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First solo.

Old 26th Sep 2013, 21:14
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Looks as if the Kirby Cadet III has a lot to answer for, in my case a first solo at HCGIS Detling in 1952, followed by a C course the next year with D***k P****tt as one of the instructors. First power solo at Redhill on April 24th 1953 in a Magister (complete with Gosport tubes), followed by first Tiger Moth solo, June 24th, 1954 at Croydon (of blessed memory), where a few years earlier I’d cycled to the spectators’ enclosure to watch Lancastrians, impressed BEA Ju. 52/3Ms, Ansons, Consuls and Rapides, when Croydon saw almost all of London's air traffic. Radio?? What's one of them...?
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Old 26th Sep 2013, 22:36
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As an aside from the "first solo" intent of the thread. The finest gliding machine I ever had the honour to pilot was the ASK18 (R36) operated by Four Counties Gliding Club, during my time of membership there. No plastic, no T tail, it went up on a "budgie fart" and loitered for a long time. Many happy hours spent in that particular beast. Anyone else have the pleasure ?

Smudge

Sorry to diverge, back on topic chaps.
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Old 27th Sep 2013, 11:41
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Smuj: I used to fly this example at Bannerdown GC, at Colerne and then Hullavington.

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Old 27th Sep 2013, 14:04
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Another first solo for the Kirby Cadet Mk III at Tern Hill as a 16 year-old (I think) CCF cadet - bloody brilliant!

First powered solo was in a Cessna 150 at Perth, Scone on a Flying Scholarship as a just 18 year-old CCF cadet.

First jet solo (no Chipmunks for me in the service sadly) was in a JP3 at Church Fenton when it was an RLG for Linton.

First single seat solo was in a Hunter F6 at Valley.

Most memorable? The first ever at Tern Hill and then the first solo on the course in a light weight Harrier GR3 - the contrast couldn't have been more marked!

Happy memories...

STP
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Old 27th Sep 2013, 17:18
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Well ... as so many of us experienced the thrills of the Kirby Cadet Mk3 in our youth ... I thought it quite wrong not to share with the non-cognoscente the delights of the cockpit



So, like the Typhoon, full Air Conditioning in both the Front and Rear cockpits. An adequacy of instrumentation ... including the boot lace tied to the pitot tube. A rubber grip off a lawnmower for extra grip on the stick. Helpful colour coding also featured ... Yellow Cable Release toggle and Red Spoiler lever ...

Not forgetting the good old CBSITCB Check List placard ... along with the W&B Chart on the cockpit wall (remember the weights that could be attached to the base of the tail fin and secured with an ejection seat type pin).

Last edited by CoffmanStarter; 27th Sep 2013 at 17:43.
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Old 27th Sep 2013, 19:35
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The Kirby certainly has a lot to answer for. A MoD contract that has provided more return of capital/value for money than any other maybe? What is used now, surely they're still not in service. Talking of Hullavington, I remember the station padre dying in a crash there towards the end of the 80s.
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Old 27th Sep 2013, 20:09
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Currently the Air Cadets use Grob 103's (Vikings) on winch launch squadrons and Grob 109's (Vigilants) on motor glider squadrons.

...Grob103 was my first solo at RAF Syerston....and finished my flying as OC a VGS, so I must have enjoyed some of it!
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Old 27th Sep 2013, 20:33
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622 ... So when did the Slingsby Venture get phased out ...
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Old 27th Sep 2013, 21:06
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I can't remember exactly, but I would guess early 90's
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Old 27th Sep 2013, 21:19
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They didn't last long then !
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Old 28th Sep 2013, 18:33
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My first solo was in 1952 at 5 FTS, R.A.F. Thornhill (Rhodesia) whilst a member of the R.A.F. Thornhill Gliding Club.

The R.A.F. Thornhill Gliding Club was formed with the object of bringing glider flying to hose stationed at R.A.F. Thornhill. Two second hand gliders a “Tutor” and a “Primary” were bought from the Rand Flying Club, Johannesburg, and these eventually arrived at Thornhill in 1951. They were assembled, and successfully test flown in March 1952. The club was then in business. The PSI/Station supported the club by allocating a 15cwt truck for glider towing duties, but otherwise the club was self-supporting with funds raised from members. The club had a joining fee of £1 and a monthly subscription of 10/- (50p). There was a further charge of 1/- (5p) for each launch.

Gliders were launched by being towed across the airfield by the truck, using a towing cable of steel wire, up to five hundred yards long. With this method, it was possible to launch the gliders to heights of over a thousand feet.

In the first stage the “Primary” was used and the towing speed kept too low for it to become airborne, but as the pupil became familiar with the controls as it “slid” across the airfield he would after a very short time find himself flying across the airfield, in full control, first at only a few feel, then at greater heights as he gains experience and learns to control the glider in turns. Promotion to the “Tutor” followed with further training in easy stages, leading up to the red-letter day when he soars successfully.
Looking back in 1952 the “Primary,” was probably the most elementary form of flying machine still flying; I’m sure the Wright Brothers would feel very much at home flying it!

I joined the Club in late 1952 and my first ‘flights’ in the “Primary” were hair-raisingly scary. There was no two-seat version so initial “flights” took place as one was tugged along the ground at 30-40 mph, having been told to keep the stick forward to keep glider on the ground and wings level with the ailerons and use the rudder to follow the towing truck. With only a couple of inches between the seat bottom of the “Primary” and the baked-hard Rhodesian airfield surface, avoiding bumps on the ground, including nascent ant-hills (and there were many) was as much as part of learning to fly a glider as actually getting off the ground. With no instructor alongside to get you out of trouble it was all a bit scary, but one could rely on the duty instructor yelling into a megaphone to shout instructions from the ground!

With eighty or so aircraft on the airfield we regularly ‘acquired’ petrol for the tow trucks by draining a little from an Anson or a Harvard or two! High octane aviation spirit and low-compression vehicle engines which in Rhodesia in 1952 would probably run on fermented porridge juice just don’t mix, with the result that the high-octane aviation spirit played havoc with the low-compression engines of the towing trucks; burnt valve seats etc caused lots of un-serviceability. Luckily two Gliding Club members worked in the MT Section and repairs were usually quickly resolved.

Later as one progressed to short hops things improved and even more so when the instructors allowed flights up to a couple of hundred feet or so: cast off and then do a series of ‘S’-turns, real flying at last, but still very primitive, no ASI, just a piece of string or a ribbon on the spar in front of one’s eyes, as long as it was fluttering in the slip-stream one was OK, however when it stopped fluttering it was time to put the nose down. Unforgettable, but sadly in my case I never did get to fly the ‘Tutor’ as the Rhodesian Air Training Group started to close down shortly afterwards and the Club assets were sold-off. But it was all good fun with fond memories.

Here’s what I looked like in one of my first flights.





The “Primary” looked very much like an EoN Primary Glider, but the one at Thornhill had a spar in front of one’s eyes unlike the one shown in the YouTube video.

A search on Google shows a very similar glider in action here:
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Old 28th Sep 2013, 20:11
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wub#36,

Smashing shot mate, that is exactly the beauty I spent many happy hours flying. I always felt lucky to be able to avoid flying the "plastic" stuff. I don't wish to insinuate any deviancy whatever, but that is a real sexy aircraft.

Smudge

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Old 28th Sep 2013, 21:36
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Can't match warmtoast.

My first solo was in a T21 glider round the circuit at Linton. My first real solo was in this T62b Condor tail dragger on 17 Jul 72 at Doncaster Aero Club. After 6 hrs 50 my flying instructor climbed out and said, "If I leave you on your own will you do any better?"



The next time I was alone in an aeroplane was in 2009!

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Old 28th Sep 2013, 22:11
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k13 glider at Bruggen in January 1978. Chipmunk 2011. And not to be out done by all you Cadet Mk111 people I flew my Mk111 at Hullavington today.
Slingsby T.31B Cadet TX3, BGA4933, Al Stacey
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Old 28th Sep 2013, 23:14
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WE 992,

Good to see the Hullavington mob are getting some new kit. They've always been the last to upgrade in the RSFGSA clubs ;-}
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Old 28th Sep 2013, 23:39
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First Solo, Scratch another one for the Mk III, WT917, 614VGS, RAF Wethersfield 14/08/83 (first week long course by the school after the move from Carver Barracks (former RAF Debden)). 11,000 foot runway with a 1000 ft of gravel overshoot and after a poor launch with only 600 ft off the cable, I ended up in the gravel after a very short circuit. Got my wings presented by the base commander (USAF Col).

First single seater. ASK18 (R39) around the same era as Smudge (if memory serves you were at Waddo at the time on a later cancelled AEW project). Even have a photo of it (abet from a very dust covered slide) and one taken from the cockpit of it in flight of the A46 and part of the airfield.




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Old 29th Sep 2013, 13:25
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First solo Cessna 150 G-BAVC from Biggin Hill Aero Club July 73, my instructor Mick R said "Off you go, don't bloody break it I don't think it's insured!" I've never been more scared in my life, apart from meeting my fiancee's father that is, and I didn't stop shaking for what felt like an hour!!
First cross country Biggin to Elvedon being asked to expedite the approach!
My one regret is not being able to keep my licence! thank you dicky ticker!
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Old 29th Sep 2013, 16:40
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Not forgetting the good old CBSITCB Check List placard
You must be a relatively young man coff

It was CISTRS when I went solo at Spitalgate in 1969
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Old 29th Sep 2013, 17:46
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Hi Ron ... Fun times ... 1969 I was still in primary school getting excited about the NASA Apollo Moon shot ...
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Old 29th Sep 2013, 20:17
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I had a bit of a dig ... came across this link that lists the Kirby Cadet Mk3 production line ... I'll bet that will prompt a few look ups

Kirby Cadet Mk3

I hadn't appreciated that some had been motorised


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