Insight Aviation – Tim Schmelzer



Wayman Eddy: Welcome everybody to the insight aviation podcast uh in the background right now we’re going live on facebook give us just a second there as we’re getting better at this podcast it’s fighting back against us i’d like to welcome everybody to inside aviation where we meet with aviation professionals throughout the industry airline captains air traffic controllers and uh in today’s special case we have a designated pilot examiner and a professor at miami-dade college of aviation allow me to introduce professor tim schmelzer hello. 

Tim Schmelzer: Hello hi hi eddy.

Wayman Eddy: Hey why don’t you give us a quick idea of just you know what you do and where you are today?

Tim Schmelzer: Okay like eddy said my name is tim schmelzer uh i’m a college professor at miami-dade college jaguats of school of aviation and uh i’ve been here 25 years and i have enjoyed that run for a long time it’s because i’m touching the lives of people like you that are out there interested in becoming inspiring and becoming an aviator so we teach here in miami uh south florida’s training capital of the country if not the world it’s a very busy spot very good spot we have the complex airspace we have great weather and it’s a nice place to come to school so i furthermore i’m work as a designated pilot examiner for on behalf of the faa and i see what my product is out there and see what the students are doing and what they’re not doing and using that to improve my product within the college classroom. 

Wayman Eddy: Excellent that’s quite a lot and i know you had a busy day you said you were flying this morning all the way up to fort lauderdale and then down in tamiami for the afternoon evening classes.

Tim Schmelzer: Yeah i’m a busy i’m a busy person and and that’s the way i like it to be i often times i’m teaching seven classes a semester as well as doing a pilot exam each day uh often times seven days a week and it’s with pleasure i get to be in the lives of the people that are doing their very best and just encouraging them as well as just trying to help them be sure they’re safe as a professor i’m teaching and as an examiner i’m examining and just making sure that the people aren’t being certified without having the proper credentials and being safe.

Wayman Eddy: We’re definitely going to get into that for for our audience those of you in the zoom and those of you that are watching on facebook live uh please make a note in the chat in the comments i’d love to know where you are are you here in miami in fort lauderdale are you watching us from europe or bogota or india wherever you might be it kind of helps us direct our questions and answers and so we’re gonna have a great conversation here with professor schmeltzer professor tim and uh then we’d love to answer your questions as we get towards the end of our interview today so please feel free to put them into the q a and in the chat let us know where you’re from all right so i’m hearing that we that we don’t have audio can anybody confirm we have audio let me check with uh with tien i hear you loud and clear and i hear you so i’m going to say we have audio let’s keep it going.

Tim Schmelzer: The video the video you played did not have audio so put that keep that in mind.

Wayman Eddy: I don’t know what that that’s where the issue came from because it’s supposed to have audio so let’s start at the very beginning so 25 years with the ike watson school of aviation that’s wonderful it’s a very historic institution i believe it’s been around since the 60s yeah i’ve seen pictures of dc3s with the mdc logo on the side of it right?

Tim Schmelzer: Yeah eddy i’m uh 60 years old so i don’t quite go back that that far but we do have a rich history in miami uh we’ve been training pilots here since 1961. the college’s uh been started in 1961 that time we were one of the first schools and it started up in the opalaca area at the opa locka airport yeah from north campus.

Wayman Eddy: For anyone not in the miami area miami-dade college is i think the largest country in the nation with seven campuses and over a hundred thousand students something like that.

Tim Schmelzer: Yeah we’re i don’t know exactly where we stand but i’ve heard that many times we do have eight locations and we have i think 165 000 students and it’s a very very big institution of which uh aviation is just a small part of it.

Wayman Eddy: And that’s you know kind of the good and the bad i kind of say the same thing about women aviation you know where um where you know it’s it’s a it’s well we’ve gotten significantly larger right but it’s a kind of organization where we know everyone we know all our students and all that but we have these large resources of something like a miami-dade college or some of our other partners our airline partners so uh you have uh you know the school of aviation is relatively small within this massive organization but you have all the resources of such a big school you know the financial aid the scholarships and all these great things did you yourself attend miami-dade College?

Tim Schmelzer: No i didn’t no i went to school in alabama at a place called troy state university i went to flight school before that up in florida’s new technology in melbourne and then i got my master’s degree at embry riddle.

Wayman Eddy: Oh beautiful i did not know you’re an embry riddle alum you know we bleed the blue and gold over here yeah my brother vice president of wayman aviation of course he’s the the broward and b riddle alumni rep and uh takes every opportunity to go to daytona whenever he can relive his glory days so so take us back there how did you get interested in aviation?

Tim Schmelzer: Well it to start back as a kid my family managed a cargo company who flew freight for general motors and i grew up at an airport and um kind of just happened that way and uh it was a part it was an operation back before ups and fedex got warmed up and what would happen is the general motors they would have a part shortage uh let’s say from a carburetor up in rochester minnesota and they needed to get it to an assembly line and we would go pick them up in bj teens beach aircraft beachcraft 18 a big radial engine tail wheel and so we had 13 of them and we’d go pick that parts up and and bring them over to the assembly plants and we had a trucking company that would take it from the airport to the assembly plant so that’s how i got started.

Wayman Eddy: 13 beach 18’s that’s a significant operation

Tim Schmelzer: Yeah there well it’s it’s an old-school operation compared to what’s going on today but it was you know it was interesting and that was a quite a good freight hauler back in the day cargo doors and sliding pallets in there and go nice so you learned to fly right there on the field yeah?

Tim Schmelzer: I learned of uh yeah i learned to fly started in michigan and i finished in ohio and from there i went to fit in very nice.

Wayman eddy: Very nice you know there’s uh i find there’s two kind of people that come into aviation right there’s um the people that grew up grew up on the airport i grew up on the airport climbing the trees at opa locka airport and uh and you know people that might have had an uncle or a parent or maybe their their parent worked at the airport or the flight attendant you know people that have like this connection in their back into it and there’s the people that just loved airplanes from a very young age right and always had the toy airplanes flew rc planes and then they kind of come into it and they’re both excellent ways of course but i kind of i see that kind of common common trend um what was your favorite part in that training was it the independent flying up in ohio and michigan or was it the more former academy formal academy.

Tim Schmelzer: The flying in michigan uh i was you know sitting oftentimes in the right seat of those airplanes in the cold winter nasty weather and i was going with the pilots that wanted somebody to be there unloading the airplane when they arrived and getting that fueled and i remember those to be very uh powerful experiences and been and created who i am today but i’ve always had good experiences in aviation and they’re just different you know so i i couldn’t choose what’s better what’s not i mean i would have never imagined that i would have been a college professor for 25 years i never imagined when i got out of uh college that there would be no jobs deregulation and the market was flooded with pilots but i ended up getting in aviation but i worked up my way in the administration side in the airline business and i ended up working for pan am up in new york until until they went bankrupt and so that’s how that’s how i ended up here is because i had unfortunate times and people don’t understand this the industry was very unstable and we’ve never seen it like it is today and it looks very very bright future so but those were difficult times in aviation and only the people that sort of uh loved aviation survived.

Wayman Eddy: That’s true that’s true so you were at pan am in new york and like right above uh uh my gosh it just blinked out of my head the big pan am building right in the middle above uh grand central yeah yeah that that was called the um no you got me above grand central unless you were out at the airport yeah no i was at the airport i was out at kennedy excellent excellent yeah yeah so that’s actually a great place to start because people are concerned about today right the the the the industry just went through this one year pause right the whole world went through this pause and uh a lot of people think well you know should i call it quits is now a good time to get into aviation but you’ve seen the ups and downs and there’s tends to be one about every you know eight to ten years you you’ve weathered those.

Tim Schmelzer: Well i have so much to say about that and i’ll probably go crazy but the most important thing is it should not affect your decision because your decision is going to be made internally if you want to be a pilot you’re going to be a pilot and there you’ll find a way so um people start out and they say oh it’s going to be difficult times as soon as you reach a difficult time they’re going to go to business and then when that happens they want to be going to psychology the fact of the matter is this industry will be there for you if you’re there for you have to be prepared and be marketable you have to do what’s necessary to get the job there will be a job there there’s a lot that we know the numbers the numbers are scary numbers for the the people that own the airlines and the stockholders because where are we going to get the pilots you know they’re saying how can we plan we’re looking for pilots and we’re we’re at the college here there everybody’s wanting to partner up with us how can we get a flow of your students and they’re speaking to you as well everybody around the world wants a pipeline of students so i don’t think that anybody should look at these downturns at all other than an opportunity for you to be in a better position because the people that aren’t sure about it are going to fall out and that will make it even better for you a lot of these airline captains says listen it’s great time for me to retire now they’re going and so there’s we’ve never seen this problem this is a huge pilot shortage worldwide and it’s not going to get any better anytime soon because you just can’t produce pilots overnight

Wayman Eddy: No no you’re absolutely right and somebody made a really good uh comparison to the medical field the other day right you don’t go into the medical field thinking about where medicine is today you’re not gonna become a doctor for like seven eight years right it’s the same thing for a pilot but i think the return on your investment is much sooner right if you look at the industry today it’s not perfect but we know that within a year or two there’s going to be the pilot shortage has become much worse and we’ll we’ll be seeing it really kind of bear its teeth probably in about a year’s time.

Tim Schmelzer: Well right now all of my people that are uh and often a lot of your graduates they’re they’re being hustled right now big time they’re getting offers from many different airlines all at once so one of your your employees i can think of specifically and one of the great instructors she’s got a job offer from two airlines and she’s calling me tim which one should i choose you know the way it is and even though it might not be out there in the news right now but i assure you under under the under the the current underwater is really booming right now they’re trying to scramble the big airlines are saying i need 5 000 and you know this and that by this time this time they’re hiring oh i want a minority background i would like this and that they’re trying their best to get whatever they can.

Wayman Eddy: That’s true that’s true you’re absolutely right so we have five airline partners here at wayman aviation and uh two of them have already called me like hey where what’s going on in fact this friday we have a visit from the american airlines chief pilot who’s going to come talk to our instructors and our students as well american airlines of course having the the big base here in miami for all of south america and the caribbean so they he alone told me that they’re hiring 300 pilots this year right and that’s at the majors level and the regionals right behind them are hiring up because who’s taking their pilots the majors right so you’re right the pilot shortage came back quickly with a vengeance so it’s a great time to be into it because if you’re learning to fly right now if you’re just doing your first lesson or maybe you’re working on your instrument or your commercial in about a year year and a half time you’re going to be at that point to be applying to the airlines so it’s a great time to get a start on it um but let’s come back to it so you have seen so much over your years and so you told me that you were you graduated out of embry riddle and the airlines weren’t hiring that moment deregulation eastern and all those right.

Tim Schmelzer: Well i graduated from embry riddle once i went back once i lost my job with pan am i i had to get a master’s degree to be a professor at the college they hired me with my bachelor’s degree in work experience so i got my pain my master’s degree after i was a professor so um but but going to the time you were referring to is when i got out of school uh when i got out of my training i had all my licenses and my certificates and ratings and i had a four-year college degree but there was a lot of people out there that had a lot more we’ll never see that again uh we you know we will it was one of those things but with work experience with an education there’s a lot of jobs open up in this in this industry there might be somebody here tonight that are saying listen i’m wanting to log in and listen to this presentation because i’d like to come to miami and study aviation administration of which you sent me a note from somebody that has mentioned that so we have administration we have pilot programs and everything else so you find your spot my spot is piloting you know and i love piloting but there’s other other jobs there as well but if you want to be a pilot you just have to start wearing it buckling down you know do what’s not required of you plug into a school uh for example like wayman and they will guide you they will give you the materials necessary and you got to do the work and and it’s not that you can’t just sit there and expect it to happen to you that’s the unfortunate thing that i see as a professor these people said they’re college students in the classroom but you’re not a college student unless you’re going through the work necessary to change your life you need to plug in with a path with with a with a plan and these people will put you in in in a a program that works and so when you’re on your own the difficult part of that and some people do choose to try it on their own it’s very very difficult you get into a proven program and it’s like a current and a river and you’re jumping in and you’re doing your part in paddling keeping you off the banks of the river but you’re moving and you have to move in those programs and you have a stage check and then you have the you know this and then you have that and then you’re set up for your your uh practical test and so forth and then immediately you’re in the next class for the next certificate so i’m very high on the products that are coming out of the schools in of which you’re you’re one of the best so that would be my my advice is plug into a school.

Wayman Eddy: I couldn’t agree with you more we actually had orientation this morning uh about half a dozen students probably one of the bigger classes actually we’ve had considering the last year and that’s actually one of the things that i touch on in orientation is that you’ve got a big goal and that goal is to become a professional pilot right and aviation has a very winding path right uh you know you talked about all the different ways you got to becoming a pilot you know we have students that jump from one school to another an independent instructor they’re doing this and that and so it’s really easy to get lost in the woods working your way up to that mountain top and so i believe the purpose of a flight school or a collegiate program like your own is to pave a path right through the woods right to get you to the top of that mountain as quickly as possible as safely as possible and you know we’re putting down brick by brick we’ve made this path what i find though is that we have lots of students who want to take shortcuts right well if i wander off the path and i cut over here i can save an hour i can save 100 bucks and what happens they end up tripping get lost in the woods and we got to go out there and bring them back in if we can ever bring them back in right so i agree with you well there’s some great independent instructors if you are career oriented you got to hook up with a good faa certified school an academy a collegiate program that really kind of provides the support the support network around you to get you there because it’s not just you’re putting in the hours in a log book and passing a check ride there’s so much more to working in the aviation industry the network right the networking is so important the people that are in your ground school sitting there at miami dade college you know they could end up being your co-pilots your chief pilot the guy that gives you the connection to atlas or envoy or whatever it might be it’s so important.

Tim Schmelzer: I’d like to say miami-dade college is uh the students are come from the salt of the earth uh we have i don’t know how to say it they’re they’re certainly not uh wealthy by any means the best hardworking people that you’d ever want to meet but i can say this when i look at a class of 30 people or sometimes 40 people i can assure you i see hungry people and these people will do it in spite of the fact they don’t have any money that’s what i want to say to everybody out there it doesn’t take anything but the want to to do to get this so oh i don’t have the money well you can get the money you can make the money you can hustle and get out there and do what everybody else does i have students that graduated from miami dade college that are flying a380s they’re flying 747s they’re flying for the airlines all around the world and they i assure you they didn’t have any money they had no money whatsoever but they had the desire to do so so if you don’t think you can do it that’s the problem you can and you will if you just get started you gotta jump into it and if it takes a little bit longer so what you’re doing what you wanna do and this is a big message i have is you gotta do it you can do it and you have no idea the relationship i have with these kids after i encourage them through those times where they didn’t believe in themselves and only for them to say i did it i can do it and you can too and they’re going to be a guy here tonight to uh in my class that will be speaking to the kids saying the same type of thing so you guys if you’re not hearing that message you can’t do it you’re not talking to the right people i assure you it isn’t easy no one has it easy even the people that have the money don’t it is not easy but they can do it and you can too 100 guaranteed 100 so be willing to do what’s necessary to change your life don’t sit there and hope and you got to do before you can be so i am encouraging you to get going i like that you got to do before you can be.

Wayman Eddy: That makes a lot of sense you got to show up for life right exactly and i gotta say you’re absolutely right as i think back to all the wonderful miami-dade college students we’ve had over the years we’ve been miami dade college’s flight training partner now for a little bit over eight years and uh i can think of plenty of students that the reason they joined miami-dade college is because they they came from from poor means first generation americans you know trying to try to make it here and what’s the biggest thing and i see this constantly here in miami right a lot of people my first experience was that first flight when i came to united states i came with my family from peru from colombia from wherever it might be on eastern airlines or america wherever it might be and that’s kind of what inspired me i’ve heard that story a ton of times and so these first generation families breaking their backs and yes being a pilot is not not a cheap career right but at the same time it is very much on par with most professions and you have amazing return on your investments especially when you work with somebody like miami dade college which has gone out of their way to provide and to find and secure great scholarships for their students and i’m constantly amazed how many people don’t do the one-page essay that they need to get a scholarship from the greater miami aviation association ike watson or the timothy johnson uh i always like to think back and i tell a story all the time of odi i don’t know she’s watching here today i hope you are already but you know i know that her family pulled together and got her through her pie license but she was so good at scholarships i think just about everything else after that was covered in scholarships yeah even helping other children.

Tim Schmelzer: So miami dade college uh ike watson school of aviation we have two of the scholarships that he was mentioning and these scholarships were given by very generous aviators and very generous people that have endowed this program and this lady that uh eddy was talking about she won four i think or three or four each one of them were eight eight or nine or ten thousand dollars so she won probably about thirty thousand dollars she didn’t win she was awarded it for her hard work so there is money out there uh the problem is people have to plug in the problem is people have become conditioned to expect somebody to call you at home and say this is for you no it isn’t for you but it’s there for the work if you want it you got it you got to go out and get it so i don’t know where you’re sitting right now but i do know that if you have this burning on the inside that you want to be a pilot well let’s get up and get going uh you got a great spot here in south florida miami dade college wayman aviation is a excellent flight school uh international flight school i i’ve been in meetings there with you know 200 people and i’ve seen instructors that are just top rated so you have places to plug in so i’m encouraging you to believe in yourself there’s a famous scripture that i hear i’ve heard and i repeat oftentimes you can do immeasurably more than you can ask or imagine according to the power at work within you so let’s get going just believe in yourself step out there get the book get the videos it’s all free almost everything’s online and get get going and next thing you know you’re you’re saying man i can do this and plug in call a provider call the college call wayman and get going and literally don’t believe this stuff oh you’ll never get that kind of money oh you can never be a pilot it’s very challenging job you have to have be perfect in math and all this stuff i hear all that stuff you know isn’t that amazing.

Wayman Eddy: The glasses these i still hear the story that you need perfect vision i’m like well you’re not flying f-14s you know for the air force here you can have like i’ve had glasses of south eight years old yeah yeah yeah uh passion it comes down to passion you’ve got to want to be a pilot you’ve got to want to put in the hours because it’s not easy right it is early mornings it is late flights it’s these five six hours sweating it out cross countries uh well i don’t know if you can say that eddy because i think once these kids get in the airplane you know we’ve here we hear the moaners we’ve heard the complainers and they’re they’re in every group but 99 percent of those people are just jumping out of bed in the morning wilbur and orwell wright said i don’t remember  which one it was but they said they get so excited that they can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning these people are jumping out of bed and getting going these kids here at wayman in these schools and the college the ones that are going to make it are the ones that are just so excited and they can’t get enough information and if that’s not you maybe you need to get into an introductory flight maybe you go call the call go over to wayman or go to a local school where you are and get an introductory flight and if that doesn’t do it for you well maybe you’re not in the right business but i can’t imagine you not just falling in love with it aviation piloting is very very exciting i mean to see them from what you see at that it’s it’s unbelievable.

Wayman Eddy: It’s a daily challenge it’s something you learn about it’s physical it’s mental it’s spiritual it’s a great way to spend your days absolutely um so you you have the right that’s the right track there with discovery flights this is something that i share with absolutely everybody i meet every father mother that comes in with a young daughter or so and i was like have you done a discovery flight you know it’s it’s so you can do a half hour for like usually like 99 bucks we do a full hour for 179 you fly down the beach go to your local airport whether you are in ohio or in colombia wherever you might be if it’s possible if it’s nearby just go into that discovery flight in that one hour you’ll know if you love it or you hate it right and if it’s not for you you get a dizzy motion sickness things like that for every pilot there’s 50 jobs in support right that’s a number i got from miami-dade aviation for every pilot there’s 50 people in support operations airport administrations scheduling dispatchers mechanics it’s a huge field to be in especially here in south florida for those of you that are joining us from south florida i was just part of the gma conference call where they had a i think the new mayor there and she was saying that one in four jobs in miami are directly or indirectly tied to aviation right that’s the tourism the cargo the airport itself the largest employer in the county right so miami just lives and breathes aviation and has historically right.

Tim Schmelzer: Yeah so um miami-dade college right here i’m sitting right now at the miami international airport campus right here on the west end of miami international airport we also have a location a facility down at the southwest miami it’s called miami executive airport formerly known as tamiami airport and um we also have a facility that we partner up with the wayman aviation up at opa locka airport so we have a we have a great spot for training and wayman offers a great program would pair up with miami-dade college so whether it’s here or anywhere plug in plug in there’s a lot of a different associations you have the eaa experimental aircraft associations the air aopa aircraft owners and pilot associations these websites are for you to get on their free videos and free information you can join this faa safety team and i’m an faa safety team leader for 16 years and i can assure you plug into those things and they’re free and you’re going to meet people that are very experienced pilots very passionate about what they do willing to help you in any way possible plug in faa safety.gov great spot aopa.org eaa.org those are three nice spots to start.

Wayman Eddy: You know it’s an interesting time because you know back in the day if you were interested in aviation you you had to go to the airport you had to go hang out at the fbo wash planes you know until somebody offered you a ride basically right go to the airplane spotter spots but it’s never been easier to go online and get information right this podcast coming to you you might we might be going for a run right now or sitting in your car and you know hearing from world-class professionals and i’m glad to say that i see them all the time from jason shepard and aopa has some wonderful podcast it’s never been easier to get that information and get started into it absolutely.

Tim Schmelzer: Yeah so um i also also want to say shame on us not not me and eddie but shame on aviation in general you know since the terror attacks of 9 11 the fences got big that’s true and they’re shooing away people from the airport nowadays like they’re criminals and so we have a lot of room we have a lot of work to do to start um somehow making a bridge there uh it’s very unfortunate that these people only can go they can’t sit there and watch takeoffs and landings like we used to as kids eddy and i’m sure his family and i did as growing up just sitting there at the airport watching planes just take off and land i take my little boy over to the runway you know only spot that i can find to see them you know doing such a thing but we need to do more and we need to do it uh earlier as much as we can certainly uh wayman aviation is very involved in the safe uh the big local uh bringing the children to the industry and so forth so there are ways and i and if if you haven’t found the ways to plug in you’re just not looking hard enough there should be more but they’re out there.

Wayman Eddy: You’re right about the fences i can’t tell you how often uh i get a call like oh yeah just come and meet me you know here’s the address like is there security do i have to go to like a checkpoint and i’m like no it’s not miami international the vast majority of airports in the country i’d probably say upwards of 90 percent are general aviation airports we can drive right in visit the fbo you know visit a flight school uh miami international uh fort lauderdale international yes they’ve got a lot of security but even they have designated viewing areas where you can you know go take a take a sandwich and watch the airplanes uh take off and land i love on the south side of miami international what is it um el dorado no the restaurant oh 94th arrow squadron 94th of the aerial squadron what a great place what a great place right you could just watch the a380s and triple sevens coming in and out all day long uh that’s a tradition of airplane spotting that i think really needs to be picked up but you hit on something that actually lines up with a question in the chat from alejandro here asking about mentorship he said about getting out there and meeting people that’ll give you a hand up and he wants to know if you had any mentors coming into aviation.

Tim Schmelzer: Oh yeah i mean everybody you know when i look back in my life you know first let me just say this everybody in life needs help at one time or another and if you’re not doing that yourself that’s very unfortunate because i can’t imagine where i’d be today if i didn’t have people willing to go out of their way to help me and i just i just am so grateful for the people that did that um i didn’t have anybody it pains me to think um what happened to me early on in my life if i would have had somebody my parents kind of were of the school of just kind of you’re on your own go do your stuff and there’s there’s something to that but there’s also something maybe they were too close to me for me to listen to him anyways but if you get out there i assure you will be inspired by these people out there the lives that they’ve shared and they can share with you that the lives that they’ve lived as a professional pilot they’re everywhere and these people won’t shut up they’ll tell you so much about it in it and they’re willing to help you and oftentimes many of these people have airplanes of their own you know come on over on the weekend and so forth we fly here and oftentimes they’re going to have this taco tuesdays there’s a lot of um yeah a lot of these these groups are going to fly to a local airport you know not local maybe an hour away to get a taco or something like that so i did have mentors um but i didn’t have somebody like i feel that i’m offering right now because i’m i’m the kind of guy that i’ll grab a hold of somebody i’ll say listen you’re not doing it you know i’ll tell it like it is i don’t i don’t soften it all i mean matter of fact i’m very blunt about it i tell these people you’re not doing the exercise necessary to change your life and until you do you’re just making excuses and that’s very sad and i don’t want them to live their life that way because they go from 19 and 23 and next you know they’re 31 and they’re still struggling well because they didn’t put get to work yeah so i did have mentors but um i didn’t have a college professor that was right there it’s telling me the way it is and i feel that i’m doing that and i and i’m getting a lot of feedback from it and sometimes it’s it’s pretty powerful stuff and i think uh we all need to be honest with one another and say listen right now the way i look at it you’re failing miserably well really yeah oh i got good grades well you’re not doing the things necessary to become a professional you might have good grades but you don’t know what you’re talking about and things like that so mentors are super super important and plug in you know i know you’ve mentored many many people over the years and in in the people i associate with also college is full of often times it’s a classroom where they’re not so engaged but i am you know the very best of the best are really wanting to know you and what your hopes and dreams are and we’re willing to do whatever we can to help you you know reach those dreams so find a mentor this is a time of year i was wanting to say this is a time of year that hopefully all of you guys have been applying for internships summer jobs the economy is there’s jobs everywhere i in the elevator here at the airport i see they’re hiring fuelers 500 sign-in bonuses and stuff like that we’ve never heard of such a thing and this is a job at the airport the miami airport is always hiring like eddie wayman says that listen there’s one in four jobs are aviation related directly indirectly i think there’s 30 000 people working at miami international airport alone there’s so many jobs yeah it doesn’t matter i’m sorry for carrying on eddie please go ahead.

Wayman Eddy: It doesn’t matter if you’re handling baggage just being at the airport showing up the airport every day smelling the jet fuel it gets you going and you’re right about the fearless feedback sometimes you gotta call people out right there’s some very smart people that are taking their training but they’re not putting in the effort or maybe they have all the opportunities in the world but they don’t have that passion in them right and when you see that spark when you see somebody that’s really into it man that’s the person you want to reach out and help like what are you doing get going yeah you know like like i’ve said that all to my students on every day the first or the first day of class i i said it doesn’t matter what you got it matters what you want if you’re willing to work for it and i believe the people that are watching this are willing to work for it i really do believe that and that’s why i’m here today is because there is a way if you’re willing to work now that’s why you plug into these web these uh podcasts and so forth that’s why you plug into these schools and the universities and so forth because they like eddie wayman was saying they’ve created that pathway it will help you avoid a lot of the pitfalls associated with you know trying to do it on your own if it was easy to do it on your own everybody would do it these facilities are there for a reason they serve you and it is super super important will you pay 10 more maybe but if you study if you study before every lesson i can save you 30 of these dollars that you’re hearing up there everybody says oh it’s so expensive well just do your part and you can save a lot of money.

Wayman Eddy: That’s true that’s true being prepared is the most important thing you can do as a student as a pilot being prepared is just built into the dna we pre-flights we flight plan we check the weather you’ve got to be prepared for your lessons and that includes looking at your maneuvers and all that good stuff now you mentioned ea and aopa are you involved with any of the the pilot organizations like uh the ones that are out there obab lpa all these things are out there?

Tim Schmelzer: Well i i’ve been a member of eaa and aopa of course my my whole life um as far as being involved i can’t say i’m involved with them as much as i sh i am a member of the eaa chapter at tamiami sure i i’m not actively involved with that because my activity is very fruitful at within the college and so that’s where i devote my um free time i can find much more i can find better ways to plug in get my students plugged in but i’m not saying they’re not good by all means they’re super good ways to get started if you’re at a small little town you can join a local chapter of the experimental aircraft associations they’ve made their airplanes they’re flying every day these guys are my age and they would love to share with you what they did building the airplane they’d love to share with you that empty seat oftentimes these guys are lonely maybe their wife doesn’t like to fly i don’t know but they’re they’re constantly looking for somebody hey let’s go fly i’ll be glad to take you.

Wayman Eddy: There’s a ton of organizations out there ea is definitely the biggest uh along with aopa um so what i mentioned there was the lpa latino pilots association obap organization for black aerospace professionals the 99s for women and of course women in aviation but there’s some that are a lot more local like the florida aero club does a really good job of organizing fly outs to get taco tuesdays or to go get a hamburger or a pancake breakfast somewhere and i know that the the president of the local chapter uh he’s been doing was having have a bunch of young people come over wash the plane and you get a ride like that’s the way to do it yeah.

Tim Schmelzer: That’s definitely a way to do it you guys if you want to be a pilot do what pilots do hang out at the airport if you hang out at the airport i can assure you those opportunities will happen the best place to go go to a local airport and just say hey listen i’m interested in flying okay well let me tell you about this and they’ll sit you down they’ll walk you through that play but but i don’t have any money that’s okay we would love to share with you what we do and it will goes from there so if you stay at home and you do nothing but play with those games i find it to be a big problem that these people are oh i got my flight simulator game well great that’s great and it doesn’t help you as much as you would think initially it will help you later on but get plugged in for an introductory flight get plugged in in a private pilot course get that pilot certificate the first certificate the private pilot and then that instrument training that flight simulator will be priceless but you know if you sit there and oh i’m just practicing on my flight assembly what’s better than nothing but it’s not as good as it could be get plug into these schools and get going on the private certificate and then that stuff will kick in even more so later on what’s your what’s your point of opinion on that eddy?

Wayman Eddy: Well no i agree i think flight simulators are a great way to get uh into it especially when i see younger people you know 13 14 still too early to get into an airplane but they spend their time there i always refer them to civil air patrol to those kind of things just to kind of be around airplanes but i’d love to switch gears a little bit because you’ve been a professor now 25 years miami-dade college i’m sure probably thousands of students have come to your classroom that are successful in all different kinds of way in aviation but over the last few years you took on a new challenge of being a pilot examiner right what was that transition like i mean i’m sure it’s very rewarding to see the other end of your training.

Tim Schmelzer: Yeah well so a colleague of mine says i see it full circle now don’t i so i see him coming in as not knowing anything and then i see him coming in professing to have what it takes to be a professional pilot and so being a professor for 25 years i know what they don’t know and and i know it’s usually the things they don’t know requires a little bit of effort they know the easy stuff i love to encourage my students say say listen this is is hard but it’s not that hard you’re going to need to know it so get it now and spend the time now because you’re gonna be stopped guaranteed if you don’t get it so as an examiner i’m excited when i see them come in and i am excited and i know right where they are and i understand their emotions and so forth and over these years i’ve developed the ability to work well with somebody that’s a young person trying to learn to fly and so forth and i can encourage them at the same time i can also uh say that they’re not ready sure you know so um i i’m loving this job because it’s all about safety i’m the last step in the safety chain i guess it would be the the pilot uh instructor the student pilot’s instructor said you are now acting as pilot command and i’m sitting with that person as a private pilot and he’s exercising that privilege and i’m just making sure he it can fall within the standards that we’ve established to be safe and so my pass rate is very high because of schools like wayman aviation that you guys have high standards and you can’t get through the different stages without being held accountable now it doesn’t mean somebody at one point or another won’t get too nervous and not be able to perform real well that happens but most of the time the students i get are are ready and and they do well when they meet the standards i don’t expect them to be perfect faa we don’t expect to be perfect but they fall within the aeronautical certification standards so um oftentimes uh what i do find when they do fall short it’s oftentimes on things that are surprising it surprises me to think that they don’t know what if you know i i would when i’m an instructor i want everybody to know well what would happen if what would you do if this happens oh man and if they don’t know that that’s a concern for me oftentimes very simple things well what would happen if the radio doesn’t work.

Wayman Eddy: Well thats the obsession right i mean like you get paid to land and take off while you’re flying you’ve got to be thinking what if this happens where’s the nearest airport what if that happens what if this happens yeah yeah constant thing going through a pilot’s mind yeah.

Tim Schmelzer: And you know if you look at that instrument panel and you can’t tell me if that’s working or it’s not working and you can’t tell me what’s wrong i i say to these people it’s really it’s really scary when something happens but it’s it’s really really bad when you don’t know what to do that’s true i don’t want i don’t want to say it’s scary it can’t it will get your attention if something goes wrong but what’s really bad is when you don’t know what to do i hear people saying oh my alternator failed and um i’m gonna have to i would have to make a forced landing because my engine will quit you know things like that what if what if and your instructor should be saying what if what if this happens and what if that happens because i don’t want you making a landing in a field somewhere if your radio is bad or if your alternator fails or or things like that so i really enjoy that to to make sure that these people are safe and i ask them well you know this is not guaranteed to always work what would you do if this happens oh you know and i’d better hear them come right back well this we have the magnetos that’s the ignition system we don’t need the electrical system we’ll lose our radios but our engine is going to run just fine type of thing 

Wayman Eddy: That’s right that’s right it’s it’s really interesting because you know it’s examiners i remember i forget who was described to me that examiners should have high pass rates if you have an examiner with a low pass rate that’s where you have to watch out because i had one examiner come to me we had a string of students who just weren’t cutting the grade and he came to me he’s like look i don’t come here to fail students right like what’s going on let’s get this fixed and uh i thought that was a wonderful way to go about it right you’re there to verify they’re safe that they’ve put in the time and the study and they know they know their stuff and you’re just there to say yeah your instructor did a good job.

Tim Schmelzer: Yeah that’s a good point um at the end of these exams we have that debriefing with the instructor and oftentimes i’ll seek out the chief pilot if i see something that’s continuing more than once or twice but 99 of the time you solve it right there after the exam that you tell the instructor that this happened the student was right there and say this is what felt how where they felt short of the standard and the instructor says well thank you for sharing that with us we’ll fix this and so forth it can happen it can happen but what we’re looking for is trends and we speak those clearly to the schools and and so forth to stop that and say listen maybe this class didn’t get it for whatever reason but you’re right uh when i get these people uh a high percentage of the time i i see i see that they’re doing great.

Wayman Eddy: Have you ever had one of your former students someone you had someone had ground school with your mama day college and then in the oral you’re like come on we went over this.

Tim Schmelzer: Yeah you know i i just maybe a couple months ago the guy was at a great school and i sat down with this kid and he was an airframe and power plant mechanic oh nice and he did not know systems and i said buddy you learn you i mean he might you know this is what i say oftentimes the nerves just make people go blank so i gave him credit for that but yeah i said i know you’re supposed to know this i know you were taught this so you’re not getting by me on that one because i i shared it with you on several occasions not only do i have a theory class but i have a lab class that follows that class where we sit down hands-on and go through these things and so he’s seen this for me twice and he’s seen it from the instructor and so forth so there’s no i don’t have any it’s not hard for me to fill someone when they’re when they’re not prepared because i know their family would want it i don’t want to have that in my conscious if they’re not ready they’re not ready right so but but it is a high percentage of the students that do pass.

Wayman Eddy: Yeah and they should by the time they’ve gotten their instructors sign off you know our instructors are super proud when they get their gold seal because they’ve put in the work with their students to get them there right gold for those who don’t know mean you get 10 passes and you have to have your total pass rate i think above 90 80 i forget right now but uh it’s a great goal for every instructor to have and uh so we’ve got some interesting questions as we’re coming to the end of our hour uh stephen over here wanted to know if you see any if you as an examiner now if you’re seeing any trends anything that uh your typical private pilot kind of needs to focus on.

Tim Schmelzer: Well i certainly see a real big one and it’s a part of my exam where i really have to drive home how important personal weather minimums are um remember you will get a certificate and and the instructor will know that he is not no longer going to be there to to watch over you and care for you and help you make the decisions and so what i’m looking for when you come to see me is i’m looking for somebody that’s very decisive here’s my personal weather minerals i can’t fly today what do you mean you can’t fly well because i have determined that with this much experience right now my crosswind component is is eight knots and it’s twelve or my ceiling is should be four thousand and right now it’s not you know and things like that i really wanna see somebody that’s going to be responsible for their decisions and that and i don’t see that so much in in and it’s not from uh it’s something that i i talk to the instructors about it’s getting getting much better other things trends um i really i i it’s not i couldn’t say it’s a trend but what really really bothers me is uh fixation in the into the cockpit it’s a really big concern of mine um we’re in a very complex airspace down here very good place to train because of that but you have to be looking out the window this is a this is a private pilot check right i’m giving and if you’re not looking out the window i don’t think you’re safe and they’re looking at this they’re looking down there they’re looking at their heading and they’re looking at their altimeter and i commend them because they’re trying to do real well but you’re not you’re dangerous and if an instructor is allowing you to do that they are dangerous you know it it’s a habit that forms early on and it’s very hard to break so we’re looking reference to the horizon we’re looking outside we’re doing clearing turns and we are being very safety conscious so those are things two things right off the bat that come to mind i it that bothers me that really really bothers me.

Wayman Eddy: You know that makes me think i’d love to get your take on everyone’s favorite uh efb fore flight right it’s become uh like a standard tool in the cockpit we use it extensively here but i find that when i fly with it especially immediately around the airport it gives me anxiety because i see all the tcas isee the traffic right on there you see the traffic on your gps and it’s almost easy to kind of get uh distracted from that rather than looking outside there’s all these airplanes flying around you.

Tim Schmelzer: Well you know i kind of must admit i learned a lot from you years ago i i don’t remember how it came out uh i think it was i don’t even think you said it directly to me uh and i think it was uh more so what you were teaching the students uh at wayman and just do do west of the opa locka facility in in the hollywood north perry facility that you have your operations there’s the practice area and this practice area is like you were just saying is full of traffic and when you look at if you got your head down and looking at your ipad or your phone or whatever the case may be you know they show you know your ring might be two miles five miles or something like that so are there in your ring yes and but should that alert you just maybe so but it’s only for a split second don’t try i don’t even want you to really use that as very much as you probably are because i really want you to say okay i see that person there and i see that person there and maybe if it vibrates on your leg and it would give you something or goes to your headset maybe a quick glimpse down to where you should be looking if you didn’t see it something like that but there is good and bad in that uh oftentimes i see people having to put uh they have to tell the tower they’re they’re eight mile 8.5 miles southwest i mean really you know you know and so forth so i think it goes a little bit too far but as you progress off uh from the the private up into your instrument training and so forth it becomes a more powerful resource to have but you have to remember where you are in your training but a private pilot certificate is visual it’s it’s nothing but looking outside the airplane.

Wayman Eddy: That’s true that’s true and sometimes i encourage people to you know as as great of a learning environment as south florida is because of our bravo airspace i encourage you to go out there and you know try glider flying right i remember i got my sea plane rating in a piper cub no radios at 500 feet right it was a totally different kind of flying right like you’re almost off the grid it’s really interesting and i remember my brother was big on taking people this is way back in the 90s taking people down to homestead to fly gliders i think right before or right after their solo because he just thought it was really important for them just to to not just experience the the silence but the really feel the wind right and what happens in a real stall and to use that stall uh like glider pilots do i haven’t had a chance to do that shout out to captain nelson he wants he was taught me to go up to vero beach and do some glider flying with him i think i’m gonna have to take him up on that yeah have you gotten out of the mainstream into kind of like quirky flying.  

Tim Schmelzer: Well i too got my seat plane rating i like you a lot of fun flying um i like flying tail wheel airplanes certainly um i haven’t that’s that’s a problem where i’m i’m trying to resolve matter of fact it’s i’m wanting to be able to offer more of that and i have a matter of fact i’m sitting next to one of my uh one of the sharp one of the sharpest students i’ve ever had he’s here technically helping me do this and he’s helping me yeah he’s helped a graduate of the program and he’s helping me create a way so i can offer rides not not for not not for um charge you know not for that but just to get somebody to see this quirky stuff where you can that that’s kind of the things that set the sparks off when the kid gets in an airplane that’s open cockpit wow you know stuff like that it’s like oh this is the coolest thing ever so yeah i i do uh and i did fortunately when i was growing up at the airport i had all those opportunities to fly you know uh matter of fact when i was in college in alabama my boss had all old war birds i got to fly everything except this p-51 so i you know i’ve got the flights i got to fly almost everything so i’m very fortunate that way.

Wayman Eddy: Yeah that’s one of the things again getting out of the immediate airspace when you join these these clubs and you’re flying out to arcadia and winterhaven and labelle every little hanger has like some beautiful airplanes like wacos and pits and all sorts of interesting flying out there i feel like when you’re in the flight school environment yeah it’s a bunch of cessnas and pipers and you get lots of time on them they’re very reliable they’re great trainer aircraft but the true aviators when i see a resume when i see a resume and it says on their seaplane rating tail wheel endorsements or glider i’m like okay you’re not just a pilot you’re an aviator you’re really getting into this.

Tim Schmelzer: Yeah flight training um if you don’t keep your situational awareness you can get pulled into it it can be very it it can be very it could almost at a point drive the fun out of flying because you didn’t you didn’t manage it like he said like eddie was saying you have to go plug into those other parts are flying flight training can be challenging and and you are doing what you’re told to do and you’re doing lessons and oftentimes you want to have the freedom to do whatever you want to do we’ll plug into like uh eddy wayman was saying plug into those things that you can plug into on the weekends maybe pick up a seaplane rating maybe just fly in the back seat of somebody flying that has a cool airplane at the local airport.

Wayman Eddy: That all comes from hanging out at the airport right that’s what it comes down to go hang out at your local airport tim we’re kind of coming to the end of our hour so i’d love to know how can people reach out to you or learn more about miami dade college’s aviation program.

Tim Schmelzer: Okay um certainly you could my my email is tschmelz mdc.edu you could um also look at the miami-dade college website and look at the uh ike watson school of aviation and find all of us in there i i i don’t know i’m willing to help anybody other than that i i i give my students uh my phone number i’m afraid if i gave it to this the thousand people that are watching this would.

Wayman Eddy: Your email is already probably gonna blow up but i would suggest everybody i believe it’s mdc.edu aviation but just google mdc as in miami-dade college and aviation you’re going to come right to the miami-dade college school of aviation’s website right and you’ll be able to see yes it is mdc.edu/aviation i just checked it it’s a great historic program pilot program maintenance program airport management program uh i know i’m missing more right you’ve got logistics.

Tim Schmelzer: We have an air traffic control program that the controllers are you know filling the whole towers of the united states it’s a great place to plug into we have international students as eddy wayman knows oftentimes are coming from one of your programs so miami dade college is a great place to start if you’re wanting to get an education we strongly recommend it because these airline pilots do require a degree uh the regional airline pilots don’t uh so eventually uh it will probably get more and more competitive in the degrees the degree is super important anyways it it really will make you more respected in the industry.

Wayman Eddy: Absolutely i mean if you’re going for the majors if you want to be that chief pilot the head of operations you got to have the degree with you and a lot of people that want to be pilots they they think they’re going to go into being a pilot because they don’t want to go to college but guess what everything you study it’s airport operations you take a class on aircraft systems you take a class on regional operations so you know no one’s going to make you read russian literature here you’re reading about planes right so it’s a it’s a great uh career to pursue the collegiate path is wonderful miami-dade college and many local colleges across the country have them it’s not just embry riddle and university of north dakota your local college very likely has an excellent aviation program very often more accessible you don’t have to move halfway across the country and you know here we have a perfect example a little jewel within the miami-dade college system which has provided so many you spoke about your air traffic control program of course the former director of the tower was a miami-dade college graduate so i think that’s that’s wonderful and you will find miami college graduates throughout the entire aviation industry here in south florida uh tim i’m so happy to join that you were able to join us you’ve got a great energy and a great message for everyone looking to get into aviation uh thank you so much it was my pleasure eddie and god bless you and your family thank you very much and you blue skies blue skies to everybody out there uh get out there fly get a discovery flight thank you for joining insight aviation today.