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First solo.

Old 22nd Sep 2013, 21:41
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Yup, Kirby Cadet Mk 3 also. Old Sarum 1976, 3 minutes of fun, fear and keeping the nose down. Third solo.........broke the skid off!!!
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Old 22nd Sep 2013, 21:43
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That's just given me a thought: I've never flown a single-seat aircraft.
Ah, you must do so. As already said, it feels slightly different. Don't know why really. Probably the thought that the only people who have ever flown it before have been pilots.

Last edited by thing; 22nd Sep 2013 at 21:44.
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Old 22nd Sep 2013, 22:14
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After learning to glide in T-21s, K-13s and Blaniks, my first solo was in a Slingsby Prefect - a single seater. This has just struck me as odd having read this thread, because I solo'ed in a type I hadn't flown before.

It was only years later, when I flew a T-21 solo in Cyprus, that I had my first experience of 'the empty seat'
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Old 22nd Sep 2013, 22:45
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My first solo in a powered aircraft was in a Bulldog at Marshall's in 1982. I remember it principally because my instructor (Flt Lt Vin Nadin - who some on here might well remember for various reasons!) never gave any indication that I was close to solo until, after a few dual circuits, he abruptly jumped out at the holding point for 24 with the only parting advice - "it'll climb a bit faster than me - just make sure you taxi back here to pick me up after your first landing". I set off too surprised to have any nerves, and flew my wobbly circuit, landed, and taxied back to the holding point to pick him up. Vin, of course, didn't last the five minutes or so for my circuit without lighting up his pipe, and as I was taxying back to pick him up he was tapping it out on the heel of his flying boot. I opened the canopy to let him in as he slipped his pipe back into its place in the top pocket of his grow-bag.

As we taxied back he was debriefing me with his usual begrudging praise when suddenly he slammed his feet on the toe-brakes, shouted "STTOPPP", threw back the canopy of the Bulldog, unbuckled and bailed out over the starboard wing.

Somewhat bewildered, and thinking this was some hidden agenda on the "first solo test" I carried on taxying, leaving Vin writhing around on the airfield grass behind me doing somersaults and frantically beating his chest. I'd only taxied ten metres or so when he stood up, ran back, jumped back on the wing and climbed back in. Without saying a word more, we taxied back to the ops room for the debrief.

It wasn't until a few days later that I learnt that he hadn't fully extinguished his pipe before putting it back in the top pocket of his grow-bag, and that these were not as fire-proof against hot tobacco ash as one might suppose....
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Old 22nd Sep 2013, 23:22
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Another ATC (VGS) first, Sedbarge from RAF Catterick April '83.

152, Wycombe, May '99.

First first solo sent in a 152, Sep 07.

Still get more of a buzz from sending someone off for the first time than I think I did from my own first. Again, memory from 30 years ago not perhaps as clear as it once was.
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Old 22nd Sep 2013, 23:28
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ASK21 at RAF Bicester, RAFGSA centre on a Joint Services Gliding Course. It was an aero tow behind a Pawnee and I was scared to death all the way up, and all the way down. Having landed, I was so pleased that having been hooked up for a second "go", I even managed a 20 minute float about. Absolutely magic.

Smudge
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Old 22nd Sep 2013, 23:35
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My first solo in an unpowered aircraft was in a Vasama PIK16 glider, which was also a single seater. Nothing beats a first solo in a single-seater!

It was also the first and hopefully only time I will ever land wheels-up. There is only a single retractable wheel on the PIK16, and it was on lush grass on Argentine Pampas - so no harm done.
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Old 22nd Sep 2013, 23:50
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ASK21 at RAF Bicester, RAFGSA centre on a Joint Services Gliding Course. It was an aero tow behind a Pawnee
When was that Smuj? I was there on a week's jolly in '91 and I can't remember the name of the CFI now. It was a Sgt somebody. I remember floating around in a bit of wave watching the C5's going into Upper Heyford looking for all the world like a block of flats with wings.


By the way if you there around that time there's a good chance that one Cpl Pete Stratton was your tug pilot. Pete is now CEOof the BGA!
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Old 23rd Sep 2013, 01:22
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'Trim Stab' you had me cackling here with that {instructor pipe} story. WheelsUp? Bin Dere Done Dat.

Last edited by SpazSinbad; 23rd Sep 2013 at 01:24.
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Old 23rd Sep 2013, 09:38
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Very first solo was in a Slingsby Grasshopper with the CCF in 1966. Very short flight, about 100yds.
After that, my first real solo was on a Flying Scholarship at Shoreham in a C150. Arrived on Monday morning for some admin and ground school. Started flying that afternoon. Went solo on the Wednesday early evening after two and a half days and 5hrs 20 mins. Great July in 1971, 35 hours flying in 3 weeks and a PPL at the end. Continuity was the secret to success.
Best ever first solo was in the Hunter F6. Nothing will ever better the fantastic memory of power and freedom.
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Old 23rd Sep 2013, 10:13
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First solo - Blanik, Bicester 1973 - tug pilot decided to do some fairly steep turns and I ended up so far off station that I couldn't recover and pulled the plug on it at 1200ft. On landing, A*** G**** had apparently 'spoken to' the tug pilot (who was actually a mate, so no hard feelings!) and we were sent off to do another 2! What I remember most was the metallic sound of the empty rear seat harness clicking and banging - never heard that sound before and I can still hear it. Best after that was first solo in single seater - K8 and then in a motorglider some months later. First 'proper' powered solo next year was a bit of an anti-climax - but the cross-country wasn't!

DS
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Old 23rd Sep 2013, 14:58
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1st 1st solo. C150 G-ARAB at Sandown IOW 12th April 1963. Instructor was Vernon Bernard.
1st solo JP3 XM412 Wymeswold, 8th Feb 1965. Instructor F/O Jim Hawkins
1st solo Gnat XR995 Valley 14th Jan 1965. Instructor F/L Alex Bannerman
1st solo Hunter6 XJ713 Chivenor 19th March 1969. Instructor F/L Dave Ozanne
1st solo Phantom XT910 Coningsby 6th April 1971. Instructor F/L Mike Flynn

Thereafter various Boeings and Airbuses paled into insignificance. The Cessna was a thrill just after my 17th birthday, but the Gnat was really exhilarating after the Provost. 550kts around the island!
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Old 25th Sep 2013, 22:10
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Thing #68,

Sorry for the delay in responding, I've been looking for my log book. Having found it I can also correct my original recollection of my First solo. It took place on 24 October 1985, at RAFGSA centre Bicester. The aircraft was a Grob 103 (EGN) I believe, and I was sent solo by a chap called Simon Ludlow, who was a trainee pilot at Cranwell at the time himself. The flight lasted 6 minutes, was followed by a 20 minute flight and then the bar. Pete Stratton (Strats) is well known to me, as he was the deputy CFI at Four Counties at Syerston in 1987 when I enjoyed many cross countries as his "back seater" in the Janus B, including an unplanned landing at Spitalgate, to the amusement of the green jobs on exercise at the time. I managed to achieve a full Silver C (No 7579) in my few years gliding, and made many good friends.

Smudge

Last edited by smujsmith; 25th Sep 2013 at 22:12.
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Old 25th Sep 2013, 23:16
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Just dug out my old logbook, you beat me to the silver by a bit! Silver C 10805, gliding certificate 95517. Was at Bicester Nov 1991. Can't remember how we swung it now, I think we went under 'adventurous training' or some such wheeze. It wasn't an official course, just a fill yer boots week of flying. In fact I think most of our mob were civvies.
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Old 25th Sep 2013, 23:36
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Thing,

Yep My Gliding Certificate is No 87198. The "courses" at the "Centre" were supposedly Joint Service Adventure Training Glider Courses (JSATG). The course I did, when I went solo was one of 12 students, 3 RAF, 3 Army and 6 RN/RM. After only one trip all 6 RN lads decided they had had enough adventure and wanted no more. That left six of us with a similar number of aircraft and instructors. We slept in a hangar annexe on standard beds. What a week. I found later that as a SNCO Airframe tradesman, I could be quite useful to the Centre so could usually get a week down there to do some servicing for them. A mornings work was often rewarded with an afternoons free flying. Great place, great people.

Smudge
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Old 25th Sep 2013, 23:45
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I remember walking through the hangar doors for the first time and seeing their fleet, I was like a kid on Christmas morning...I think we all just stood there for a bit trying to let it all sink in. Lots of under the breath 'K'inells' heard.
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Old 26th Sep 2013, 08:12
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Another one for the Kirkby Cadet MkIII! May 1966 at RAF Spitalgate - anyone remember that?

First power solo at Cranfield in a Beagle Pup.
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Old 26th Sep 2013, 08:35
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K4 RAF Upavon May 1971 then T21, K13

Beagle Pup G-AXCX Hawarden June 77 thanks to Martin Sibson, still mates today.

GGR
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Old 26th Sep 2013, 16:18
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JP3 Church Fenton, Aug (or Sep?) '83.

Right leg shook like mad all the way round the circuit, height all over the place on the downwind leg, still managed to pull off one of my better landings. Then forgot to put the pins back in the ejector seat. Airman about to unstrap me wasn't impressed . . .

OM that night, seem to remember having to drink 3 pints in a oner out of a bucket or something by way of celebration.
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Old 26th Sep 2013, 19:55
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My first solo was on the OUGC K7 at Bicester, followed by an instructor course and a silver c conversion on a Rollason Condor all in 1979. Being sent solo at the end of day 2 of the power conversion and being quite confident indicated to me that the RAFGSA were doing something right.
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