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Brannon's Blog - Aviation

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Final entry-May 7, 2009

The end-

Over the past 5 months I have gained some important knowledge.  Promotional videos are some of the hardest things to produce and direct.  Exposing kids to aviation is the easiest and more rewarding things I could ever do.  Finally, the internship experience is the easiest and most effective way to put all academic skills to use in the real world before you actually have to step out on your own and make a career.

The video is in its final stages.  I seem to be spending an excessive amount of time in front of a computer screen making sure the editing gets done in a timely fashion.  This video will completely be because of my doing.  The two people helping me out are only there to help with the mechanical production such as how to use the camera and clips I have.  The video is looking to be a very good idea and I know it will make the department more visible on campus as well as abroad. 

I got the official numbers from the K-12 outreach.  I successfully sat through over 300 kids, which ranged from 5 to 13 years old, in the simulator.  I only wish I could have let them have the experience of real flight and the sensations that brings to the body.  I am glad I got to work with so many kids and expose them to aviation.  Only if one of those kids winds up in aviation it was all worth it.

Internships offer a very great opportunity to an individual.  Job offers can come around because of them, valuable experiences can also lead to more skills to put on a resume such as my case.  I don’t know why I waited so long to get into an internship.  In most cases internships still allow classes to be taken online or if the position is close enough to remain on campus.  I encourage everyone to try out an internship. 



Fourth update-April 22, 2009

Busy Ending:

It has been a busy two weeks.  A lot of progress has been made on the video and I have done a lot of work in the simulator.  I can defiantly feel the crunch of school ending.  I am going to be very busy with the video up until I graduate and even put in time this summer to make sure it is finished before our dead line for Oshkosh. 

The Simulator was used very well this past two weeks.  I flew over 5 hours with less than two minutes a kid.  I got a lot of kids through and a lot of questions answered.   I hope it made an impression on at least 2 or 3 of them.  Again, I am very happy that I got the chance to expose so many kids to aviation because it offers a future to the industry.  It’s very obvious that children growing up now are so used to computers and games.  Most of them could easily understand the coordination involved in flying the simulator.  Aircraft companies are making their aircrafts very easy to fly and almost like a video game.  Future generations have it too easy with all the technology-crammed aircraft!

I have done all the interviews needed for the video except for one.  I am trying to get an interview with a current intern.  I have interviewed all current faculty members and now I am starting to get the action shots.  It was a joy interviewing the faculty because of how they all fully enjoy teaching and making the program worthwhile.  I plan on using all of their interviews even if I can only get their face in for a few seconds.  This video has certainly opened my eyes to how much this program wants to expand and involve more people.  This project is the first step in making the department more visible.  I know billboards are planned to go up on main roads leading into the city, posters are going to be added all over the St Cloud airport.  The "Airventure" week in Oshkosh, Wisconsin will have a booth just for the department with this video playing and hopefully get interested people applying to SCSU. 

In the few weeks of school let I hope to get a lot of action shots for the video and begin putting it all together.  The best part of this video will be putting it all together to tell the world about SCSU aviation. 


Third update-April 9, 2009

I have been picking up the pace of the video these last two weeks; I’ve done two interviews and began to put some of the video together.  I have added 3 more hours to my total hours just in interviewing and video editing.  The two interviews I have done turned out very well, so I’m very excited about this project.  I have plenty of material to work with now because I also have 3 more interviews to do with faculty.  My plan is to use a classroom and the simulator for the last faculty interviews.    These interviews, I hope, will go just as smoothly as the first two.  I am counting on them to have a few exciting things to say to help my video along.  I want to get everyone’s face in the video at least once to allow the viewer to put a face to a possible future professor.  The whole reason I am making this video is to promote and capture new prospective students.  Seeing a face makes the prospect of learning at SCSU more exciting I think; it’s not some hired actor being told to say things, it’s an actual professor.  I think that the real people and professors make the video a very good tool to capture people’s interest.

As spring slowly approaches I am getting more excited to do all the action shooting for the video.  I need to make this video eye-catching and fast-paced to make sure it keeps the audience focused on the video instead of getting bored and walking away or tuning it out.  I find myself watching commercials to get ideas for how to run the video.  I want a lot of aerial shots of our aircraft and airport.  I am finding it hard to show what managers do in the industry.  Air traffic controllers and pilots are the easiest.  I can also show ground operations with ease.   Dispatchers are the next easiest.  I am sure I will get an idea soon.  In the mean time I will be busy setting up times to go flying and shoot the airport environment around St. Cloud and possibly Minneapolis.

The next two weeks will be the start of the long hours sitting in front of a computer screen putting some of the video together.  Planning seems to be the biggest obstacle for me right now; it’s hard to get the crew and myself in the same spot for more than a couple hours.  Now I have to get another pilot willing to pay for the hours to fly while I have a camera filming.  I also have to get permission to get into a control tower or even near enough to MSP to film a few planes taking off and landing. 

Hopefully the next blog entry I will have nothing but good things to say about the video as it starts to come together.  July may be 3 months down the road but it already seems like next week. 


Second update-March 30, 2009

Idle time

The past couple of weeks have seen a slow time in development with my internship.  Spring break put a good road block in any major production.  The video is still in its very early stages with interviews finally getting scheduled.  I had to come up with some questions to ask which seemed easier in my head then when I actually tried to come up with something short and to the point.  I am getting excited to get the camera crew shooting footage though.  I can start piecing together a video that will bring in the students to SCSU.  This video means a lot to me because it will be here for years to come with my name stamped on it.  

This internship has a lot of potential to it.  As of right now the intern has a lot of control over how the internship plays out.  I took that idea and made myself look for ways to increase the visibility of the Aviation program.  I am hoping the video pushes that idea and brings all my efforts to fruition.  

More simulator time has been scheduled for some younger kids and even an airport tour for an elementary school group.  I am excited for this because the younger minds are even more impressionable then the  12 and 13 year olds I dealt with earlier this year.  I get to embed the thought of flying into an already eager mind.  Aviation would not be a successful industry without the younger generation building on the successes of the past.

- Brannon

First update-March 25, 2009

More than just an internship…

Lately the times are going slowly around the department; my work for the video is going at a slow pace because due to interviewees not responding to emails and phone calls.  I must find a new way to get in touch with these individuals.  I have been doing some stuff for the outreach program to pass some time.

Two weekends in a row I have helped run the big simulator at school.  I helped a group of middle school girls learn about flying and what the working pilot sees on a daily basis.  I was happy to see a decent number of them were interested in possibly going into aviation as a career.  One of my favorite things to do is give people their first view of aviation.  Most people love to fly but never really see past their seat in a large aircraft.  A small aircraft lets you see and feel more than larger aircrafts.  Younger children always seem to get the wide-eyed excitement after a ride.  I also helped a group of middle school boys that were doing a group lock-in on campus.  Most of these boys had previous flight experience and needed less help to get the plane into the air and on the ground.  They asked a lot more questions about all the buttons and levers than the girls did. 

The simulator is not a full motion device, but its flight deck is exactly what you would see in a typical medium sized turbo-prop aircraft.  It’s very overwhelming for the beginner, with all the buttons and levers, so I worked all the buttons and let the girls fly.  The sim is very sensitive and does fight the pilot, so a beginner will most likely "crash" soon after takeoff if no one is there to guide them.  I enjoyed instructing them and it made me want to be a flight instructor.  It fascinated me to watch the progression of a student and see the outcome based on what I put into it. 

This internship has brought many chances to connect with younger people.  Connecting aviation to a younger generation will help the school sustain its program and supply the industry with a new workforce.  This is not a typical internship position because the department has almost allowed me to have complete control over what I do; it puts a lot of trust on the intern-supervisor relationship.  I enjoy working independently from instruction so I can use my creativity to produce the best product I know how to create.  Whether it is instructing kids, producing a video, or planning marketing products this internship has already kept me excited for the future of the aviation program. 

- Brannon

Introduction-March 18, 2009:

~The Invisible Department~

The aviation department is one of the best kept secrets on campus.  Not a lot of people know about it and it only has a very small amount of students.  This year is the first year the department has developed an internship program, for which they hired two interns.  I discovered the position by a mass email the Aviation Department sends out to its students.  The internship director often sends these emails out to inform all students of possible industry internships and opportunities.  I was offered the position aimed at improving marketing the aviation program to all students coming into the university and any other potential aviation career-minded people. 

I have always been interested in aviation since a very young age.  I can remember fighting my parents over the ear protection I didn't want to wear.   I just had to hear the jets at the airshow.   The aviation bug bit so hard that I knew what I wanted to do when I grew up.  

My name is Brannon and I am from the twin cities.  SCSU was an easy choice for me since only two schools in Minnesota offer aviation degrees.  This school is known for its smaller classroom size.  Our program is unique because it offers flexibility that often is not available with aviation programs at larger colleges and/or private universities.  I can take airplanes home for the weekend and the hours will count towards my ratings.  The airport is also towered and allows easy access to the busy airspace over Minneapolis as a great learning area. 

So, after spending four years climbing through my ratings, I saw the numbers of students in the department slowly diminish.  I wanted to do something about it but did not see a solid opportunity to do so.  This internship is my way of giving back to a great program.

I initially came up with an idea to make a promotional video when I saw a commercial for skydiving in California.  I was excited to present the idea to the department faculty and they all encouraged the idea.  I am currently in the process of making a video that will excite prospective students and parents.  Hopefully it all fits into the budget by the end.  I believe this will be a very good thing for me to take into the real world.  Advertising and marketing are very valuable skills to have in aviation, especially since the media is constantly portraying the aviation industry in a negative light.

I hope this internship will increase my value to a potential employer because it shows I have more skills than just flying an airplane.  I will gain the skills and knowledge regarding how to market a product, skill that will make me stand out among pilots who simply went to school to learn how to fly. 

- Brannon


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