Where did the time go?? Last blog I wrote was about training for this, and that feels like an age ago, although granted, December IS a while ago! What followed then was of course a 3 month lock down that meant no flying.
Once the restrictions were lifted enough for flying to start again in April my instructor’s diary was pretty empty as the restrictions still in place meant most of his students couldn’t come to the airfield due to the remaining travel restrictions, but as I live locally, that suited me fine and I booked as many lessons as I dared to (financially!) while also booking more than I could afford in the fairly certain knowledge as many as half of them would be cancelled due to weather.
So with the lessons happening fairly frequently thanks to a decent run of good weather, I very quickly found myself ready – in my instructor’s eyes – for my first solo flight! That’s a huge milestone and one that I was delighted to have reached.
Those first solo’s are flown as circuits. Take off, fly the circuit, approach, land. All done in just under 3 minutes. I did 3 circuits and that was enough as I’d already had a lesson immediately before this.
The next few lessons consisted mainly of solo flights in the circuit, and finally one where all I did was take off, climb to 1,500ft above the airfield, then off the throttle so the engine is just idling and not creating any thrust at all, and glide down to land. the ‘overhead engine failure’ lesson. Of course if I messed up, I could just boot the throttle, and do a go-around, which gives you a certain amount of confidence, and I flew 4 of them, and landed every one of them.
With that done I was free to leave the circuit and fly around the local area – solo. I still had all the navigation exercises, both dual and solo to do. It took another two months to get them all done, but eventually they were ticked off, the necessary hours all logged, and it came to the practice GST – I really enjoyed that, and my instructor declared me ready for the actual GST.
The day of the GST dawned, and amazingly I actually slept pretty well the night before. I called the examiner, agreed the weather wasn’t looking good for the appointed time, but that it was likely to improve a couple of hours later – which it did – and the test went ahead.
The actual test itself was really good fun – as I’ve been keeping very ‘current’ – i.e. flying a lot and emptying my bank account – all the manoeuvres I had to demonstrate were fresh in my head, and even ones I’d neglected to practice were absolutely fine.
And that was it! I passed!
There then ensued the hours of paperwork, all handled by Jill at the club, and the licence application was ready. I sent it on the Tuesday, and had the licence issued and delivered to me by the Saturday – impressive service from the BMAA.
And that’s me – a qualified NPPL(M) pilot – and entitled to take a passenger too!