Learning to fly, or thinking of learning? Post your questions, comments and experiences here

Moderator: AndyR

By Johnny.b
Hi everybody!
I am now 5 hours in to my training, with circuit work next on the agenda, and I can't help but think to myself "one day I'll be doing it solo!" and I can't help but get incredibly excited!

So I suppose I'm just curious to hear some of your 'firsts' experiences and any tips you may have to make the most out of mine! :D

First solo at night
First loop
First spin
First engine failure
First puking
First time lost

I want to hear them all!

Last edited by Johnny.b on Thu May 23, 2019 4:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By Wicksay
Hi John...

Definately don't ride a motorbike to the day of your solo.. Your helmet won't fit because your grin's so wide and trust me, pulling on the yoke/handle bars just isn't the same (unless you plan on letting go of the clutch quickly too)!!

Having just solo'd circuits.. I'm putting up with everyone asking me why I am so happy... All the time

Sent from my SNE-LX1 using Tapatalk
Johnny.b, t1m80 liked this
User avatar
By Wicksay
Oh... And when your about to turn downwind and base and you're looking for the field over your shoulder. Scan slowly and take a second to appreciate the view!!

Sent from my SNE-LX1 using Tapatalk
Johnny.b liked this
By MachFlyer
Hi John

good luck with it all. All I can tell you from my experience is that it went very quickly and apart from a flashing through my mind of "oooer I'm up here on my own now & it's coming back to earth one way or the other" it was great but over too soon. Be sure to get the obligatory pic with the aircraft reg in!!

I found my solo circuit work was were I could have a little more thinking & looking time to tell myself how lucky I am to be able to do this, I have now moved onto nav exercises and that small amount of thinking time has gone straight out of the window again with the higher workload but this time I know I will get it back with practice :D

Johnny.b liked this
User avatar
By FlightDek
Hawarden 12 Dec 2014. PA38 - G-BYMD

Because my instructor was still restricted I flew 3 circuits with another instructor in preparation. On all 3 I had to point the nose about 10deg to the right to compensate for the wind and maintain runway heading.

When the instructor got out I felt really alone :shock:

I went through the check lists twice to make sure. Then taxied off to runway 22. I got a shock when getting my clearance from the tower when the yoke suddenly started bouncing all over the place - had to get them to repeat the clearance. That should have been my first clue that something was up.

Once airborne things changed. The wind had picked up and I now had to swing the nose to the right about 20 degrees to compensate for the wind and once I got above the factory buildings to my right I could see the clouds heading towards me. First decision - b*ll*cks to the noise abatement, I'm getting back down as soon as I can. The climb rate caught me out. I hadn't appreciated there would be such a difference and before I knew it I was up at 1200ft :oops:

On downwind I kept looking at the weather approaching and I finally understood the saying "better on the ground wishing to be in the air, than in the air wishing to be on the ground."

Turned base and started to descend. There was no horizon ahead of me, just clouds, so I kept descending until I remembered the 500ft rule (at 450ft :D ) Still couldn't see the horizon ahead, just clouds. Turned base and was cleared to land with the wind 50deg off the nose at 16kt (outside the school's 10kt crosswind limit for a solo student but not much option now :roll: ). I remember the tower asking what my intentions were. My reply wasn't exactly CAP 413: "I'll give it a go but expect a go around".

In the end the landing wasn't actually that bad (due to all the crosswind practice you get at Hawarden :lol: )

Taxied back in and the wind had dropped again. Sod's Law

Both my instructors saw the whole thing and told me afterwards that they spotted the wind picking up, decided to call me back. However as they were calling the tower they saw me get airborne.

Looking back on it the clouds were never that close to the airport - probably at least 2-3 miles away and no real issue. However, without the experience to know this it seemed a problem at the time.

Johnny.b, Rob P liked this
By Flyingkeyboard
My first solo was actually my second time in control of the aircraft without an instructor...

On what was meant to be my first solo, I started the aircraft and began to taxi to the apron to carry out the necessary checks. Halfway down the taxiway, I noticed the windsock turn 180 degrees and an aircraft on final have what seemed the longest flare and hold off ever. The tower radioed all stations to notify them of a runway change to 08 and aware I was a first solo student, asked me what I wanted to do. Having just completed a few circuits with my instructor on runway 26, and with a now overly busy circuit and tower, I thought better of it and taxied back to the club. My instructor actually praised me for not 'cracking on anyway' which backed up my decision. That said, I was gutted at the time as there had been so much build up to the day in my mind (and I was also looking forward to telling everybody that I could fly an aircraft on my own!).

A week later I soloed and the landing was awesome.

At the time I found that circuit work was difficult, with a lot to get your heard around (sensory overload?). Now I'm on navigation (with a couple of solos under my belt), I am a lot more comfortable in the circuit and with overhead joins. This coming weekend Im due to complete my first solo landaway. I'm absolutely loving it!
Johnny.b liked this
By Flyingkeyboard
In terms of tips, don't worry if it doesn't come straight away. I've read that being in the circuit can be one of the most stressful elements of the PPL syllabus, with a lot to do and learn. You may have the odd day where it doesn't 'click' but it will definitely come. Good luck and keep us updated!
Johnny.b liked this
User avatar
By WelshRichy
My instructor (and examiner) was away doing his ATPL exams (old CAA days) and I was flying with a relatively new restricted instructor who incidentally worked for the same company as myself (and still does).

Anyway, I was having trouble with the last 10 feet or so. The instructor saw this and took control, flew the entire length of our 2,500 metre runway in flare attitude so that I could see the picture for longer.

Que back in the club house an hour later and the CFI and my Instructor asked if I could fly again but with the CFI. Yup not a problem...

The CFI was new to the school but put me to ease so quickly. Two trips around the circuit and he lept out and sent me on my way! Still remember the day like it was yesterday although it was 28/3/98!

What a lovely afternoon it was, calm winds, sun blazing, perfect! The smile was beaming throughout the following week!

Of course no mobiles back then and when I tried to call home from the ops desk to tell my parents no one was in the house!
Johnny.b liked this
By Johnny.b

So what problems were you having with the last 10"?

Too much flare?

Too little?

Too early?

lets hope the great British weather doesn't let me down!
User avatar
By WelshRichy
Johnny.b wrote:@WelshRichy
So what problems were you having with the last 10"?
Too much flare?
Too little?
Too early?
lets hope the great British weather doesn't let me down!

It was twenty one years ago but still remember pretty well that I was just not consistent with flaring nor the crab and kick straight method of crosswind landings (we had only one runway albeit a pretty long one). My instructor wasn't a fan of the low wing method in our low wing aeroplane (Tomahawk). I was probably looking towards the middle distance on the runway instead of an object in the distance to keep myself straight and to use my peripheral vision to judge to height above the runway. It will just click, some people seem to find it naturally, others a little more work but it does click eventually and its such an awesome experience once it does.

Once the first solo was done I then had nerves of leaving the circuit on my own, not for the flying aspect but more to do with apprehension of the radio work (full Tower/Radar service). People probably wouldn't believe me when I say that as you can't shut up nowadays and since the initial stages of learning to flyI have really enjoyed the radio work!
User avatar
By Flyin'Dutch'
Pah, 20 years ago - Mine was >40!

I know and I still look amazingly young!

@Johnny.b It will come when you are good and ready. You'll never forget it. Enjoy the journey.
WelshRichy liked this
By t1m80
I did three pretty awful landings with my instructor. He got out. I said "what you trust me to go solo after that ?". "What, you think I'm staying in here ?" came the reply. :shock:

Plane took off like a scalded cat, and it was a warm windless day and I couldn't get the damn thing out of the sky. So around I went. Then someone called short final while I was on base (first call I heard them make), I couldn't see them, so round I went again. Got it down 3 try (was a good landing too!) but boy was I sweating.

For me, my first cross country solo a couple of weeks ago was the best feeling - much more enjoyable than my first solo. You wait 'til that one hits :-)

Good Luck!
Flyin'Dutch', Johnny.b liked this