Getting A Forensic Scientist Degree

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Though it may seem like there is only one type of job, or maybe two, due to the vast amount of television that features criminalists, there are actually many different types of forensic scientists. A forensic scientist degree can be in almost any science major, though there are now some degrees specifically designed for those who wish to become forensics specialists.

The major areas of work in forensics are medical examiners and others who work with bodies, such as forensic anthropologists, laboratory technicians, crime scene investigators, technical analysts, academic assistants such as psychologists or social scientists, and forensic engineers. Though there is some overlap, generally each of these career paths requires a different degree.

Medical examiners are, of course, doctors. They must have a four year undergraduate degree, then complete four years of medical school, and finally complete a residency in some form of medicine that offers exposure to forensics. Besides the extended period of training required, medical examiners must be able to work with dead bodies every day.

Lab analysts work with samples, inside the laboratory. The job is generally safe, clean, and has regular hours, but can be repetitive and boring. Degrees for this type of work are those related to chemistry– traditional degrees in chemistry, as well as chemical engineering and biochemistry. Lab analysts work alongside technical analysts, who do the same job but with technical media, which includes all types of computers. Computer science degrees are the usual here.

Crime scene investigators are the stars of the show on television, though they are, of course, only one part of the system. These investigators have, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree with a major and a minor, one in a natural science and one in criminal justice or law. Their job is to process the scene of a crime for evidence that can be used to figure out what happened, and to prosecute the guilty parties. Forensic engineers do a similar job, except that they assess structures involved in crimes, and engineering degrees are required.

Academic support for forensics generally comes from experts in the fields of social sciences, mostly psychology, sociology and anthropology. Some are employed full time in law enforcement, but many consult on select cases. This is mostly the case with the dentists who do forensic odontology, as well. Few opportunities exist to become a full-time profiler or dentist in the law enforcement field.

Those profilers that do work full-time in the field often work as crime scene investigators, and then lend their psychology skills to the job. This usually requires a combination of an undergraduate degree in one field and a psychology degree in another, or a double major. These jobs are few and far between, and require many hours of statistical analysis, rather than as they are commonly portrayed on television.

Criminalistics is a fascinating field, and people who want to enter it can find many pathways into the job. A specialized forensic scientist degree is one option, but most of these jobs are easier to get with other degrees, which also leaves you in a better position to find alternate employment, as there are not always sufficient openings to match interest in criminal investigation jobs, these days.

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Book Review: Computer Investigation by Elizabeth Bauchner

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Who is the target audience for this book?

Make no mistake. This book is not targeted for computer professionals. If you have a degree in Computer Science or just know a lot about computers, you won’t learn anything from this book. This book is targeted to children in the middle school age group, but it would also be a good introductory book for adults.

That said, what does the book talk about?

What is the science of computer forensics?

Computer forensics is a two-part process. First, data is retrieved and then the data is used. It is different from other forensic sciences because the data usually stands on its own and does not need to be interpreted.

What are the many duties of a computer forensics technician?

While doing their job, computer forensic specialists must preserve evidence, not introduce viruses or worms into a system, handle data properly, keep evidence within the chain of command, reduce the impact of the system’s analysis on any businesses affected, and make sure privileged information is not divulged.

Following those rules, computer forensic professionals find hidden files, swap files, and temp files used by the operating system and by applications. They access these files and protected and encrypted files, searching for information relevant to the case. They analyze the data found, especially in areas normally considered inaccessible. They perform an over all system analysis and list all relevant files. They provide an opinion of the system’s layout and who authored which files. They make notes of attempts to delete or protect files, and they provide expert testimony and/or consultation in court as needed.

The book gives definitions for commonly used words, or jargon, in the industry.

A hacker is someone who is really interested in a piece of technology and learns all possible about the technology.

A cracker is someone who uses their hacker knowledge for bad.

Hackers are white hat, and crackers are black hat hackers.

A phreaker was a person who scammed the telephone company to get free long-distance calls.

Spoofing is mimicking a website (or an email) so the receiver thinks the sender is someone else.

Phishing is trying to get information from people, like their user accounts and passwords, and social security numbers.

A virus is a program, attached to another program, that infects a system when the program is opened. The virus can’t do anything unless the program is opened and ran.

A worm is like a virus, but it can replicate itself without other programs being opened.

A Trojan horse is a program that pretends to be a different kind of program.

Denial of Service (DoS) is when a cracker tries to prevent a system from being accessible by its normal users.

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Airline Accidents – Airline Maintenance

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I am neither an Airline Pilot nor an Aviation Mechanic. I have observed the news with regards to airliner accidents though. The articles that I have read talk about the possibility of poor or shoddy maintenance, mediocre at best. I believe that the majority of Aviation Maintenance Facilities are reputable and that they employ skilled Mechanics. Having said this, some of you out there may think that I am naïve and not in touch with reality. That’s fine. I look forward to any comments, insights, or criticisms. Airlines have outsourced there maintenance operations to cut costs.

To be in the airline business today is financially a very risky proposition. Some people believe that when airlines outsource the maintenance to cut costs that they also cut corners. But think for a moment about all of the millions of people that fly on airlines each year, and think of the millions of air miles that are flown each year, without incident. But the media will put an airline crash on the front page because if it bleeds it leads. I am not faulting the media, they are just doing there job.

I know that it has been said many, many times that: “Air travel is safer than _____” (fill in the blank). But to the loved ones that have perished in those accidents that is no consolation. Could some of the accidents have been prevented? I am sure of it. Were the accidents due to pilot error? Were the accidents due to a bad design or an engineering flaw? Were the accidents due to bad maintenance? The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigates the crashes to find out. People have asked if the FAA is doing its job. That could be debated on and on. Are all the Aviation Maintenance Facilities around the world at the same level? Do all the Aviation Maintenance Mechanics around the world have the same level of expertise? I am asking a lot of questions here. I look forward to reading the replies that contain possible answers and to the dialogue that hopefully gets sparked.

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What is a Domain Name and Where to Register?

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A domain name is an alias for an IP address. Now what is an IP address? An IP address is a numeric code that signifies where to look through the Internet for content. An example of an IP address would be 22.226.141.25. Rather than typing in a long and easily forgotten IP address, a domain name helps you by typing an easily remembered name to access the same site.

For example, http://www.domainsatretail.com is a domain name that points to a specific IP address. People can remember a domain name such as http://www.domainsatretail.com much easier than they can a long numeric code.

Domain names are everywhere as many use it everyday. Think of search sites. Google and Yahoo both have corresponding domain names http://www.google.com and http://www.yahoo.com. If you have ever sent an email you have used a domain name. For example when sending an email to user@sympatico.ca, sympatico.ca is the domain name.

Now that we have a better understanding of domain names, we need to know which domain name to pick and where can we register it. The domain name chosen for a web site can be a very important decision of marketing your company on the Internet. Its quite easy to just say pick a catchy domain that everyone will remember to use and you are set. In most cases it is that simple and you are set on your way to register the domain. However, at times the domain name you want has already been taken. And then you must think of a secondary name that you wish to use that will be just as catchy as the first.

OK, now you have picked your domain name you want. What is next? You need to choose a registrar for you domain name registration. There are many registrars who sign up and are available for the year, but you get no service from them whatsoever. Here are two domain name registrars that I would recommend for completing your domain name registration.

1) Domains at Retail – registrar that registers domain names. We provide great service and have 24/7 customer support. .com domain names are normally on sale for $8.75 US / year, however they are currently being run on promotion for $7.95 US / year. Visit Domains at Retail at http://www.domainsatretail.com for Cheap domain registration and excellent customer service.

2) Domains at Cost – excellent registrar with very competitive prices. I use this registrar for my .ca domain name registrations and renewals. They offer an excellent price ($14.41 CDN per domain name registration) and I am always able to get someone on the phone and my questions answered. Please Visit Domains at Cost at http://www.domainsatcost.ca for .ca Domain Name Registrations!

Good Luck with your domain name registration process and your start to your online marketing!

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Air Travel – A Terrifying Experience

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It was a summer afternoon in 1992. I was on an Indian Airlines flight in the western part of the country, when I felt that I was no more. The agonizing 5-7 minutes still terrifies me whenever I look back.

Marketing as a profession needs quite a bit of traveling. I was based in Calcutta, the Eastern part of the country. I was asked by my senior officer to accompany him while he was to visit a manufacturing facility in Baroda, situated at the extreme western part of the country.

We took a morning flight from Calcutta at 6 A.M. in the morning and touched Bombay (Mumbai, western India) at around 9.30 A.M. We were booked to a connecting flight to Baroda (Vadodara) to leave at 3.30 P.M. the same day. We finished our lunch at the airport and passed a tension free time during the free time.

We passed the security check in time and boarded the flight, which was a 30- 40 minutes flight.I took the window seat and my senior took the aisle seat. The plane took off nicely and smoothly. I watched out of my window as we were going over the Arabian Sea and would continue to do so before we took a right turn to Baroda.

Suddenly I found that the droning sound of the engine was unusually low and thought that the pilot must have found technical reasons to use only one engine. Then there was the announcement from the pilot in the public address system. His words were,” Ladies and gentlemen, I am your captain of this fight. We have been informed by the control that there is a bomb on board. We are returning to Bombay for a regular check, please don’t get panicky. I can assure you that there is no such thing on board and it is a hoax call only. Thank you.”

The moment, the announcement was complete, a terrifying fear gripped my senses. It could have been at any time- oh! What a situation! You could not do a thing but pray to God that it did not happen at all. I thought about my little children and tried to distract myself from the imagination of oncoming eventuality and of course, I prayed to my God for saving us from this situation. I looked out from the window and found that the airplane was moving at the slowest speed! Looking inside, I saw my senior colleague sitting in his seat with eyes closed. Most of my co-passengers had their eyes shut. The fair looking air hostess was in her seat in front of us with a blotted out face as if the entire blood has been withdrawn from her body. There was real pin drop silence except the low droning sound of the aircraft engine.

I could see the runway approaching but very slowly once again. The inner feeling was that it could happen at anytime, no? How could it be possible? The questions and answers crossed my mind many times and I was helpless and resorted to praying to my GOD.

Amidst this kind of mixed feeling, we touched the runway and a few minutes later disembarked from the plane and the first thing I did was to thank my God profoundly with full reverence.

A few hours later we were sitting at the departure lounge of the airport for a special flight to Baroda in the same evening.

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What Can You Do With an Accounting Degree

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Among the various business careers that one can choose from, one field can offer a rare combination of stability, prestige, money, and excitement: accounting.

The days of suit-clad, briefcase-toting accountants who were probably a more sophisticated and educated version of bookkeepers are long gone. Modern-day accountants are business-savvy individuals who are effective communicators and heavy users of technology.

An accountant’s job is more than keeping the financial books of a company or individual in order. They are the custodians of a business’s or public entity’s overall financial health.

If you want a career that’s highly marketable, extremely challenging, immensely rewarding, and fairly resilient to economic ups and downs, then start evaluating accounting degrees at the colleges and universities of your choice.

Career Options with an Accounting Degree

A Bachelor’s in Accounting degree is the key that can open the door to various exciting career possibilities. Some have been around for years and have retained their character, some have evolved over time, and others are fairly recent entrants into the world of accounting.

Here are a few careers you can pursue once you graduate from a bachelor’s degree in accounting program:

  • Public Accountants: Public accountants provide a variety of accounting-related services to their clients. The client list of public accountants includes business corporations, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and individuals. Public accountants audit financial statements of various entities, provide tax advice to clients, and offer consultation on employee benefits and compensation to businesses, etc.
  • Management Accountants: Also known as corporate or private accountants, these professionals form part of a company’s executive team responsible for strategic planning and key business decisions. In addition to maintaining financial records, management accountants perform a variety of other tasks, such as making budgets, evaluating the financial performance of the company, managing cost and assets, and preparing financial reports for internal and external stakeholders.
  • Government Accountants: As the title suggests, government accountants work in the public sector. They are responsible for maintaining the financial records of their clients, which may include federal, state, and local government agencies, as well as private firms and individuals that are subject to government regulations. Ensuring timely collection of revenues and compliance with the law in making expenditures are also part of a government accountant’s job role.
  • Internal Auditors: Internal auditors have the important task of ensuring the effectiveness and efficiency of an organization’s internal controls; checking for mismanagement or waste of funds and fraud; verifying the accuracy of a business’s financial records; and making certain that its operations comply with corporate policies and government regulations.
  • Forensic Accountants: Forensic accountants are public accountants who apply their knowledge of accounting to investigate financial crimes. For this job, familiarity with the legal system is as important as accounting skills. Individuals interested in this exciting career should look for accounting degrees that offer a concentration or emphasis in forensic accounting.

Preparing for an Accounting Career

If you are convinced that your future lies in accounting, then there are a few things that should precede and follow your Bachelor’s in Accounting degree.

Since most accounting degrees in college require students to complete courses in college algebra, statistics, calculus, etc., it’s important that you build a strong foundation by taking as many courses in math as possible in high school.

But accounting is not just about number crunching. Modern-day accountants must be familiar with using basic- to advanced-level accounting software. They should also look to develop their verbal and written communication skills.

Many accountants and auditors acquire additional certifications to enhance their employability. The Certified Public Accountant, or CPA, certification is among the top professional certifications for accountants and is mandatory for all accountants filing reports with the Securities and Exchange Board (SEC).

To become a CPA, one should graduate from a four-year bachelor’s degree in accounting or related field, pass a national examination, and meet the requirements of the state they practice in. Accountants can earn an average of $68,960 annually, depending on education, location, and experience*.

Sources:

*bls.gov/oes/current/oes132011.htm

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Flying Affordably With An Ultralight Aircraft

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There was a time when flying was limited to transporting people to great distances in the shortest time possible. During the late 1980s however, people were looking at the possibility of being able to fly affordably. This resulted to the invention of the ultralight aircraft.

An ultralight aircraft is a lightweight aircraft, as opposed to commercial airplanes. The speed of these aircraft are also slower than big planes. The term, however, is relative across different countries as the defined weight and speed limits vary from one country to another.

In Europe and in other countries, they are called microlights. Whatever you call them, these aircraft are significantly less in many aspect when compared to airplanes. They weigh lighter, cost significantly lower, fly at slower speed, use less fuel, can have only one to two passengers and are governed under much relaxed regulations.

One type of ultralight aircraft is a seaplane which have a fixed wing. Seaplanes per se can only take off and land on water. However there is a subclass of seaplanes called amphibious aircraft, or simply amphibians, that can take off and land on both water and runways.

Another type of ultralight aircraft is the hang glider which is a wing made of aluminum alloy and fabric. The pilot straps himself on a harness attached to an airframe, which in turn is attached to the wings. Earlier models of hang gliders were manually flown. However newer versions now have engines that power the aircraft.

One very interesting type of ultralight aircraft is the powered paraglider. These are motors attached to a paraglider wing that the pilot wears in flight. Although it can only have one seat, it is arguably the cheapest type of ultralights. They are a favorite of many hobbyist as anyone, even if you’re not an engineer, can build this type a motorized paraglider.

You can start building your own powered paraglider from a kit or by buying a plan from aviation websites, which is cheaper as you may choose to buy second-hand materials or at auctions. Whatever you prefer, paragliding is the easiest way to own an ultralight aircraft.

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What’s the Difference Between a Certificate and a Diploma?

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These days everyone is talking about going back to school to advance their careers. And if you don’t have time to do a traditional degree program, getting a diploma or certificate is a great alternative.

Relatively quick and less expensive than a bachelor’s degree, certificates and diplomas can help you train in a specific area or skill that can secure your job, advance your career, and even put some extra dollars in your pocket.

But what’s the difference between the two, and how do you know which is right for you?

While there is a fair amount of overlap between certificate and diploma programs, and with some schools appearing to use the names interchangeably, it can be confusing to differentiate between the two. In general, though, there are a few main differences between certificates and diplomas.

Certification Programs

Certification programs are typically specialized in one specific skill or area, which you’ll study and learn in one or two courses. These programs don’t offer a broad overview of a field or industry, and are often a good option for someone who already has a degree or work experience in the field.

Let’s say, for example, that you’re an accountant with a bachelor’s degree. You want to get into forensic accounting because it’s a hot new part of the industry, but don’t want to go back to school for another degree. A forensic accounting certification will build on the accounting skills you already have, and teach you the need-to-know basics of forensic accounting.

Diploma Programs

Diploma programs, on the other hand, tend to be longer and more in-depth. They allow you to study a specific area of specialization and get a good overview of the field, without earning an actual degree.

These comprehensive programs are a great option for someone who wants to make a career change and get into a new field. If you were interested, for example, in a graphic design career, a graphic design diploma program would consist of multiple classes that would teach you fundamentals of graphic design, as well as different computer programs and technologies utilized in that industry.

For more information, visit this certificates and diplomas webpage.

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Average Salaries of College Professors

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Average salaries of college professors have been trending upward. The rate of increase in the income of college professors has not been dramatic although it has been keeping up or slightly beating the inflation rate. The average salary of a college professor has risen 4.4%, in the period from 1986 through 2005. This is low in contrast for the increase of income for other occupations that employ highly educated people.

For this time period, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) compared faculty salaries with those of other professions that employ highly educated people. In the period from 1986 through 2005, real salaries for college professors increased by 0.27%. In comparison, the real increase for engineers was 4.68%, for lawyers it was 17.73%, and for physicians it was 34.41%.

However, salaries vary depending on college degree, academic rank, and type of college. In 2006, the average salary ranged from a low of $55,941 for faculty holding the baccalaureate degree in private church-related to a high of $74,299 for those holding the doctoral degree at private independent institutions. This is a 24.7% difference in annual salary for college professors.

The annual salaries of full professors holding doctorates at various types of institutions varied greatly. It was $113,740 for professors in private church-related schools, $101,620 for full professors at public academic institutions, and $131,232 for those at private institutions, which is a difference of 22.6% between the lowest and highest institutions.

The range in college professor salaries is actually more dramatic than this appears. Some church-related institutions pay their full professors a paltry salary ranging from only $28,000 to $46,300. The top pay for the top faculty rank ranges from $115,400 to $172,800 per year at top liberal arts and research institutions, respectively.

The data suggest the average salaries of college professors has not been increasing at the same rate as that for other professions that require highly educated employees. Faculty salaries can vary greatly depending on such factors as the degree, the academic rank, and the type of academic institution. Even if initial academic salaries are not very high, they tend to dramatically increase with an increase in academic rank at most institutions.

It is within your ability to make a 6-figure income a year as a part-time professor. Unfortunately, the road to success is filled with obstacles for those who don’t know how its done. Frustration and ultimate failure is the hard reality for most who try to attain this income level as an adjunct professor. Fortunately, there is an easier way to achieve success.

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Learning to Fly – You Will Never Forget Your First Solo Flight

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There are many milestones along the way to achieving your Private Pilot’s wings, but the one that you will remember vividly is your first solo.  Ask any pilot about theirs and he or she will probably gaze wistfully into the distance to recall the time they first flew and aircraft on their own. Even veterans with many hours in their logbooks never forget the day their instructor let them lose for the first time.

The first solo represents a transition between those who can only fly under the watchful eye of an instructor and those who have enough knowledge and skill to enable them to fly unaided.  Of course there’s a lot more to it than that and your instructor will still be watching you intently albeit from the ground instead of the seat beside or behind you! 

What is the first solo flight?

Your first flight as pilot in command will be one circuit of the airfield.  The circuit (or pattern in the USA) is an imaginary rectangle consisting of the runway, the upwind leg (the part flown just after take-off as you climb out to circuit height), the crosswind leg (at right angles to the left of the runway), the downwind leg (parallel to the runway but in the opposite direction to take off and landing), base leg (opposite of crosswind leg) and final approach i.e. the section in which you are lining up and descending in preparation for landing.  That’s all there is to it – take off, fly one circuit and land.

It may sound complicated to you now if you’re a rookie student with no hours in your log book but as with all things it gets easier with practice.  Your first 10-20 hours of flight training will involve aircraft handling in the air, climbing, descending turning, radio calls within the vicinity of the airfield, take-offs and landings.  Once you’ve mastered the basic handling of the aircraft your instructor will spend several lessons with you in the circuit teaching you how to fly each leg.  You’ll learn what to check on each leg, which radio calls to make and when to make them.

You’ll also learn how to recognise familiar landmarks around the airfield as it can be surprisingly easy to becoming disoriented without this knowledge and it’ll make the experience a lot less stressful in the unlikely the event that the Control Tower asks you to orbit over a particular point to make way for another aircraft.  There’s little chance of this happening as your instructor should have picked a time when the airfield is comparatively quiet and he/she should have informed the Tower that you are a student about the fly your first solo, but if it does happen then being prepared will help you to carry out the Tower’s instructions with the minimum amount of disruption to your flight.

So when should you expect to fly your first solo and how can you prepare for it?  Rest assured that your instructor will not send you solo until he or she is reasonably confident that you are ready.  The day will arrive when you’ve both been in the aircraft ‘circuit bashing’ i.e. flying one circuit after another until the whole process from take off to landing is drummed into your brain and your reflexes by constant repetition.  You may even find yourself getting a little bored of this practice and the astute instructor will sense this boredom and take it as signal that the time has come for you to fly on your own.

My first solo was on July 4th 1985 at Southampton Airport (EGHI) in a Grumman AA5-A, registration G-BFTE.   The proceeding lessons were all centered around flying the circuit repeatedly until all steps had become familiar.  During these practice sessions I had landed the aircraft several times with no intervention from the instructor beside me.  I knew that one day soon during such a lesson he would ask me to taxi onto the apron and park while he vacated the aircraft and gave me the go-ahead to fly a circuit on my own.  On this particular day we flew some circuits and he told me to park in front of the Tower.  Half of me was hoping that the lesson had ended and the other half knew what was coming.  Once the aircraft was parked he opened the canopy and got out onto the wing.  He leaned in to the cockpit and said, “Right.  One circuit only, then back here .  Off you go.”

Before I had time to protest he had slid the canopy shut and walked off without a backward glance.  I was left alone in the aircraft.  I gave a radio call to the Tower, “Southampton Tower, Golf Bravo Foxtrot Tango Echo, radio check and taxi to the hold.”  Approval was given without a pause.  I was on my way.  It taxied to the holding point, ran my eyes over the instrument panel and gave another call to say that I was ready to depart (take off).  A few second later the aircraft was gathering speed along the runway and I was soon airborne.

The first thing that struck was that the aircraft was lighter and handling differently, and of course it was due to the fact that there was one less adult in the right hand seat!   With all the things to concentrate on the next few minutes passed in a flash.  I didn’t really settle down and take stock of the event until I was in the downwind leg where there was a minute or two in which I could absorb the fact that I was flying on my own.  No sooner was I starting to congratulate myself when I realized that I had to prepare for the landing.  Radio calls and pre- landing checks followed and within a minute or two I was looking down the length of the runway concentrating on my air speed, height, and the position of the aircraft’s cowling in relation to the end of the runway.

My instructor’s voice was in my head guiding me down.  Now I understood why we repeated this exercise so often and under varying conditions.  I made slight adjustments where necessary and it wasn’t long before I felt the bump of the main wheels touching down on the runway.  Once the nose wheel was down too I gently applied breaking and taxied back to the apron to park.  With all the post landing checks completed and the aircraft shut down I vacated and walked across the apron to the main terminal building.  My knees were a little shaky but with every step I grew a foot taller.  By the time I reached the building I was beaming.

That was twenty five years ago. You never forget your first solo!

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