Fighting Irish take flight

first_imgStudents fascinated by game day flyovers will have a chance to get an inside look at what it takes to fly next semester. The Notre Dame Pilot Initiative, an academic program intended to teach students about the fundamentals of flight, will return this spring. The three-credit course, Principles of Flight, is specifically designed to help aspirant pilots pass the written portion of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) private pilot certification test. Jay Burns, a cadet captain in the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) and certified ground instructor, is leading the effort to bring back the course. He said the class will use much of the same material that helped him pass the FAA test. “I learned to fly from this material when I was still a sophomore in high school, and it certainly helped me pass my FAA written exam to get my private pilot certificate,” Burns said. “I felt that I was more advanced because I’ve had a better background and a deeper understanding of the different concepts that you deal with in aviation.” Burns said he would incorporate additional material used by Joe Friel, a former Air Force ROTC student who led the class the last time it was offered. Friel, now a program manager at Avidyne, the leading provider of cockpit instrumentation for small aircrafts, said he and Newcamp developed the curriculum to offer students an insight into the practical application of flight concepts. “We tried to bring material that was appropriate, but that was in-depth enough to give students a real appreciation for the concepts,” Friel said. “More than just memorizing for the tests, we wanted them to really understand what was making the plan fly.” When the initiative began, Friel said primarily AFROTC students were interested. The second semester, however, he was surprised by a drastic change in class makeup. “We taught some that did want to be pilots and some that didn’t,” Friel said. “One girl that signed up for our course was an artist who drew some of the materials that we used, and who had signed up for the class because she had family members who flew and she wanted more of an appreciation of flying.” Colonel Andrew Cernicky, a professor of Aerospace Studies, a U.S. Air Force pilot and a graduate of Notre Dame’s ROTC program, will co-lead the course with Burns. Cernicky said he was excited when Burns approached him with his plans for revitalizing the initiative, both because he took the course as an undergraduate and because it offered an opportunity to expose students to the fundamentals of flight for the first time. “This class should demystify the process of flying and make it completely understandable,” Cernicky said. “You don’t need to be a scientist or mathematician to take this course, anyone at ND can take it that has an interest in understanding how aircraft fly.” Mary Hession, a sophomore in Notre Dame’s Air Force ROTC, said she is glad the course is designed to be accessible to those without previous experience. As a Russian major, she said the course would be a good introduction to a more technical area of study. “All of the technical majors have more of the background knowledge that corresponds to understanding flying, so this class will help me by giving me that knowledge,” she said. Jordan Hoover, another AFROTC sophomore, said he is taking the class to get exposure to material he may later see in the Air Force’s pilot training. “I’m fairly sure that I want to be a pilot,” Hoover said. “[The course] will give me the experience to know for sure that’s what I want to do, and I’ll have seen the material that I would encounter in pilot training.” Now retired Colonel Mike Zenk, who oversaw the program when it was under Friel’s leadership, said the original class material included many of the elements taught at ground school. Students learned the basics of aerodynamics, FAA rules about airspaces, airport and flight operations, communications with ground crews, safety precautions and pilot navigation skills. “The biggest benefit [of the class] is taking that first step towards actually being able to fly an airplane,” Zenk said. “To help spark that interest or to take their first step towards a dream that they have is the best reason to take the class.”last_img read more

Trail Mix: The Infamous Stringdusters Interview

first_imgOn April 1, The Infamous Stringdusters released their latest record, Let It Go.  It seems almost dichotomous for the band to have given to the world their music – something they take very, very seriously – on a day most often reserved for tomfoolery, hijinks, and devilry.Make no mistake, however — the band isn’t joking around when it comes to the new record, a collection of some their most dynamic, cohesive songwriting to date.  Nor are they foolin’ around when it comes to the tour celebrating the record’s release.  The ‘Dusters just wrapped up the eastern leg of the tour and, after a few days off, will head west to kick off the second leg this weekend.Trail Mix caught up with bass player Travis Book, long time friend of the magazine, to chat about the new record, going home, working with Conservation Alliance, and coffins.  Yes, coffins.BRO – The new record just dropped.  Stoked?TB – Unbelievably.  This record has been a long time coming for us.  It’s a highly distilled project with no filler.  I dig every song and they’re all super fun and challenging to play.  We challenged ourselves to write better and more unique music than ever before and we definitely rose to the occasion.BRO – Describe the partnership between the band and Conservation Alliance on this tour.TB – The Conservation Alliance is a very forward thinking conservation group, led and funded by the premier companies in the outdoor industry.  Our audience is incredibly receptive to outdoor interests and our music appeals to outdoor enthusiasts, so it is a mutually beneficial relationship; we raise awareness for the cause, they help get more people in the door to hear the music and share the experience.  We couldn’t ask for a better partner than the Conservation Alliance.BRO – Two nights in Denver this weekend.  You are a Colorado boy.  How does it feel when you get to come home?TB – Heartbreaking, actually!  I love living in Virginia, especially when I am in Virginia, but there’s something about high elevation and thin air that will always stir the deepest parts of my being and it can be hard to leave my native state.  That said, I am extremely excited for this weekend’s shows and the rest of the western swing of the Let It Go tour.BRO – You guys have covered some contemporary tunes from Lorde and Avicci recently.  How do you go about picking the tunes you want to cover?TB – It happens organically.  I wanted to do “Royals” at New Years because it was such a huge tune in 2013 and I was addicted to it at the time.  Sometimes, these pop tunes just get in the ear and you can’t get them out.  Generally speaking, I think that’s an open invitation for us to make the songs our own.  We’ll also cover a tune if it’s timely, like covering The Band when Levon passed or The Faces on Rod Stewart’s birthday.  I love doing other people’s music and I love seeing other bands cover song I love, so I’m always looking for a good reason to bust out something unique and unexpected.BRO – Finish this statement:  “The best thing about our tour bus is . . . . . ”TB – Coffin time.  We refer to our bunks as our coffins because you can pull the curtain in that little box and sleep like you’re dead.  When I am home, I am on Ruby duty and she runs me ragged, but I hop on the bus and dive into my tomb and sleep like it’s my job.  The second best thing about the bus is waking up in the city we perform in that night.  That gives us time to explore town, run, ride, eat, and generally experience a community, for which there’s little time when you’re in the van all day.BRO – Can you share any Festy secrets?  It’s right around the corner, you know.TB – I cannot divulge anything related to the lineup at this time, but it’s no secrte that we put an immense amount of work into dialing in a great lineup, grooming a beautiful campground, curating great local food and bear, and creating as many opportunities as possible for a well-rounded weekend experience.  The Festy is our main event and we plan to bring the heat to our multiple shows this year.  Tickets are on sale now for $99.  If you need to see the lineup, we release it on June 1st in conjunction with a $25 price hike.  So, if you trust us, you can just save that $25 now and put it towards beers at the festival.After a wildly successful run of shows along the East Coast, Travis and his mates in The Infamous Stringdusters head west this weekend for two shows at The Ogden Theater in Denver.  The western leg of the Let It Go Tour continues on with shows in Utah, Montana, Washington, Oregon, California, and Nevada.Fans of the band in Central Virginia can also catch the ‘Dusters at Rooster Walk, proud sponsors of this month’s Trail Mix.For more information on the band, how to get your hands on a copy of Let It Go, or tickets to an upcoming show, surf over to by Tom DalyPhoto by Tom Dalylast_img read more