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Barry Goes Solo

Tuesday, 11 October, 2016

So it is done! It took a while and it was a bit of a journey. It feels like I’ve climbed a mountain but in gliding terms I guess I’ve only reached base camp.


How did I get here, well when I was 15 I came up with a junior friend of mine promising a flight in a glider, as is now and as was then it was too busy to take a flight, but in those days the club had a twin seater tug plane so I was ferried up in the tug which was great fun, will always remember that flight, not sure if the pilot had a large work load but we spiral dived back down to the air field but it was great fun.


That memory stayed with me so when two years ago my work circumstances changed (I had a printing company in Folkestone with large printing presses, but work slowed up so I sold the equipment and kept the customers who I still look after with my print management company). So I had time on my hands and wanted a new challenge so thought about the gliding club.


I joined first as a social member with one flight a month, but that soon became not enough so became a full member soon afterwards. So my training began. First Brian Tansley took me flying for a few taster flights, I started attending mainly on wednesday were David Crimmins took up the baton, David oversaw the first landing which must be very nerve wrecking for an instructor, but we both survived. I got to a really good point in September last year and had booked a course with Peter Carpenter but that week he had his motor bike accident and the season soon ended with bad weather ect.


I came back in April extremely rusty, (a lesson there to try and fly at least once a month if possible in the winter) so it took a few months to get back up to speed, by this time Ian Russell was getting me through the mid section of the progress book, I started coming on Saturdays too as I was keen to get the job done this season, so I probably flew with most instructors in the club at some time for which I am very great full.


The end of the season was nearing and I still had a way to go so to finish the job I thought it would be best to book five days with Peter Carpenter and this did the job praise the Lord! It was a Wednesday and getting to late afternoon, we had been doing launch failures all day and my brain was starting to get frazzled, I started to think maybe it was not going to happen, but then some thing strange happened, I completed my pre flight checks I asked for cable on and noticed that Peter was outside holding the wing, apparently my face was a real picture. I thought to myself well this must be it. Think launch failure! Off I went and had two lovely relaxed solo flights.


Once again a big thank-you to all the instructors that helped to get me airborne, and to all the club members that have been so encouraging along the way. Even as I was walking back from my penultimate flight before Solo young George imparted a useful tip - 55 is staying alive. Great advice!


Kent gliding club - another solo pilot
Barry following first solo flight

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