First Solo

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The best feeling in the world! absolutely loved it!

After one hour in the PA28 Warrior used as a familiarisation/general handling flight, half an hour spent in the circuit in 18 kt headwinds gusting 24kts and another hour in the circuit, lo and behold I was sent on my first solo!

I showed up to my lesson early, geared and ready to go. As my last flight didn’t go too well with the winds, I wanted to make sure I was in tip top condition. Didn’t get much sleep as my room is next to the living room and my housemates were in there till past midnight but with a little help from my friend Mr Red bull I was happy to continue.

WInd was reading 230 5kts: so far so good

Did my first circuit and landing. My instructor says “okay just wake me up when you’ve done a few more”.. good sign! Then he pulls out his camera and takes some photos of which I thought it was weird my instructor was using my flight to take selfies…greased the consequent next two circuits with stable approaches with a practiced engine failure after take off on the last circuit. We taxi back to school parking and my instrucotor requests a call sign change to Golf Romeo Yankee and sends me away to my student first solo. After all the drama I’ve had to deal with in the past two months (which I won’t dwell on with now), I was beyond excited!!

My instructor pops out after a quick brief  “remember don’t turn onto base until you are visual with traffic. go around if you’re not happy at any point” and almost stealing my checklist. I request taxi from tower and was asked to go behind the departing Cessna 182 with head of training sat in the right hand seat. No pressure. Shoot off to where I do power checks and noticed too late that I haven’t moved to the right of the taxiway far enough to let a private jet pass and haven’t got enough room to move up. So i turn my aircraft round 180 and face the complete wrong direction but I’ve given the jet enough room and sat there to wait for the other aircraft to finish off power checks.

The aircraft ahead departs and I tell tower I was ready to depart. Having been given clearance to take off, I reel off my runway checks. turn onto centerline, full power and away I went! As I was climbing I noticed a different smell and check all my gauges just incase. Everything looks just fine so I carried on. Spoke to traffic on downwind and they inform me of an aircraft ahead who is in the circuit which I have visual with. I was constantly looking around and completely amazed. I am flying an aircraft all by myself!! I start slowing down to 2000 rpm abeam the threshold, lowered my flaps a little early at late downwind to set myself up early and reduced power during my turn onto base to 1700 rpm.  I was spot on two red and two whites when I was close enough to the papis so I added a little power before my turn onto finals so I won’t descend past it knowing I will need that extra power for when I have full flaps. I hear on the frequency that my old instructor is doing power checks which effectively means he has front row tickets to my landing. I barely touched the control all the way down finals as the aircraft was so well trimmed.

Landing was a little hard in that the stall warning went off just before I hit the runway. But it was safe and dead on centreline! As I vacated the runway tower said well done and PIC of 20 mins was etched into my log book

All the confidence I lost along the way came rushing back and I feel ten times better than the previous day!!

Alot has happened since this blog has last been updated and I will endeavor to add more photos and be more up to date with this blog.

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Ground school done and dusted

far less daunting than I anticipated. Probably due to the fact it was a four day week (bank holiday monday) Spent a lot of time handling paperwork and getting introductions to subjects. Our ground instructors are great – they have this incredible ability to make hard subjects seem dead simple. Maybe because its an introduction but I’ve finished lessons feeling way more confident. Piston engines is a big worry to me as I have had very little exposure to engines. It’s been broken down into bite size at the moment and at a good pace so I’ve been picking it up well.

So far we’ve made a start on meteorology, piston engines, airframes, human performances, instrumententation and dc electrics. i found instruments to be the hardest to absorb and human performances to be the easiest, probably due to my sociology background. The whole true air temperature, static air pressure is doing my head in but I’m slowly but surely coming into terms with my pooley device. With airframes, I wish there was an airframe model you could buy like the human anatomy models. it sure would make learning about Struss, rivets and spars more interesting.

One piece of advise, do get some wheels sorted our for your flight bag. There are HEAVY. You carry four books a day in with you and it is well worth investing unless you want to end up all lopsided.

Note: this was written in September 2012 and it’s now end of may 2012 so it’s a little old.

How things have progressed!! I will endeavour to update this more often!

Catch 22

In a true “first world problem” fashion dilemmas, I feel myself torn between how to approach my month leading on to flight training.

With an intensive six months ground training coming ahead, I will get well acquainted with my highlighters, pens, graphs and desk lamp. To ease myself in, I could do some preliminary reading just to understand the basic principles of flight, learn a few procedures (ILS comes to mind) or do a few equations. However, the fun side of me keeps saying I should be enjoying my free time because realistically, how is a bit of side studying going to help? That’s what instructors and lessons are for. There’ll be so much revision involved that things I like doing in my spare time (I.e playing zelda) will simply have to wait.

Then there’s the ultimate dilemma: many fun things require money and I am desperately trying to save every last penny to fund my flight training.

As I continue my job as cabin crew, I am no longer doing just a nice nightstop or a 4 day Orlando. It’s now become my “last nice night stop”, I should buy some French wine. My “last 4 day Orlando” where I should go to universal.

“With an unsure future, who knows when I will be coming back?”, she says in her head.

Catch 22.

Counting down

This app is all new to me so it will take a while to adjust.

I’m going to start this blog off with: just paid my deposit to commence flight training after debating for at least three years whether I should go for it after landing my job as cabin crew nearly five years ago. I will never forget the first day I got on an aircraft as a crew member. It was for a supernumerary flight to Venice. I got on board and was immediately drawn to the flight deck. I was in awe of how many different buttons there was in there and intrigued as to how it all functioned. Now almost five years on, I am still intrigued, with the difference that now I am about to invest a lot of money to go find out.

I have had mixed feelings since paying my deposit. In fact, I have had mixed feelings for most things in life at the moment. I have self titled it my quarter life crisis. Unsettled at a settling age, wanting to push myself harder for a career that will test my limits and reward my capabilities.

Since these feelings, I have pushed my life into a new direction. I applied for cadetships with Asian carriers, went to oxford aviation academy for open day, attended an assessment for oxford, researched the financial side of reaching my goal, borrowed more money than I have ever seen in my life, cleared a class 1 medical with civIl aviation authority, and paid a deposit for a course commencing in August 2012. All in 9 months work, which to some seems a slow progress. However, for me, it has been a roller coaster of emotions.

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Now that I’ve reached so far, I want to just give it my best shot and know at the end of it that I’ve given it my all and go from there. Working for an airline has taught me one valuable lesson: being at the right place at the right time. You simply cannot predict the job outcomes at the other end.