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First solo.

Old 20th Sep 2013, 18:34
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Locking: T21B, 1970, lovely late summer evening, still and quiet, good square circuit, a little bounce but a life long memory.

Capetown PA28 1974, non-event really, perfect weather (as always), no wind, careful shuffling to get between B727, B707's and Shackletons, never a dull moment there.

Best memories, pushing the throttle up on a constant speed prop, lifting the gear and hearing real retraction instead of the usual simulated finger switching.


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Old 20th Sep 2013, 18:52
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Good thread so far! After many other personal "first-solo's", I always found it rewarding to fly, instruct and qualify students.
Back to my first in a Kirby Cadet... "all clear above and behind?" was sobering, "take-up slack" was chilling and, "all-out" led to a career.

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Old 20th Sep 2013, 18:59
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OAP ...

Then 100 feet and 40 Kts ... Bend that pole my Son
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Old 20th Sep 2013, 19:20
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Aug 15th 1988, PA38, G-BNKH at Goodwood. First military solo in the venerable Bulldog (XX535) at Abingdon 21 May 1990. First RW solo, Ternhill, as Helmut needed a cigarette so he let we whip a Gazelle around the pattern for a bit.....

Many years later I turned up at low level at GWC to find old -KH in the circuit so followed her round in a Chinook.......nice feeling to complete the circle...
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Old 20th Sep 2013, 20:01
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Yep, Kirby Cadet Mk111 for me also, Raf Halton ' many, many years ago. I will never forget it. Bl...y winch failed at 400 feet. Classic 'S' turn to deal with it. Felt like a blooming hero!!!. Went on to become Staff Cadet there, 613 GS.
Didn't always fly so well...........
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Old 20th Sep 2013, 20:55
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As with others, many "first" solo's...............

First in a Cessna 172 at Carlilse at the age of 17 yrs and 1 month - thanks to an RAF Flying Scholarship.

Sundry others through RAF training.................

But the first really memorable - I am in full agreement with Wholigan on this - Hunter F6 at Chivenor - first single seater - no ghost empty seats alongside or behind - and a lovely noise when full power selected at take-off. I will always remember that trip.

Second memorable - and certainly the most frightening - first trap and cat on a USN Carrier - no previous dual experience!

Third - first solo in an F-16 - surely the ultimate gee-whiz fun machine!

And then - after retirement - my first solo cross-country in a glider - ASW20 for my Silver distance. No Rolls Royce assistance to help when all is going to cr@p around you, and you just want to stay high enough to get to where you want to go!!

All good fun, and no end to the opportunities available whatever flying one does!!
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Old 20th Sep 2013, 21:04
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JP3 at Wymeswold 1965, aged 18 and a bit. Too busy during the take-off to think about it, but then realised the RHS was empty; it was all down to me. I must have done something right, because my last flight was in a B737 just before I turned 58.
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Old 20th Sep 2013, 22:26
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First Cat/Trap

'BomberH' mentioned first cat/trap. Not having carrier capable training aircraft and only one carrier, often in extended refit, new RAN FAA pilots (trained by the RAAF) had their first cat/trap in an A4G after Operational Flying School in same. [In the mid 1960s - for a year or so - as the RAN FAA was reconstituted for fixed wing again some new pilots were trained in the USofA so they were able to carrier qualify initially in T-28C Trojans before often going to helo school there and then back in Oz to Wessex and beyond (Iroquois in Vietnam).] Not forgetting that the first S-2 Tracker pilots/aircrew were trained in US/Canada so they had their first carrier ops there also. Anyway....

I was lucky enough to be able to do four hook up touch and goes aboard HMS Eagle a few weeks before doing my first arrest and catapult aboard HMAS Melbourne in an A4G. Luckily the aircraft was on 'autopilot' after that amazingly violent arrest (nothing like a short field arrest). Being completely flummoxed after that the aircraft somehow taxied onto the catapult to be fired down that 100-105 foot track quick smart [in under two seconds at about 5.5-6G av.]. Bloody Hell. That punch in the chest with a closed fist sensation was literally breathtaking. Nothing can prepare one for either sensation. FlyCo then sent me ashore to allow me to take it all in. What an amazing experience.

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Old 21st Sep 2013, 02:57
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CarQual A4G Skyhawk HMAS Melbourne mid 1970s Pete Clark

Pete Clark talks about his first arrest and catapult in an A4G Skyhawk even though earlier he had CarQualled in the USN in the T-28C, having done basic training with the USN etc. before going to Vietnam with the RANHFV (hence reference to being 'shot at').

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Old 21st Sep 2013, 03:03
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USN CarQual Videos OLD/NEW T-2C/T-45C

Old video is called 'Down to the Wire' shows USN pilots carrier qualifying with T-2C Buckeyes:


Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

[T-45C Students talk/demo first Arrest/Cats] Angle of Attack - Excerpt 1
"A dual romance -- with the Navy's fighter planes and with camera gear that seemed almost as exciting and as hard to operate: the Canon 5D."

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Old 21st Sep 2013, 03:45
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In ZK FLH from NZPP in 1988. Managed to see a Sea Fury shortly after my take off, it was parked on the MOT (then Associated Aviation, I think now Helipro) apron!
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Old 21st Sep 2013, 07:46
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First solo at all on a Piaggo P149 D in 1974. It was nice to be finally alone in the aircraft and not being distracted by the know all best IP. To be fair, i didn't like flying this aircraft at all, but i never liked flying prop driven aircraft anyway.
First solo jet was spring 1976 at Sheppard AFB with the T-37. again it was very satisfying having achieved another goal. The limited power and performance of the "4000 lbs dogwhistle" however was annoying.
The first solo on a supersonic jet i was enjoying most, again at Sheppard AFB summer 1976 on the "white beauty" T-38 Talon. Now i felt like a real jet pilot and i remember that day with joy and pride. I made that flight as long as possible, saved fuel wherever there was a chance to do and landed only when all legal fuel was used. Same for the first night solo on the T-38 some weeks later, i did extensive areawork, lot of patterns to touch and go and had the longest flight from the whole course.
Great times and good to remember.

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Old 21st Sep 2013, 08:00
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Blimey, flicking through this thread one realises just how old the readership of this forum is!

Why? The ACPS (where many, many future RAF pilots will conduct their first solo) has been at Tayside, Dundee for quite a good few years and not one mention.

Not being of the two-winged master race, never been solo, but got to watch 400-500 first solos during my 3 year spell at the above establishment and it was tremendous joy to watch their faces as they walked in....for many a real lifetime event.

On another note, my best friend in his mid 50's, with zero aviation background, just went solo in a microlight and got his NPPL. So there is time for me yet (just kidding, I know my place).

How about my first unsupervised honkers stew? Does that count?
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Old 21st Sep 2013, 08:05
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Grob Viking at 661 VGS Kirknewton in 1985. Sat with the canopy open afterwards waiting on the retrieve when the Boss turned up in a Landie and asked if I wanted to stay on as a Staff Cadet. "Err, OK Sir!"

1st powered was in the mighty C152 at Dundee on a RAF Flying scholarship. Course mate chucked the aircraft off the side of the runway on his solo the next day. Ended-up poacher turned gamekeeper later on when I returned as an FS instructor at Tayside.

Didn't get to fly the JP or Tucano as I managed to cock-up my (short) RAF career!

Yeeeeears later the first time I landed a corporate jet, albeit as a co-pilot, was as satisfying as anything I'd done.
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Old 21st Sep 2013, 14:01
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I remember it well: 2 Jun 95 in the mighty Bulldog (XX699) at RAF Cosford on Rway 24. And I say mighty as it had to be built like a tank to cope with my somewhat agricultural technique.

Not sure who was more surprised, me or the instructor, Mike Sxxxxxxg, who put his faith in my ability not to bend the aircraft as looking at my log book just about the only thing I was consistent at was being inconsistent.

Now I spend more time than I would ever care or dreampt I would do flying a desk in round after round of staff jobs. But on the really rubbish days, I still find my mind drifting back to that afternoon and smiling. Surprised there aren't more Bulldog first solos on here so far - maybe TOFO is right and I am actually a mere spring chicken.
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Old 21st Sep 2013, 14:09
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Linton on Snooze, Oct 80. Bob J climbs out and says "off you go then"! Who? Me? You just never forget that sort of thing.
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Old 21st Sep 2013, 16:47
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Great thread. I went solo on Kirby Cadet Mk III, serial WT906, 26th October 1980 at Kirknewton. I remember it like it was yesterday. Happy days! I joined the RAF in 1985 but colour deficiency stopped any possibility of a military flying career.
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Old 21st Sep 2013, 17:45
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Herts & Essex Aero Club, Stapleford Tawney, 17 July 1965, Forney F1A Aircoupe. Sent solo by the CFI Neville Browning. He was a local farmer and when you did a PFL you landed in the field; he owned the field. Remember him climbing out, scrambling through the hedge to check how his crops in the next field were coming on towards harvest, climbing back in and off we went from pointing into the corner of the field and accelerating, (a relative term in an Aircoupe), in a 180 turn to head off diagonally across the field for take off.
He flew displays his own Zlin. His speciality was a very low inverted pass but unfortunately, at the age of 72 I think, hit the top of the tail on the runway doing this and was killed.
Rumour was that he'd flown Camels at the end of WW1.

Cranwell, 26 April 1966, JP3 Most of the QFIs were ex 90 sqn, after the sudden demise of the Valiants, still sporting their XC arm flashes.
Thanks to all the QFIs who had to work so hard to get me through.
If they knew it had resulted in 46 years/ 26,000hrs I hope they might think it was worth it!
In that time I've put a bit back in the tank by sending others off on their first solo.

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Old 21st Sep 2013, 22:07
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A sunny day in Texas, dual to solo in a T3 - a 20 minuter rather than the single circuit. We all got thrown in the tank afterwards (a big paddling pool) and as luck would have it it was on a Friday so it was off to the O Club. Next best trip was the first go in an aircraft with only one seat.
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Old 22nd Sep 2013, 20:26
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That's just given me a thought: I've never flown a single-seat aircraft.
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