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Thread: first Solo...

  1. #1
    Wannabe Pilot Bronco's Avatar
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    first Solo...

    It seems like an age since I moved to circuit training, the covid enforced hiatus didn't help of course.

    I've counted back and I was 12 hours in circuit training, far longer than I expected at the start. We all read the Microlight regulations at the start of our journey and think that 28 flying hours later we'll be qualified....

    Circuits were going well pre lock down, the only inconstancy left was my round-out, usually too high, the aircraft was running out of energy too far above the runway, some bumpy landings as a result. I seem to remember feeling I was close to cracking it. Then the announcement came that the airfield was to cease operations until further notice, I was flying that day and I was the last person to land before the airfield closed. In the weeks and months that followed I did on occasion wonder if I'd reached the extent of my ability, maybe I should just throw in the towel...

    Then came the news that we were back in business. I was nervous. It had been a long while since I flew, would I still enjoy it, would I be able to crack a consistent level of landing. time to find out.

    My heart was beating as I lined up for the first time, then full throttle, nose wheel up, check for 50 and into the climb. It was wonderful, I'd forgotten the exhilaration that comes with flying and I was right back in the groove. A lesson of circuits to refresh my knowledge and I felt I'd made up any ground lost during lockdown.

    It was here that, inexplicably, it all clicked. I was landing them all. I don't know what changed in my brain but I understood the picture as never before, my arems and legs were working together and I could feel real progress.

    With a renewed sense of purpose i crammed in as many lessons as I could, we practiced circuits, fan stop procedures both in circuit and on take off. It was great fun.

    Then, next lesson, we did a couple of circuits and Mike, my instructor, said "do you want to do some on your own". I cannot tell you how this made me feel. I've watched Youtubes from Ben Atkinson

    and Flying with Matt

    where they'd been told by their instructor it was time to go solo, i'd often wondered if I'd ever get there.

    I was there, the words had been spoken, it was my time. We taxied back to the run up area, Mike got out, and I was on my own. Suddenly the aircraft seemed huge, lots of space and great viability. I ran through my checks, taxied to the hold point, made a mess of my call and lined up. This was it. full throttle and away we went. The curcuit felt familiar, my instructors words echoed around my head, I made my downwind call, did my in circuit checks, tirned base all without drama. My heart was beating as I turned final, "student pilot Golf Zulu Delta final for runway 24 for a full stop" Student pilot? yes that was me. I managed to put her down with the best landing of the day and that was it, solo. I had flown SOLO.

    I still had an hours lesson left, so I went Exercise 17B - Solo Circuits. 19 of them to be precise.

    To anyone reading this who is seemingly "stuck in circuits" don't lose heart, it really does come together and without much warning. The sense of pure elation when it does is beyond compare. It took days to come down from that high of emotion, truth be told its still there. My instructor describes being able to fly as a privilege, I know where he's coming from, I can feel that now.

    As we get older its harder to learn. I've found that myself. With patient instruction and a bit of determination we can accomplish things we felt were beyond us. That's what flying has given me.

    The journey continues.....

  2. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Bronco For This Useful Post:

    Aerial (28-07-20), Peter Twissell (28-07-20)

  3. #2
    Co-Pilot Peter Twissell's Avatar
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    There really are very few experiences to compare with your first flight totally under your control.
    I remember my first solo - taking off and then thinking "I have no option but to complete the circuit and land." A scary thought for a moment - quickly overshadowed by the realisation that I was actually perfectly capable of flying an aircraft entirely on my own.
    G-BZNP Still not dead, but resting following engine failure.

  4. The Following User Says Thank You to Peter Twissell For This Useful Post:

    Bronco (28-07-20)

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