete against Ohio State, Western Michigan, Kent State and Bowling Green. It’s a great week of friendly rivalries, trying to compete for the top 3 positions to go to nationals.

As a flight team, we compete in ground and flying events. For me, the flying events are a blast. With flying, we compete in landings, navigational runs and message drop. Ground events consist of E6b, SCAN and Aircraft Recognition, preflight, sim and safety.

As a small team, we knew it was going to be a challenge to compete against the larger teams. We practiced multiple times a week, trying our best to be prepared for the events. We left on a Friday morning, flying our four aircraft up.

I flew up an aircraft hoping to get as close to Michigan as I could since there was some inclement weather. The aircraft I fly is not capable of flying into clouds. So as I flew up towards Michigan, I stopped in Port Clinton, Ohio to fuel up and grab some lunch.

Flying long distances in a small aircraft can be very fun. You can stay low to the ground and see the view beneath you. We stopped and fueled up, grabbed a delicious meal at a small airport diner and departed heading for Battle Creek Michigan.

On the way, the weather became clear blue skies and unrestricted visibility. Passing over the farm fields of Michigan and seeing the small communities was amazing. One town had a corn maze that was shaped like a bunny eating a carrot. Others you can tell were prepping for their fall festivities.

Being able to see the world beneath you is unimaginable, especially flying at a lower altitude. If you fly lower, you can see more detail on the ground beneath you.

We arrived at Battle Creek, Michigan to begin the 10 days of working hard and preparing for the competition. We were supposed to practice flying the weekend we got there, but Michigan weather decided that it wasn’t the right thing to do. Rainfall that weekend broke the 2-day record in Battle Creek, Michigan for the most rain. 2.5 inches caused us to only practice ground events. We practiced at the hotel as well as the airport, hoping for a break in the weather so us fliers could get out and practice our navigation runs as well as landings.

Our biggest weakness was the ground events. With there only being 10 of us on the team, most of us had to do every single event. We practiced our e6b’s, plotting our routes and studied our FAR/AIM’s. Whenever the actual ground events started, we had all prepared as much as we could.

In each ground event, you have 5 people testing, giving you 24 other people to compete against. This was very challenging and stressful because you knew there were other competitors out there that only studied for that one ground event.

The best part arrived, flying events. Flying events are the most exciting event to do throughout the week. Pilot slots on a team are very tough to get. Each person on the team with his or her private pilot license may compete for a position on the team.

There are a total of 5 landers and 3 navigation pilots on a team. In the landing competitions, you try to land on a specific line. They judge you on how precise you are, if you’re using proper techniques and how long or short you are to that line. Landings can be very challenging depending on the winds on the ground and in the air.

During the competition, the winds on the ground were gusting over 25 miles and hour and the winds at 2,000 feet were blowing well over 50 miles an hour. This gave you a disadvantage on your pattern techniques as well as landing. Whenever you land with a lot of wind, you have to add more power to keep the airplane flying. This can be very challenging whenever you’re doing a flight when you have to pull all the power out and land with no power in; basically, you have to glide the airplane down to the runway.

Overall through the event, we had a great time together and competing against other teams. We all had personal bests throughout the event and it showed from last year’s competition in Bowling Green. We didn’t get the place we wanted at the end, but next year the team will be better.

Becoming a Cat Owner

Becca Sedlak

Becca Sedlak,
Senior, Aviation Flight

Athens, OH 27 September 2017

I have always been a huge pet lover and ever since going to college I could not wait until I went back home to play with my neighbors dog. Being in the dorms for two years I was not able to have an animal. I had friends who had dogs when they moved into a house, so I would go over and play with their dogs. Once I moved off campus last year, I tried so hard to get a dog but I had a roommate who was terrified of dogs. Thankfully my neighbors had a dog that I would watch from time to time to help them out.

Since there are some days that I am not home because I am flying all day I accepted that I would not be able to care for a dog while in college. Earlier this month, though, things changed and I became a cat mom.

My roommate and I were walking home and we decided to stop into a thrift store that is apart of the Humane Society to play with the kittens to relieve some stress. When we walked into the store and asked about the kittens, the owner asked if we just wanted to play or willing to adopt. I said just play unless something changes.

The owner brought out a cat named Crackers and introduced him to me and I knew that I would be leaving the store with him. When the owner first brought him out I went to pet him and he just rolled over on his back and the rest was history.

I took him home and renamed him Leo and spent my 21st birthday playing with the cat I just got rather than going out. I stopped by the store a few days later to tell the owner that Leo had found his forever home. I found out that this poor cat was abused and abandoned before the owner got him and all adoption fees were waived because they just wanted him to have a good home. He is a goofball that likes to play fetch and watch all the birds from the sliding door in my apartment.

Working as a CFI

Gareth Bussa

Gareth Bussa,
Junior, Aviation

Athens, OH 23 September 2017

This past summer I resided in Athens, while I have been completing my aviation courses and working as a Certified Flight Instructor. As a newly rated CFI, I was able to gain experience and better myself as a teacher while instructing current Ohio University Aviation students.

During the fall semester, I am currently working on an internship as a CFI at the Ohio University Airport. There are many opportunities for internships today, due to the pilot shortage. For me, I chose the CFI internship because it allows me to build hours and grow as an instructor for my future. As a commercial pilot and wanting to pursue an airline career, you have to have 1,000 hours of flight time before you can start a job as an airline pilot. This internship has given me the fastest path to my future as an airline pilot.

Not only was I able to become a CFI this summer, I was able to go to an aviator’s paradise during the end of July. Yes, it does sound very dorky, but Oshkosh is the world’s largest airshow. This was an eye opener for me to see the aviation field get together for a week and share the love and passion of aviation. Over 500,000 people and 10,000 aircraft stop by the air show during the last week of July. Going to Oshkosh helped me as a college student, prepare for an airline career.

In the United States, the airlines are in a pilot shortage. Over the next decade, airlines in the U.S. will need roughly 10,000 pilots to fill the shortage. With this in mind, airlines are hurting for pilots today. Small regional airlines are taking the largest hit, so they are doing anything they can to bring you into their airline. Airlines were present at the air show and it gave me an opportunity to talk and learn about the airline industry and what the best way for me as a pilot is to fill the gap in the airlines.

As the fall semester has begun in Athens, I am able to look back upon my summer and appreciate all that I was able to do working as an intern. I have gained a lot just in the summer and hope to continue to gain more during the continuance of my intern at the airport. I can’t wait to see what is in store for the rest of the school year.

Women in Aviation Conference

Becca Sedlak

Becca Sedlak,
Junior, Aviation Flight

Athens, OH 14 March 2017

Being a part of an organization has many perks—for example, having a conference in Orlando the week before Spring Break causing you to have two weeks of Spring Break.

I have gone to the Women in Aviation International conference since my freshman year. Since this was my third year, I knew more about how to approach companies that I might want to be hired by in the future.

This conference has helped me grow more as a person and give me more knowledge about the field that I want to go into. I have grown more confident in speaking with companies and knowing in what I want in my future career. I have met a pilot without arms, a female fighter pilot who was in D.C. during 9/11 and a flight attendant who was on the Miracle on the Hudson flight; those are just a few of the amazing women there.

There are all of these amazing women there and they just want to help students who are trying to get into the field. Every woman there has an inspiring story and will give you tips that they wish they knew at my age. I always look forward to the conference every year because I get closer with other members in the OU chapter, but I also see my friends who I made my freshman year in the conference.

Instrument Flight Rating Test

Becca Sedlak

Becca Sedlak,
Junior, Aviation Flight

Athens, OH 6 March 2017

Since August I have been in the Instrument Flight course here at OU. Getting your instrument rating is one of the hardest flight courses because you cannot see outside and have to focus on your instruments and trust them, ignoring your body sensations.

There have been times where I was in a sight-restricting device and my body was telling me I was in a turn while my instruments told me I was in straight-and-level flight. My instructor could see outside and confirmed that I was in a straight-and-level flight.

The most frustrating thing about being a flight student is when weather comes in and causes you to slow down in your progress. hat is what happened to me towards the end of last semester. After weather coming in stopping me from being able to take my Instrument Flight rating test, I was finally able to take it the Monday of Spring Break. This was one of the most stressful tests that I have ever taken. I had to be confident in my answers but also show that I knew how to fly with just my instruments.

Airplane

I could not be more proud of myself when I heard the test instructor tell me that I did very well and passed. It was the best way to start off Spring Break!

Star Gazing

Jannat Al Barwani

Jannat Al Barwani,
Junior, Aviation Management

Athens, OH 22 February 2017

I usually don’t like winter because I can’t tolerate the cold weather. Not only that, but I find winter very depressing. Once I feel like winter is coming, I picture myself staying indoors most of the time and waiting for spring break to come.

This winter, I tried to change my perspective about the winter season. I thought that I should do some fun and entertaining activities that people would usually participate in during the winter season. The first thing that popped into my mind was sledding. We unfortunately didn’t get that much snow this year.

I tried thinking of other activities to do but couldn’t come up with anything. So, I decided to look into the activities that the university offers and that’s when I found that Ping Center offers a stargazing night during Sibs weekend. I told my friends about it and we all decided to go together.

Th one who was hosting this activity was named George Ebert, a professor who teaches astronomy and used to work at the old Ridges. We went to the Ridges at 8:00 pm and it was very cold. We took a walk into the woods until we reached the top of the hill and the scenery was simply beautiful. We were all fascinated by the breathtaking view of the night stars.

Professor Ebert taught us about the starts, their names and which constellations they were in. He said that no matter where we stood, the stars are always in the same place. The north star will always be in the north and the south star will always be in the south. He mentioned that the north star is not the shiniest star like most people think. Once we were done star gazing, we all went to the bone fire and drank hot chocolate with marshmallows in them…Not a fan of marshmallows either.