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First solo.

Old 20th Sep 2013, 11:31
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CCF Flying Scholarship, Southend Flying Club (Rochford), Tiger Moth GAMSY 31 July 1954; in common with all the other students lucky enough to fly the Tiger, the first and clearest memory is how much better the forward view was without an instructor’s head in the way.

Second clearest memory is of the telephone call I made to my mother immediately after landing:

“Hello Mum, I’ve just been solo”

“That’s nice dear, what does it mean?”

“My Instructor got out of the aeroplane and let me fly by myself”

“If I’d known they were going to make you do that I would never have signed that form!”

Last edited by NutherA2; 20th Sep 2013 at 11:31.
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Old 20th Sep 2013, 11:50
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Interesting how many flying careers started with membership of the ATC (but I guess not surprising).

Me too, 1st gliding solo Cadet Mk III WT919, Kirton-Lindsey March 1960.

First solo power, L-4 Cub, Blackbushe, August 1969.

(First aerotow from the front end of the rope October 1969, Netheravon, Jackaroo G-APAM).
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Old 20th Sep 2013, 12:10
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“If I’d known they were going to make you do that I would never have signed that form!”
Reminds me of the griefstricken expression on my mother's face when my RAF acceptance letter arrived.

1st solo: South Cerney, Chipmunk, 13 June 1966. Outstanding memory: Looking round to check full & free and no instructor there - ooer!
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Old 20th Sep 2013, 12:18
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Beautiful summer evening, 22 June, 1966 at UAS summer camp at RAF Ballykelly.

I can remember being 200 ft high downwind and wondering if they could see me on radar! Overturned the centre line, but did the smoothest greaser nevertheless. My instructor, the late Flt Lt Brian Rampling said "f...ing awful approach but a great landing - lets' have a beer!"
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Old 20th Sep 2013, 12:32
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Not a mil guy so forgive the transgression, first solo was in a Kirby Cadet at Cosford I think in 75, my other real solo was EWR-BFS in a 757 about 8 years ago.
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Old 20th Sep 2013, 12:42
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Remember lining up without doing the pre-take-off checks......CT-4A
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Old 20th Sep 2013, 12:50
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I've three to choose from:

1st solo - C150 at Leavsden while on an RAF Flying Scholarship at Luton in 1977. I had been having issues with landing (frightened of hitting the ground hard, which made it far, far worse. Solved by a change of instructor, and I was fine thereafter).

1st military solo - Chipmunk at Roborough on FAA Flying Grading. A lovely bright but not breezy November day, and on the previous circuit I was shown where to dump it if I had an engine failure on crosswind/early downwind. I remember feeling very good during and after. Best fun with one's trousers on.

1st rotary solo - Predannack in a Gazelle. Wonderful aircraft, and only wish I could run one now

Of the three it's the Chipmunk trip I remember the best and with the fondest memories.
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Old 20th Sep 2013, 13:20
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UWAS Chipmunk T10 WZ862 at RAF St Athan, 4 Mar 73. A life-changer.

I've sent a few of my own as well since then...
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Old 20th Sep 2013, 13:49
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Like most chaps on this thread ...

1st solo was in a Kirby Cadet TX Mk3 (although T31B sounded a bit more aggressive back then) XN246 with 617 VGS RAF Manston September 1973 ... I remember it was a bl00dy cold day ... and yes the unit badge depicted a Mk3 with a "Bouncing Bomb" slung underneath doing a final run at a Dam !

Mind you ... I now feel very old as XN246 appears to be a museum exhibit at the Southampton Solent Sky Aviation Museum



1st solo powered aircraft was in a C-150 Aerobat G-AYUY with The Cinque Ports Flying Club at Lydd doing a Flying Scholarship.

Thinking back now ... the confidence gained doing the gliding solo at 16 made the powered solo feel very much a "matter of fact" moment.
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Old 20th Sep 2013, 14:18
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Thinking back now ... the confidence gained doing the gliding solo at 16 made the powered solo feel very much a "matter of fact" moment.
My thoughts too, powered solo was very much 'that's done what's next' feeling.
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Old 20th Sep 2013, 14:35
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November 1991 in a Grob 103 (Viking) at Wethersfield. A crisp Autumn day and the instructor got out and told me to go and enjoy myself. Top of the launch and I'm sure you could see my grin from the other side of the country! Didn't put enough rudder in on my downwind turn and flinched as I was expecting the usual boot from behind...that's when I finally realised I was on my own

OB
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Old 20th Sep 2013, 14:54
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Coff & thing. You're right, the confidence from a first solo in a glider, at 16 was an amazing boost.

I went on to do a Flying Schol at Carlisle Flying Club. C150 for general handling, C172 for cross country and Auster J5F (Aiglet) for aerobatics.

Then I joined the RAF as an Engineer and had the best 36 years of my life!

After that I did some consultancy which was OK, the money was good but it wasn't the same.

Then I parted with Mrs SOS and so I am now solo again.

Rgds SOS
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Old 20th Sep 2013, 15:24
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Like others above I first went solo in the Kirby Cadet MkIII. Looking back, I am amazed that I was left to my own devices at the age of 16.
I still remember the check ride instructor telling me to stay in the cockpit while the glider was pushed back to the launch point, the winch cable hooked up and off I went.
All went well but I was given a mild bollocking for what the instructor deemed to be landing too short. I made sure to use more of the grass before the next two landings.
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Old 20th Sep 2013, 15:34
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And now one can solo a glider at 14 - biggest grin I have ever seen on a kid's face at our club the other week.
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Old 20th Sep 2013, 16:08
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Another one for the Kirby Cadet Mk III. Mine was at West Malling, summer '76, weeks after my 16th birthday, on day 2 of the course after 19 launches (57 minutes). Spent the rest of the week hanging around catching the odd ride in a Sedbergh (first loop !).
Started flying for a living at 25 and still enjoying it now
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Old 20th Sep 2013, 17:14
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Cessna 152 at Lands End - age 61, after ** hours (figure redacted to save my blushes)! Main impression was how the rate of climb improved with only one on board - took me by surprise.

Actually didn't make as much of an impression as my first solo landaway (Lands End - Perranporth- Lands End). I was like a dog with two tails that day!
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Old 20th Sep 2013, 17:52
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I think it was in a Air Cadet Vigilant motorised glider.

The instructor and I did some circuits. Then on one circuit as we came to a halt, he simply opened the door and walked off!

Credit to the instructors training, the solo circuits must have been so ingrained in me that it seemed I flew automatically from muscle memory. There was no panic or uneasy feeling.

Last edited by gr4techie; 20th Sep 2013 at 17:58.
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Old 20th Sep 2013, 18:13
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13:15 hrs 15th June 2006, Cessna 172 G-WACW Exeter

Unhappy with first approach so executed a go around, on second circuit asked to extend downwind due Hunter traffic on long finals (G-VETA if I recall correct), and to call once visual, do so and cleared finals number two, turned base and had a very nice long approach to R/W 26 and managed a greaser, which was a great relief as had been sweating buckets after the first go-around
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Old 20th Sep 2013, 18:16
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Civilian: White Waltham at West London Aero Club August 1983 - flying a PA28 on a flying scholarship. I remember being s*** scared!

RAF: Dishforth, early 1985, JP3A. I was the last of the course (due to time lost due to illness). Uneventful other than a post flight bollocking for leaving the taxi light on when it should have been off (or vice versa - I didn't really care at that moment). I felt 10 feet tall!

Last edited by moggiee; 20th Sep 2013 at 18:18.
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Old 20th Sep 2013, 18:36
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Dishcloth, spring '84. JP3. Callsign U833. I threw up on finals ( I was later an official sickie). Filled the bag as I was flaring (!) and was unable to respond to AIr Traffic after landing as I was still barfing. They got the message when they saw me wind the canopy back for air, mask hanging to one side, face still buried in the bag!
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