[OZAPRS] First Solo

Geoff Gatward geoff-lists at gatwards.org
Sun Mar 25 23:28:49 EST 2012

Most of the Navs here are quite short - YSTT, YYND, Maryvale Station being
the common destinations, although I believe quite a few property owners in
the area have given permission for their strips to be used occasionally.....
I think I'm off to Maryvale via YSTT in a fortnight....


On Sun, Mar 25, 2012 at 6:05 PM, Darryl Smith <darryl at radio-active.net.au>wrote:

>  Hi Geoff
>  I just decided to flight plan a flight to see where you could go on a
> nav up there. Ybas to ytpe to yaye to kkcs to yhaa to ybas. According to my
> calcs this would be 181 minutes depending on what you do at ayers rock.
> 100l Avgas. Sounds like a fun little nav flight.
>  I believe that for me nav will be easy. I have been on more nav flights
> as an unofficial co pilot in flights to Coober pedy, Perth, Melbourne,
> Brisbane, etc. I actually flew half the way from ypkg to YSBK. I have also
> done victor one in Sydney and some other navs... Unfortunately this is all
> without logbook time. Richard has promised to take me on the ppl test route
> the week before to make sure I pass. Helps when you only need to pay the
> cost of fuel, and not even normally then :)
>  I am fairly close to GFPT standard I think. The unofficial flying has
> helped there. The rv I copilot is  interesting to fly compared to the 152.
> The rv is far more powerful and sensitive.
>  Anyway, good luck with the ppl.
>  Darryl
> On 25/03/2012, at 6:16 PM, "Geoff Gatward" <geoff-lists at gatwards.org>
> wrote:
>   Congratulations Darryl!
>  It's a great feeling to get that first solo under your belt :-)
> Next stop GFPT and buld up some hours - you need to get to GFPT standard
> regardless - I've been there for some time, just getting back into things
> here in the Alice after a 6-7 year hiatus when kids came onto the scene.
>  Did my training out at Camden where things were considerably quieter than
> Bankstown - 152's SOX and UNO, then moving onto Warrior UNL once I had the
> GFPT under my belt.
>  Starting my Navs now in 172 RBF (or JDH if it's about) - I have been
> dorking around with taking the GPS up with me, and have started building up
> some interesting 3D routes in Google Earth with the resulting plots.
>  If anyone's interested in listening to airband comms, I also provide a
> feed into LiveATC.net from here - the local ATC sector is linked to a
> massive portion of the Melbourne airspace....
> http://d.liveatc.net/ybas  for those that are interested.
>  Cheers,
> Geoff VK8GG / VK2XJG
> On Sun, Mar 25, 2012 at 2:58 PM, Darryl Smith <darryl at radio-active.net.au>wrote:
>>      Greetings to All… I hope you will forgive my off topic message. It
>> is slightly APRS related, but only slightly. I tried to do a GPS log but
>> the App did not work. I really should have loaded the APRS app for my
>> iPhone.
>>  Well, Tuesday, I managed to do something that I was never in my life
>> expecting to ever do - I took myself flying. I don't mean that I took a
>> trip on a commercial airliner. I have been taking them since just after I
>> was born. And I don't mean that I took a joy flight either. I am talking
>> about a flying the plane myself without anyone else in the plane - my first
>> solo.
>>  And not only did I do my first solo, I did it at Bankstown, one of the
>> busiest airports in the world. It used to be #26 in terms of aircraft
>> movements, although it might have slipped recently.
>>  I arrived at the airport about an hour early, having had an early
>> lunch. At about 12:15, my instructor sent me out to pre-flight the plane.
>> For once, I did not need fuel but I did need to add some oil as the level
>> was at minimum. Adding the required oil was easy thanks to the provided
>> paper funnel. We then took taxied the plane out to runway 11R for circuits.
>> Unusually, 11 Centre was being used because 11L was being used for filming.
>> This meant that I needed to be a bit more careful with my turns from base
>> onto final than normal.
>>  My first circuit was a bit rusty, but after that they got better. My
>> flapless approach was quite good, as was the following approach. To be
>> honest I thought I had stuffed it up but managed to touch down gently
>> exactly where I wanted to. After about five circuits in total, the
>> instructor got on the radio and let the tower know that we would be making
>> a full stop, after which we taxied to an area where instructors wait for
>> their students. I then got a briefing, basically saying that my landings
>> were quite good, do one circuit, but go around if needed. Do as many go
>> arounds as you need to until you are happy. If you have any issues with
>> radio calls, ask, and ask more than once if needed. Also, listen for
>> unrequested radio calls (we twice got asked to turn crosswind early during
>> practice). Once I was done with the circuit, request taxi to pick up the
>> the instructor up and go from there. And she got out of the plane.
>>  Was I nervous. Yes. How could I not be. I was in charge of flying
>> myself. As soon as she got out I checked the name of the holding point, and
>> made the radio call 'Cessna 152 UAK at holding point Yankee for first solo'
>> to which the tower responded 'Cleared for Takeoff, UAK'. I then taxied onto
>> the runway and lined up. I turned the landing light on and opened the
>> throttle nervously but firmly, accelerating to about 55 knots. I then
>> pulled the stick back and started flying. Once I got to about 200' I was no
>> longer nervous, more interested in flying the plane than being concerned
>> about things.
>>  There was no one in front of me which was great, so at 500' I turned
>> right and continued ascending. I did notice I got to the downwind turning
>> point I was probably 100' higher than normal and needed to level off and
>> turn at the same time. No problem here.
>>  Then came the BUMFISH checks on downwind (Check Brakes, Undercarriage
>> Down, Mixture Rich, Fuel On, Contents sufficient, Instruments OK, Switches
>> On and harness secure.), but I noticed I needed to go through them more
>> quickly than normal. Then a quick call to tower 'UAK downwind for full
>> stop'. Tower responded with 'Downwind for full stop. Traffic is a warrior
>> on late final (Runway Centre?). You are number 1, UAK', to which I
>> responded 'Looking for traffic, number 1 for runway right UAK'.
>>  By then it was time to set up for turning base, so I quickly put the
>> carb heat on and pulled back the power and kept the nose up until I slowed
>> down and could add some flap and turned right onto base and started heading
>> for the beach on the river. In the middle of this turn I was cleared for a
>> full stop. Down about 500' I turned to final and adjusted the power to keep
>> my height good. I was slightly low and I had turned slightly right – I will
>> fix that on my next flight. I think I was using slightly not enough power
>> on base and also turning so I kept away from the path to the centre runway.
>>  I came in straight towards the runway, and was concerned that I was
>> going to touch down before the piano keys. Thankfully I landed just after
>> them. Not sure how far after, but it was fairly close. The landing was not
>> the gentlest I have ever done but it was fairly good. For a first solo it
>> was certainly good enough. I was happy.
>>  I then taxied to the side taxiway and headed back to pick up the
>> instructor after making a radio call. When she got back in the plane and
>> congratulated me, we headed back and I made another radio call and got
>> congratulations from the tower too. I was really happy, as you can see from
>> the photo above.
>>  It has taken about 27 logbook hours to get to this point in my
>> training. It should have taken 22 hours, but issues with my CASA medical
>> caused some delays where I just kept flying doing more lessons. If my
>> medical had come through, I could have done my first solo around February
>> 19th. A bit over 15 hours of this has been doing circuits. This was more
>> than I was hoping to do, but I was having issues in getting my landings to
>> a standard that I was happy with. Eventually it twigged to me that my
>> biggest problem was that I was not able to explain to others how I was
>> intending to land the plane, and was therefore unable to land it properly.
>> What had happened was that circuits were explained to me before the first
>> lesson of circuits, and in future lessons we both assumed that I absorbed
>> 100% of what had been explained. What really happened was that I had
>> absorbed a lot, but thanks to lack of reference, some things had not really
>> sunk in.
>>  Once I realised this, I had another briefing from my instructor on the
>> correct landing procedure, and this made a significant improvement. This
>> included things like adding power when landing, regardless of the sink over
>> the field on late final. This allowed me to quickly improve my landings. If
>> I am honest, I don't know that I would want to have moved on from circuits
>> any earlier as the time I spent doing circuits allowed me to improve my
>> situational awareness and circuit procedures.
>>  I decided to get my pilots license in October 2011 when Richard and I
>> arrived in Langley Park in Perth in a plane that we had built in a garage.
>> After that amazing experience, I could not hold off any longer.
>>  After some mucking around I did my first flight, a TIF in a Piper
>> Warrior on November 28, 2011. Since then, I have been flying Cessna 152's,
>> generally either VH-JNB or VH-UAK. Both these are basic aircraft with
>> little in the way of modern electronic avionics, which is why I chose to
>> fly them. Having spent so much time in more advanced aircraft, I wanted to
>> go back to basics.
>>  Right now I would like to thank all those who have been mentors in my
>> flying experience. My best friend Richard Talbot has been extraordinarily
>> helpful providing advice and support. Not surprising really, since he is
>> probably the most to blame for me going for my pilots license after all
>> these years. I would also like to thank pilots John, Kevin and Ian for
>> their advice, particularly as I was struggling with circuits.
>>  I would also like to thank my instructor, Olivia H. for putting up with
>> my amateur flying and fitting in with my varying work schedules.
>>  Since last Tuesday I have done another two solo flights, each at about
>> 30-40 minutes long. These are great for building up my confidence and
>> abilities.
>>  From here, my next stepping stone is (possibly) a GFPT (General Flight
>> Proficiency Test) then definitely by a PPL (Private Pilots License). Then
>> given some experience a Command Instrument Rating is definitely on the
>> cards. The CPL (Commercial Pilots License) might follow, but I have not
>> decided on that one yet. The GFPT only gives me some limited ability to
>> take passengers, which depending on how long it takes to get a full PPL
>> might not be worth it. Of course I will need to save up a bit to do all
>> this training, as well as buy that new iPad which is definitely needed.
>>  I am looking forward to a solo flight down Victor One when I get my
>> PPL. This is a trip where you take off from Bankstown, head to the northern
>> beaches, head south to Sydney Harbour, do a couple of loops near the opera
>> house, head back out the heads and then south at 500' over the ocean before
>> almost hitting Wollongong and returning to Bankstown. I think this will be
>> a rite of passage for me!
>>  Darryl
>>  ---------
>> Darryl Smith, VK2TDS POBox 169 Ingleburn NSW 2565 Australia
>> Mobile Number 0412 929 634 [+61 4 12 929 634 Int] - 02 9618 6459
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