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Old 29th Mar 2018, 19:28
  #1 (permalink)  
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Join Date: May 1999
Location: Quite near 'An aerodrome somewhere in England'
Posts: 25,677

Now I really am an aged old fart (so what's new, I hear you say!)...

For today is the 50th anniversary of my first solo in a power driven aircraft - a brand-new Cessna 150 at the Bedfordshire Air Centre, Cranfield.

Which got me thinking - how many others of that more enlightened period when HMG handed out 30 free flying hours towards a PPL are still flying - or PPRuNe-ing?

We were so lucky and I really feel for the youngsters of today who, thanks to 5 decades of successive defence cuts cannot have the same level of opportunity that was available to us....
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Old 29th Mar 2018, 19:44
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Join Date: Sep 2003
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Age: 69
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Hello young Beagle. My first solo was in a PA28 at Oxford, on 22 March 1968. The ATC Flying Scholarship meant I was absent from school for four weeks in my Upper Sixth, which did not help the A level grades! Fortunately the RAF still accepted me for a University Cadetship, hence we met at QMC on the University of London Air Squadron for copious drinking and occasional free flying.
The RAF medics finally grounded me on the basis of a potential heart attack in their pitiful Tutor with one of the present crop. Three years and five months later I am pleased to be still proving them wrong.
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Old 29th Mar 2018, 19:45
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: South East of Penge
Age: 70
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Piper 140 Cherokees (plus spinning in the Zlin 526) O.A.T.S Kidlington Summer 1968 .Paid for the extra 5 hours for my P.P.L .
Superb inastructor Mr.Gledhill (Hurricanes to Swifts IIRC) .
Quietly taken aside privately (not by him) and without OATS knowledge was invited to consider a transfer to Civvie aviation....
Who knows where that might have taken me?
Absolutely no regrets in the end.
Yours from the mangrove swamp,
P.S Blinking hell Ray .Didn't realise you did OATS as well before we met up at U.L.A.S in '69.!!!
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Old 29th Mar 2018, 20:01
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Oxford
Age: 82
Posts: 331
Young Beags (et al),
How right you are about the current lack of opportunity for air minded youth! (1st solo as an ATC Cadet Flt.Sgt.) was in a Tiger Moth at Exeter in August 1955 (going to have to get in the attic for the details - probably safer tomorrow!) followed by PPL course and the rest of my life flying (RAF and one or two others plus civvy!). The best thing that ever happend to me! Now helping with ATC (sorry - RAF AC!) and seeing the very few opportunities the cadets have makes me very sad!!

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Old 29th Mar 2018, 20:24
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: UK
Posts: 91
I had my 30 hours at Eastleigh in 1978 and retired last year. One of the chaps on the course after mine subsequently landed on a Spanish freighter....

I was somewhat taken aback during the last CQWI course at Kinloss (2010?) when the 'UAV photograph' that was put up on the briefing screen was dear old G-AYCF, my first solo aircraft.
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Old 29th Mar 2018, 20:30
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I'm still here (and flying for a living), but I'm a relative youngster - did my Flying Scholarship in 1973. Went solo before I could legally drive a car.
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Old 29th Mar 2018, 21:22
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: S England
Posts: 125
My 30 hours ATC Flying Scholarship was over all too quickly in twenty-three days in August 1962 at the London School of Flying, Elstree.

First solo was in Chipmunk G-AOSO after 4hrs 30mins but my real first flying solo had been in a Kirby Cadet Mk 3 glider at Hendon in 1960..... I remember one had to avoid the wooden stakes which were pegged out to mark the planned roads and houses which now cover that historic airfield.

I did a lot of cycling in those days!
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Old 29th Mar 2018, 23:19
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Melbourne Australia
Posts: 257

Solo 49 years ago last week in a Victa Airtourer under a RAAF Flying Scholarship in my ATC (Air Training Corps) days before a career in RAAF ATC and subsequently as a consultant - still working.

Used my PPL(R) as identification for my drivers licence and mum had to drive me to Archerfield before that so I could fly her to Lismore for a coffee!!

The designer of the Airtourer (Henry Millicer) was my aerodynamics lecturer in 1970 at RMIT. He used the Airtourer to demonstrate all those formulae in Kermode (Mechanics of Flight).

The Aero Club Liaison Officer (SQNLDR Kev Duffy) died recently and there is a thread on PPRuNe advising that. The first of many mentors in my almost 50 years in the industry.

My instructor at RQAC was Wes Hawker. RQAC is no longer with us but does anyone know about Wes?

I still have a receipt from RQAC for an hour's dual - $14-75.

Thanks for prompting the memories.



Last edited by mgahan; 29th Mar 2018 at 23:53. Reason: typ and remembered Wes' name. The cost of an hour's dual in NOT a typo.
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Old 29th Mar 2018, 23:43
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First solo, Cadet Mk3 617 GS RAF Hendon June 1963. Went on as Staff Cadet and CI until joining the RAF in Oct 1966. Flying Scholarship at Cranfield 1965. The Rogers Aviation Cup for that year sits on my bookcase to this day. I also visited Canada on the IACE scheme in 1964. Fabulous oportunities in my teens. Never looked back. Left the RAF in 2005 (5 extra years as FTRS)
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Old 30th Mar 2018, 00:09
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1965 for me, BEags, at Stapleford Tawney. the 30 hours were all that was needed for a PPL, and having done the course to death I had 3 hours left and paid a few quid extra to check out on a Cherokee.

Was your PPL cover also annotated 'Flying Machines'?
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Old 30th Mar 2018, 06:22
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Hi Beagle.
I was lucky to be awarded an RAF Flying Scholarship in 1960 at Christchurch Aero Club on Tiger Moths and Austers, got me started in aviation. Staff Cadet 622 Gliding School. Then Turbo props, 32 years
on big jets until compulsory retirement at age 55. Continued with Cargo, and then Corporate jets until retired at 65.
Still flying wth share in C182.

Last edited by cessnapete; 31st Mar 2018 at 09:52.
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Old 30th Mar 2018, 06:38
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I'm still here (and flying for a living), but I'm a relative youngster - did my Flying Scholarship in 1973. Went solo before I could legally drive a car.
Mine was also 1973 - at Doncaster Aero Club (complete with the initial low overshoot to scare the horses off the runway).
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Old 30th Mar 2018, 07:20
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Location: East Anglia
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9/4/64 after 5hr40min at Biggin Hill, Surrey & Kent Flying Club in a Forney F1 Aircoupe. We were forbidden to use R/T as we didn't have a licence! It made life interesting bumbling around Gatwick watching the Hawker Siddeley Ground Grippers!
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Old 30th Mar 2018, 07:21
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I'm another aged old fart who spent the Summer of '68 at Kidlington OATS on a Flying Scholarship. Flew various Piper (28) 140 Cherokees plus one spinning flight in the Zlin 526, GAWJY. Instructors were Mr Charity/Baker/Cutler/Gledhill/Woodgate. Went solo on 15th August 1968 after 7:45 hrs of dual. Also paid for the extra 5 hours for my P.P.L (Thanks to Daddy Bank!)

I guess that we must have met in '69/'70 at ULAS whilst drinking in the town HQ (aka South Ken Bar.) Fortunately I was based at Imperial College so only had a short journey "home". I went solo in Chipmunk T.Mk 10 WP861 on 25 March 1969 and in my two years with ULAS had an amazing time especially at the summer camps in Thorney Island and Chivenor. I recall the ULAS instructors: Wilson/Bell/Booth/Whitaker and in Dec '69 I was standardised by CFS instructor by the name of Burrows. Eventually my two years at ULAS was over and my next flying training was at Hamble in '72.

Then followed 30+ years with a Big Airline based to the West of London and in more recent years instructing for an Aircraft Manufacturer based in Toulouse. Somehow or other, I manage to scrape through my CAA medicals so I'm still doing the occasional simulator sessions as a TRI/TRE.

Yours from just East of Windsor Great Park
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Old 30th Mar 2018, 07:45
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John Eacott, yes my PPL is indeed annotated 'Private Pilot's Licence (Flying Machines) and the contents are secured with a natty little piece of blue BoT shoe lace...

Preppy, yes we probably did meet in the bar at 206! Sadly now been flogged off with THQ miles out of town at Northolt and FHQ even further at Wittering - or London (Stamford) as Mo'L might perhaps describe it?

50+Ray, glad to hear you proved the RAF nut-squeezers wrong!

After my PPL at Cranfield, I flew for the next 40 years, 35 for HM and the rest in the GA training world. It all became too expensive in 2008, so I let everything lapse and since then have concentrated on other aviation matters instead.
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Old 30th Mar 2018, 08:47
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July 1961 at Sywell in Auster J1/Ns with the grumpy Les Hilditch. Last year managed to contact everyone who had been on that course, one of whom was on the same Entry as me at Cranwell 63-65
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Old 30th Mar 2018, 08:49
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When the CAA's predecessor ( Board of Trade? ) decided to start its own Air Traffic Control cadet courses in the early 60s, the first part of the 3 year course included a PPL. The first 33 courses all the way through to the mid 70s had this 'privilege' and quite a few ATCOs went on to obtain CPLs and become airline pilots.

From the mid 70s the 'bean counters' took control and cadets were no longer trained on all three disciplines, ( Aerodrome, Approach and Area ). I know of several ATCOs at LHR with 20 plus years experience who have never done radar.

When No2 son became a cadet in '96 the flying was limited to 15 hours. Even that was cut out eventually.

When No1 son did his RAF Flying Scholarship in '86 I think it was for 35 hours and I paid for the extra 3 required to obtain the licence, which I don't think he has ever used!
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Old 30th Mar 2018, 10:35
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When No1 son did his RAF Flying Scholarship in '86 I think it was for 35 hours and I paid for the extra 3 required to obtain the licence, which I don't think he has ever used!
Mine was for 30 hours (5 more needed to a PPL/A ) which I never actually obtained due to a few setbacks (one of which was joining the RAF). I then went straight to a CPL/A 22 years later. Same with the PPL/H, never actually held one, went straight to an ATPL/HG. EASA took away the /G though, last time I renewed my licence.
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Old 30th Mar 2018, 10:41
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We were lucky to have great success in gaining Flying Scholarships at Reigate Grammar in the 60s/70s.

I did mine in 1971 at the Shoreham School of Flying.

Arrived Sunday evening in mid July for BBQ at the club.
Monday groundschool and trip 1 in late afternoon.
Tuesday a bit more groundschool and 2 trips.
Wednesday 4 trips and solo by that evening. Total 6:30 hrs dual.

Went on to fly all 30 hours plus 5 paid by myself in 26 days, what a great way to learn to fly.

How quickly could the RAF overcome it's pilot shortage with continuity like that? Yes, and I did go straight on to JPs 7 months later and my civilian flying stood me in good stead!

Last edited by Dominator2; 30th Mar 2018 at 11:23.
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Old 30th Mar 2018, 11:13
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: uk
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Did my CCF Special Flying Award ( non ATC Flying Scholarship) in August 1967 at Carlisle Flying Club after having completed RAF pre-selection at Biggin Hill. Sent solo in G-ATMN after 8:35 by Capt. Tod. Remember doing spinning on only my 4th. and 5th. flight! (youngsters these days etc.......)
This led to 120hrs. gained on Chipmunks at Edinburgh/East Lowlands UAS 1967-1969
Unfortunately the phasing out of Fleet Air Arm fixed wing flying led to a very depressed RAF outlook in 1970. Luckily the BEA/BOAC scheme was cranking up and took very many graduates on to OATS, myself included. Civil flying for various airlines ensued once I had quit the "shackles" of BA after 7 years! I always tell people that I got "time off for good behaviour"! Retired at 65 from a part-time flying job and continue to fly an RV6 on "blue sky days only".
Reflecting on the start and finish to my career - when I started the training was very similar to that received by the then senior pilots whereas now it seems to be very different in so many ways. The CTC cadets, many of whom I flew with, seem to have been kept on a very "short lease" during their training if you know what I mean. When you discuss 2-eng. out circuit work on B707s they look at you as if you were mad! It did build a confidence that I am sure no simulator ever can.

Last edited by Meikleour; 31st Mar 2018 at 10:04. Reason: addition
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