View Full Version : First Solo OUT of the Circuit!
12th Jul 2012, 21:54
Well, i've just been flying, and at last the wx and my brain played ball..... a Local area Famil and three ccts dual, then, taxiing back to the Flying club.....well, are you up for it??!! I decided, yes, I would go for it!
So off I went, to terrorise the goodly citizens of Newark, vale of Belvoir (Belvoir Castle), Grantham, Barkston Heath and Home. All was ok, until I got to the south of Grantham. I was thinking, ok, I need to call up Cranwell....looked on my map as I have put an 8 and 10 nm ring around Cranwell to remind me when I should call the TOwer....oh and I need to do Freeda cx...ok, so start doing my cx...then realise, where the hell am I?! Lincolnshire looks, well, samey.... i'd not been keeping a check on where I was whilst doing cx! I was infact doing a slight detour towards the coast! At least I suppose if I reached the Wash I would know where I was!!
But got back on course and was very relieved to see Barkston Heath and Sleaford...good, next issue...rejoin Cwl...Ummm Its runway 19 right hand. At this point of course, another club member was flying back, made a general call that he was "abeam the mast" (a telephone mast used as a local landmark v near the airfield) whilst i was south of Grantham...by the time I returned to the cct, and called Overhead join, he corrected me to Left hand join...so then quick rethink on which was deadside and which liveside, and .......where do I line up and join now? Did what I though I had to do and reported "Golf Foxtrot Alpha 2,500ft deadside descending (I hope!)" If he hadn't figured it out all ready, my mate now of course knew I was solo! I was a bit high at 2,500ft but I wanted to give him room as I did not have a visual which worried me a bit...to make matters worse, the sweeper was on the other runway and I was hoping he'd seen me!. So I had a lot of height, but managed to bleed it off and made a somewhat faster than i'd hoped landing which put a lot more wear on the brakes (thank god they work!!) So it was a bit of a spicy landing, but I got it down and arrived after 35 minutes out of the cct on my own for the first time...i'd survived!!
I guess this is old hat to most of you guys, but as a student, its a fab feeling to finally be let loose out of the circuits, and I feel that I have really turned a corner. :):):)
12th Jul 2012, 21:58
Well done :ok:
Brings back good memories. It is a fantastic feeling going cx on your lonesome for the first time. Feels like real flying after building hours in the circuit. Life is a lot more interesting more than 2nm beyond your aerodrome. :)
Enjoy your navs, won't be too long until your qxc.
12th Jul 2012, 22:19
More scary than first solo I thought
12th Jul 2012, 22:21
On my first solo out of the circuit I closed Dublin Airport!
Blocked approach to both runways.
Was on Weston's channel.
When Weston eventually told me that Dublin were looking for me, Dublin asked to confirm that I was unsure of my position. To which I replied "Oh Yeah, Oh Yeah". "Would you like to land here?", "Oh No,oh no"
A great thank you to ATC in Dublin and the guy who put me straight back into the cockpit to repeat the exercise.
13th Jul 2012, 10:49
Well done, sounds like you had a fair bit to deal with on the rejoin. Just remember that if the approach is looking 'a bit spicy' and you're too high/too fast, or if you just aren't happy with it for ANY reason - there's no shame in going around.
13th Jul 2012, 10:58
Congratulations. I remember that feeling well. Don't worry, there are plenty more thrilling experiences in front of you. For me, my first solo land away was special and more recently during IMC training, my first time descending through cloud on a procedure and finding a runway ahead was also a great feeling.
One thing I can heartily recommend for your QXC, is to make sure that you set a waypoint 6-10 mins out from the field which you make absolutely sure you hit spot-on. The rest of the leg is then much less stressful. In mine, the wind was forecast from the north, but was actually blowing from the south. The west-east leg was extremely stressful until I asked a helpful Lincolnshire RAF controller for a bearing to her field (which turned out to be waaay different to what I was expecting). In hindsight, running a bit north of that first waypoint should have set off alarm bells. It does now.
13th Jul 2012, 12:08
Well done, sounds like you handled the situation pretty good considering was your first solo.
In a couple of weeks im starting my training intensive, ive got 20 hours in the first week to complete. I learn quicker under stressful situations than i do taking weekly lessons. So i hope ill be on my first solo in that week, cross fingers.
13th Jul 2012, 12:20
Well done .... remember the first time I was allowed out of the Barton circuit ... long ago now but something to treasure for ever. First time you are a real pilot !!!
Whiskey Kilo Wanderer
13th Jul 2012, 12:26
I used to have lots of trouble returning to the circuit at Shoreham when doing my PPL there in 1992. Typically on one somewhat haphazard return, the following exchange occurred:
Twr: “G-PX, caution Police Helicopter in your 11 o’clock”
Me: “Visual with the target.”
Police Heli: “We aren’t supposed to be a Target!”
13th Jul 2012, 16:29
Many thanks for all your kind comments everyone. Yep, it WAS scarier than the very first solo...I think its because you know that you are away from the safety of home and that you may have to do that PFL for real...well at least thats what I was thinking!
But the freedom and feeling of being a "real pilot" was fantastic.
The thing I worry about most is indeed circuit rejoins (what I meant to say in my first post is that the OHJ was ok, it was the RH or LH circuit that my friend corrected me on...probably because he was already in, had made his decision adn didn't wish to find me coming the other way!! :ooh:) I have done so many practices with my FI, I really shouldn't be so nervous about it! Guess its jsut one of those things that eventually I shall wonder why I ever had any issues with it!
WKW...I'm glad i'm therefore not the only Student who has troubles with rejoins...love your story about the Police Helicopter; I had an Apache and an Augusta in my sights at one point last night.....
13th Jul 2012, 17:47
Congrats - yes!
My first out of the circuit solo wasn't a nav ex (although I was prepared to go to an alternate) but some general handling practice in a area of airspace thats not too busy. Joining is less of a worry too at my controlled field (Prestwick) where you just do what ATC tell you to do (while keeping a good look out!) so the big issue is dealing with the clearances in and out of the controlled zone (which my instructor could still hear from the ground...). Difficult to get lost too as if you follow the coast you will eventually hit it...
Great feeling though!
What was much more onerous was my first land away. I then had to get clearance through different airspace (Glasgow - including having a backup route if they wouldn't let me through) and deal with an uncontrolled field (Cumbernauld) as well as finding parking... A big confidence boost when I got all that right!
QXC coming soon...
13th Jul 2012, 18:17
Yep, we're a totally controlled full ATC airfield....in working hours and weekend mornings when the AEF are operating. I await with pleasure (?!?) a rejoin whilst being controlled...
The problem last night was a combination of ATC being closed (good in one way but not in another) nerves and inexperience, thinking I was going to do one thing and then having to do the complete opposite!
Hmm, i've still got first solo landaway to come...and the QXC seems miles off....
Good luck with your QXC! :ok:
13th Jul 2012, 20:06
Well done Iol..oops sorry, Grob Queen ;)
14th Jul 2012, 08:22
Circuit joins are a pain particularly with landaways. I always draw the overhead approach and circuit direction on my Pooleys plate in pencil before I take off. It helps a lot particularly if there is an entire squadron already in the circuit when you arrive. I've noticed that it is also surprisingly easy to confuse left and right circuits if the workload is high.
Keep flying and keep enjoying it. The QXC will come when it comes.
14th Jul 2012, 09:28
The way I think about overhead joins is
1. Keep the airfield on the correct side at all times - right for a right hand circuit, left for left hand.
2. Start to descend dead side over where you want to land.
If you do those two things everything else fits into place. :)
16th Jul 2012, 00:23
Congratulations! It is almost as good a feeling as the first solo indeed.
16th Jul 2012, 04:10
Well done. As a recently qualified PPL (last month), I remember it all very well. At my home airfield Headcorn we do not have standard overhead joins because of parachuting and we have A/G rather than ATC so flying to other airfields present new challenges. On my QCX I had to fly to Goodwood and did not not know which runway would be in use as they advised in the prior to take-off call that the wind was variable. I carried with me, a home-made drawn circuit pattern for each runway. It worked a treat and I landed on the runway that I least wanted to use! The confidence gained from doing that was incredible. Good luck with the rest of the course.
23rd Jul 2012, 17:15
Good luck with your QXC! :ok:
Completed my QXC on Saturday (Prestwick - Cumbernauld - Carlisle - Prestwick) :D. Weather when I left was fine to Cumbernauld but there are no weather stations between Cumbernauld and Carlisle and some higher ground so I was under strict instructions to return direct to Prestwick if in any doubt but the cloud level was few and high so all went to plan.
Only minor issues were radio - Glasgow Approach and I had difficulty talking to each other over Kilmarnock when I was trying to transit their zone (I must have been just too low so was breaking up) but got through eventually. Then after my initial over head join call at Carlisle I couldn't get another word in as two aircraft were booking out over the radio - but then you just follow the pattern... wasn't able to report position until late downwind.
All great fun though - and another big tick.
Just need to finish all those exams now before doing pre-skill test revision lessons :ok:
8th Aug 2012, 05:38
Rive rock when you mention pre skills test revision lessons what do you mean is this an extra exam or just a brush up on all the manoeuvres etc
8th Aug 2012, 06:51
Sorry airpolice for not replying - was away from pprune for a while and didn't see your post.
I know what you mean by runway length although there is a lot of disused runway at carlisle so it looks larger than it is! I'd no issues though - I'd previously soloed into Cumbernauld and been into Carlisle with my instructor. No problems. What was more interesting was going to a flyin in Northern Ireland (I was pax in rt hand seat) to a much narrower and bit shorter strip. Then I couldn't believe what we were going to land on!
About the pre test training, my club likes students to have a sort of practice test and refresher training so the test is really just a formality. They like you to do it with a different instructor who can try to get rid of any bad habits which your normal instructor has missed.
Seems like a good idea to me. Since its a club I'm not worried about them trying to skin me - just make me a better pilot so I'm all for it.