[OZAPRS] First Solo

John Williams - VK5ZY vk5zty at bigpond.com
Sat Mar 31 22:44:33 EST 2012

Congrats Darryl

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.
> 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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