Sadie’s Science Corner #5: Spring and Flying

Spring Break is nearly upon us, and the weather’s looking great! I cannot wait to get outdoors and have some fun in the spring air. Over spring break I hope to work on some of my model aircraft and hopefully get one in the air (that is if the wind ever lays down). I love spring, and it is a great time for aviation. Keep a lookout for any airshows in your area, as I would recommend everyone going to a spring show, or even a local fly-in. For larger airshows you can check the Thunderbirds’ and Blue Angels’ schedules, available online (links below).

Thunderbirds Air Show Schedule 2017:

Blue Angels Air Show Schedule 2017:


So far it looks to be a fun packed year for airshows across the country! Also, if you are into model aircraft airshows there are many throughout the nation, including the famous Joe Nall and the up-and-coming Flite Fest. Finally, with better weather comes more aviation related crashes, so if you are flying, make sure to enjoy the view but also keep in mind situational awareness. Whether full scale or model flying, safety is the number one concern on everyone’s list, so just keep a level head and fly safe. Sometimes pilots in good weather conditions focus too much on the scenery and too little on their plane, which can become a bad situation, even with models.


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Opportunities and Who You Are

First of all I apologize for missing last week, as I came down with the flu. Last Tuesday, however, I had one of the biggest opportunities so far in my career. The previous night I attended a seminar given by Gulfstream about possible co-op positions. We were allowed to turn in resumes if we wanted, and were told to keep our phones on that night just incase we were of the few they wanted to interview. At 10 pm my phone rang, and I had an interview with Gulfstream, an industry leader in the private aviation world! On Tuesday came my interview, and although being nervous I feel as if I did all I could. Unfortunately a few days later I received an email saying that I had not been picked, and the next day I had gotten sick. ‘Nothing’s been going for me’ I thought, and on top of piling up work and not wanting to fall behind I found myself questioning why I was putting myself through all of this. Most people don’t like school work to begin with, much less adding on being sick, and I will admit I was really hating school. As I have began to get better and get my work caught up (mostly haha it never ends) I was able to realize that I was beginning to see the truth, I didn’t like it because I was sick and tired of it (literally and figuratively). This wasn’t about school it was about my own performance, and not getting that job had in a way discouraged me, and being sick for a week didn’t help. During a few day’s recovery I was able to sit back and realize I wasn’t tired of school, it was the same as it had been and I was the same that I had been. So what if I hadn’t of gotten the co-op, I was still me, and aviation, and school (no matter how much things make me dislike it) still mattered. People will always associate me with flying, and it will always be who I am. I was reminded of this when friends sent me pictures of airplanes they saw during their day without me even having to ask. People knew aviation would cheer me up, and that it would bring me back to focus.


C-17s fly all around my hometown, and my Dad sent me this picture one evening.


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Buddy’s Aviation History Blog #4: Looking back on October Sky

Yesterday evening I was thinking back to when I used to shoot Estes rockets in the backyard, and I got to thinking about the movie October Sky. For those of you who haven’t seen it, it is a movie based on the teenage years of Homer Hickam Jr. (former NASA engineer) and his passion for rocketry. Together he and his friends build model rockets (some of which get them in trouble) and go on to win the national science fair, where Homer shakes the hand of his favorite scientist Wernher von Braun without realizing who he was. This movie inspired me when I was younger, and it had been several years since I had seen it; I am glad that I decided to watch it.

Photo from IMDb

Photo from IMDb



Good Aspects of the Movie

1.) It is a true story (you don’t see that in many movies, and when you do the truth is usually stretched)

2.) He went on to become a NASA engineer and served in the Vietnam War (accomplished his dreams)

3.) It reminds us the importance of encouraging young people to pursue their dreams no matter how far fetched they may seem at the time

4.) It shows young adults that their dreams are possible IF they put in the work

5.) It shows how far NASA and science have come even since the 50s (movie setting in late 50s)


Things that Could Have Been Improved

1.)  The teenagers accents seemed unrefined/overdone

2.) It would have been cool to see some more of his work at NASA after the movie


Overall I would say October Sky is a great movie, and all prospective aerospace engineers should watch it. It shows many good qualities including perseverance, determination, and friendship. Check out the movie, an you’ll be surprised. The movie was released in 1999 and is rated PG.


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An Aviation-Based Spring Break

Spring Break is a great time for friends to hang out and blow off some steam, but rather than just hang out around the house, what if we based our time off around flying? If money was not a factor, what would be the best Spring Break based around flying? This question was posed to myself and several other fellow writers (I will try to share the links to their ideas), and I would love to hear your ideas as well. Please email your ideas to  and we will feature a few of the best closer to Spring Break.


The following story is just that, this definitely couldn’t happen this year, but hopefully in a few years!


At MSU Spring Break usually lasts five days including the weekend, so there will be plenty of time to get around. A few friends and I could rent an aircraft and fly to the coast (Mississippi). The coast offers many attractions, including fine dining, fishing opportunities, and even the new Margaritaville (where you can see a huge model of a Grumman Goose hanging from the roof near the entrance) and many other large attractions throughout the area.


The next day we fly to Pensacola, Florida. Not only is it a great beach destination, it is also home to the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Team, also known as the Blue Angels. Once arriving we rent a car and drive out through the wildlife park near Pensacola Beach and to a little jut-out known as Fort Pickens. Facing the ocean with clear blue water and right across the bay from the naval air station, Fort Pickens is an amazing location to watch the Blues practice during the week. With jets screaming just feet over the sea wall you get a front row seat to a personal aerial performance. That afternoon we can hit the beach and relax!


On the third morning we head to the National Naval Aviation Museum at NAS Pensacola. If you have never been you are missing out, I could spend years in that museum! In the museum you can take guided tours or browse at your own leisure. Included in the museum’s artifacts are many aircraft, including four A-4 Skyhawks that the Blues flew years ago, an F4F Wildcat, SBD dive bomber, a blimp, and even an aircraft flown by George H.W. Bush! Part of one of the hangars is made to look like an old aircraft carrier deck. While there you could even check out the library resources which include countless amounts of materials on naval aviation and those who have served.

scootersThat evening could be spent checking out the scenery, including the wildlife preserve and the beautiful city of Pensacola. The fourth day could be spent at the beach or back at the museum to get a look at a few more aircraft you don’t want to miss (I would definitely be heading to the museum), and then it’s back to Mississippi. We refuel on the coast, grab something to eat, and head back to drop everyone off. While flying there and back it is a good opportunity to keep hours up plus some of your friends can experience flying if they never have before. After the aircraft is returned and checks out it’s time to head home and sleep, and to prepare for another day on the job (or campus).


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Remembering the Sacrifices of Past Astronauts

Apollo 1 Fire

On January 27, 1967 the crew for Apollo 1 was conducting tests while sealed into their command pod. The three man crew included Command Pilot Virgil A. “Gus” Grissom, Senior Pilot Edward H. White II, and Pilot Roger B. Chaffee. The cabin was completely isolated for the test, including the air system. Inside the cabin was an atmosphere of nearly 100% oxygen, creating a volatile environment. It is believed that a short near the Environmental Control Unit started a fire inside the cabin. The fire was able to expand very quickly in the oxygen-rich environment. The command pod had an inner and an outer door. While the crew was quickly able to open the inner door they were not able to open the hinged outer door, and all three perished. The Apollo program was put on pause. An in-depth investigation was launched, and it was determined that the crew died of cardiac arrest due to the large amounts of carbon dioxide created during the fire. Many of the command pod systems were found to have flaws and possible failures. This incident opened up NASA’s eyes to these problems, and out of this tragedy came many improvements in safety for astronauts.


Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster

On January 28, 1986 the space shuttle known as Challenger was prepared to launch. After an unusually cold night there were concerns about possible damage to the equipment, but the decision was made to ‘go.’ 73 seconds into the flight the craft exploded; the explosion was caused by a faulty o-ring in one of the solid rocket boosters which set off the liquid fuel, resulting in the craft’s destruction. All seven astronauts perished, and the shuttle program was paused for about 32 months. Included in the crew was Christa McAuliffe, who was going to be the first teacher into space. Because of this occasion many classrooms were tuned in to watch the launch; this tragic disaster effected many, as it is believed nearly 17% of the entire nation was watching when it happened. NASA again saw this as a wake-up call to make their launch vehicles and systems more reliable and safer.


Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster

On February 1,  2003 the space shuttle Columbia was set to reenter the earth’s atmosphere. Some of the protective foam that covers the underside of the ship from heat during reentry was torn away during the launch from several days before, but the extent of the damage was unknown. As the Columbia reentered the atmosphere the area that was damaged and uncovered came apart, resulting in the craft coming apart. All seven crew members died upon reentry. Debris was found all across Texas and Louisiana; an investigation was launched and many of the pieces of debris were found and examined. The shuttle program was put on hold for nearly two years as many upgrades and safety features were added.



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Aviation and Exploration #7: Reflections of the Universe

On Tuesday night I attended the opening of the Out of this World Space Art and Astrophotography Exhibit which is in the Mitchell Memorial Library on MSU’s campus. The opening presentation was called Reflections of the Universe and was presented by space artist Edwin Faughn. Throughout this presentation we got to see some of his amazing artwork as well as some of the beautiful images he and fellow scientists had taken from various observatories.

Mr. Edwin Faughn

Some of my favorite images and paintings were renditions and shots from rovers of the planet Mars. Some of these paintings and pictures included meteor and asteroid strike zones as well as a canyon that dwarfs Earth’s Grand Canyon. One of the most interesting things that he pointed out was the fact that around large asteroid strike areas there were areas fanning out from the sites that appear to be old creek beds. Scientists believe these are caused by the frozen water beneath the surface of Mars being superheated due to the impact, which then creates short but powerful flash flooding away from the strike. Mars’ atmosphere is so thin that the water cannot exist on the surface for very long, but it does stick around enough to make impressions in the landscape that we can observe. I did not take any pictures (it was an art show) but I will provide some examples of his beautiful artwork below (these were part of his presentation).











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NASA in KSP: Mercury-Redstone 3 “Freedom 7”

*Editor’s Note: This is the first installment in a series of videos and write-ups that will use old NASA recordings and Kerbal Space Program to teach people about America’s space programs and work to inspire in people an awakened desire to explore space and push the boundaries of human knowledge and achievement.*

May 5th, 1961. Russia had already gotten a man to space, and NASA needed to act quickly in order to keep up in the Space Race. Using missile technology from the United States Air Force and a state-of-the-art capsule system NASA was able to launch Freedom 7 with Alan B. Shepard Jr. at the helm. *Freedom 7 and the other subsequent Mercury launches were all named by the astronaut; after each name they included the number 7 because they were the “original seven” astronauts.* Pre-flight checks proceed as the clock is stopped. Fuel… check. Cabin pressure… check. The clock proceeds again, and you know that every eventuality and possible issue has been worked out and compensated for. 10, 9, 8, 7, all systems go, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0. Ignition.

Shepard: “Roger, liftoff and the clock has started!”

Freedom 7 performed exactly as it had in the hundreds of tests and simulations before the launch, and carried Shepard into space, making him the first American to get into space. We hope you enjoy the video! Check out the full recording from NASA at We thank them for making such historic materials available to the public, and we hope they find our video entertaining and educational.


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Moving Forward in Aviation for the Busy Student

I am often asked, as many of you probably wonder as well, when is Jared going to get back to doing real aviation? The answer, soon, but I’m not exactly sure when. Why? As many people learn after they begin college two things vital to aviation become scarce, time and money. The larger of these two being time, as fellow students know very well about all-nighters and little sleep. Paying for college as well as time itself causes our second reason. While you study and go to classes time that would normally be spent making money has suddenly become engulfed in study sessions, lectures and writing useless papers. As the old saying goes ‘someone can become a millionaire through aviation, they just had to be a billionaire first.’  While the costs surrounding aviation continue to diminish, it is still an expensive endeavor. Still many people ask ‘It can’t be that bad can it?’ Paying for the needed instruction in order to get your license isn’t like getting a driver’s license, you don’t go take a short test at the DMV, drive around the lot, and then pay them. Many hours need to be spent on the ground and in the air in preparation for the first time you take to the air solo. Besides the hours, the cost for a new pilot’s license will run you several thousand dollars.


So for the short answer to a long question, I want to be back in the air soon, but as far as getting my license I hope to put in the time and effort this upcoming summer. As I save money (I know, I know college will find a way to get it) and prepare to complete this I hope to learn many things and meet many new people. I hope to begin working on the ground school material a little earlier so that hopefully once summer comes I will be ready. If everything goes as planned I will be able to finish my license before next year, but you know how plans go.


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A Look Back on Aviation in 2016

Welcome to 2017! As we look forward to our next revolution around the sun we take a look back on our previous experiences and strive to remember why it is we progress and move forward. 2016 was an excellent year for me. From graduating high school and beginning my Freshman year at Mississippi State University to being the head instructor for the Southeast Regional Civil Air Patrol Aerospace Academy’s UAV/UAS Course I had a full schedule. 2016 allowed me many opportunities and introduced me to many amazing people; while many complained that 2016 was awful I see it as one of my most memorable years.


The GA-8, which is manufactured in Australia

As far as my experiences in aviation is concerned 2016 was eventful and exciting. From taking my first flight and subsequent “O” Flights (Orientation Flights) to having the rare opportunity to fly the GA-8 I enjoyed my time in the air. As I stated before I had the opportunity to instruct the UAV/UAS Course for 2016’s Aero Academy and look forward to participating next year. Also in 2016 I became a recipient of the Calvin L. Carrithers Aviation Scholarship, which has given me many opportunities including being the author of this blog.


Our FT Guinea Pig we built at the 2016 Aero Academy

While we move forward into 2017 I hope that each of you prosper and can make memories while flying as well as throughout daily life. As aviation becomes more accessible and commonplace it also reminds all of us to strive for our ambitions, to reach for the stars if you will (double meaning intended). So in 2017 reach for the stars, further your education and become a master in your chosen field. Strive to bring forth advancement and discovery into industry and leave your mark on the new year!


Team XIPITER’s aircraft, of which I hope to pilot soon!

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Sadie’s Science Corner #4: Product Review for the DX-1 Micro Drone

This week we will be looking at and reviewing the Sharper Image DX-1 Micro Drone. For about $20 this drone can introduce you to flying multicopters; for a good price you can train on a tough miniature trainer. When I first began flying the DX-1 I bounced it off the concrete on the porch several times, with a few crashes going straight in, props first. With each crash I was afraid that I had broken one of the four props, but to my surprise I would pick up the small airframe to discover everything in perfect working order.


The DX-1 takes about twenty minutes to charge and can swing a short flight for about four to five minutes; with each flight you will learn something new about the flying experience and your aircraft. While a little tricky to trim, it is a good flying and stable platform for beginning to learn how multicopters fly and will awaken an excitement for a new look into the exciting world of aviation. Word to the wise, if you do fly outside make sure to watch your altitude; speaking by experience if you fly out of range it will continue to fly away until it meets with the local vegetation and trees. Also, if you fly indoors make sure that it is a larger room with nothing valuable or easily knocked over items. Overall the DX-1 is a useful and fun trainer and will provide for hours of operation and excitement.

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