[OZAPRS] First Solo
John Williams - VK5ZY
vk5zty at bigpond.com
Sat Mar 31 22:44:33 EST 2012
I know that feeling well even if it was 20 years ago.
It is something you never forget.
On 25 Mar 2012 at 8:35, Darryl Smith 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.
> 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.
> 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
> 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
> 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 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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