Category Archives: Aviation

Recommendations for Enjoying College

Becca Sedlak

Becca Sedlak,
Senior, Aviation Flight

Athens, OH 22 April 2018

With the final few weeks and graduation coming closer I feel as if my days are numbered at Ohio University. I look back and know that I made the right choice by going to OU. I have countless memories and will be sad leaving such a friendly and amazing place.

There are some recommendations for incoming freshman that I have learned over the past four years. The first recommendation is to live in a freshman-only dorm. This sounds odd but everyone in the entire building is going through what you are going through and is more willing to try something new.

Second is to try something new, make a bucket list of things you want to get done before you graduate. I did that and have climbed the rock wall, went hiking all over campus, went to at least one game for each sporting event and joined a club that was outside of my major.

My last recommendation is to not be afraid to spread your wings and find new friends, but don’t forget your old friends in the process. Having different friends will help you explore and have new experiences, but friends you came into college with are there for you when you are home sick and they understand.

These are just a few of my recommendations, but whatever you do, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and enjoy the time that you have at Ohio University because it goes a lot faster than you think!

Apply for Scholarships

Becca Sedlak

Becca Sedlak,
Senior, Aviation Flight

Athens, OH 22 February 2018

I have heard “apply for scholarships” since I was a senior in high school. I never really took it seriously and would apply to a few just to get my parents off of my back about applying. The nice thing about Ohio University is that there is only one form to fill out for scholarships at the school here. I would just do that and think that was enough because I never thought that I would ever get those really large scholarships that you hear people talk about.

This year I applied for a few scholarships and actually got two of the three that I applied for. The first one I applied at the last minute and did not hold my breath because I had applied before and did not get it. It was a smaller amount, but anything helps when paying for college. The second one was a large amount of money that I just applied for and was not expecting to get it at all.

About two months after applying for the scholarships I got a call saying that I was awarded the smaller one and the large one. I honestly was speechless when I was told that I won the scholarships. Now, my only regret is that I waited until my senior year to actually apply myself for scholarships.

I am very thankful that because of these scholarships I can get more flight ratings, but now I am just wondering if I would have applied myself sooner how many more ratings I would have. So, apply for scholarships because people are willing to invest in your education and future and it is amazing feeling.

Aviation Crew Resource Management

Gareth Bussa

Gareth Bussa,
Junior, Aviation

Athens, OH 27 November 2018

During this semester, our department is trying out a new class. This class is a hands-on experience with another peer in the simulator. The class is called CRM (Crew Resource Management).

CRM is a vital component in today’s aviation industry. Any time you step into the cockpit of an airplane, you will have another crew member aboard. With CRM, aviation has seen a major decrease in aviation accidents.

As a crew, you perform duties together while sitting in a cockpit. You do checklists together, brief what you’ll be flying, how you’re going to fly routes and other necessities during a flight. This class teaches you everything to know in a CRM environment. Yes, it does not have the exact procedures as airlines or cockpits of a jet, but it does have procedures that are close to what you actually do in the real world.

These procedures and actions are key to safety of the crew and passengers aboard the aircraft. The CRM class contains the pilot flying, the pilot monitoring, as well as the professor in the back giving us scenarios in the actual simulator.

Most of the scenarios in the sim won’t happen in the actual aircraft. The professor likes to throw multiple failures at us at a time to see if we can handle the stress of dealing with failures in critical phases of flight. Whenever I talk about critical phases of flight, I mean takeoffs, landings and as well as cruise. These three areas are where you have the most accidents in an aircraft.

This class helps us prepare to be ready in the actual need of a failure. For instance, if an engine fails on a multi-engine aircraft, I know what procedures I need to do to keep the aircraft flying. While I know these by memory, I always verify what I am doing with the other person in the cockpit as well as checklists.

This class helps me prepare for the real world environment and I have learned a whole lot just from one semester. Coming out of this, I know what to expect when actually stepping into an aircraft for the airlines.

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.