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Damon's First Solo Flight

Monday, 19 September, 2016

Congratulations to Damon, here's his account of getting to go solo...
In my youth I managed to spend four years in the Air Cadets without setting foot in a glider but I did get enough time in trusty bulldogs to get a taste for flying.  I absolutely loved it but flying is prohibitively expensive, isn’t it?  Well, contrast to a well known Belgian Beer, it can be reassuringly affordable.
After putting up with me gazing longingly at any passing aircraft, my wife bought me a Trial Flight for my birthday.  Colin Beer, one of the club’s many BGA instructors, failed to put me off and I was hooked.  Weekends can be difficult with young kids, so I embarked on a four day-courses.  Unfortunately, some dreadful weather in winter 2015/16, halted my progress but I started again with renewed vigour in 2016.  After a couple of good days flying, I booked five consecutive day-courses in June.  On the last day, Peter Carpenter casually stood beside me as I waited for a winch cable and told me that I may want to trim the glider further forward with no one in the 65th flight would be as P1!  I managed eight solo flights on that first day and I still grin when I think about it!
Highlights of my trained were 1 hr 11 min from a winch launch with Ian Russell ( I thought I’d got the knack of thermalling until I tried to descend and realised that the whole sky was going up - It was pretty hard work to get down!), some very (!!) exciting launch failures with Peter Carpenter, 35 min in lee wave at 1200 feet off the ridge with Colin Beer and spinning the Puchacz with Martin Cooper.
I can’t praise the club instructors enough - I’ve flown with seven and learned different things from each.  Particular thanks to Peter Carpenter who put up with more of my ropey landings than anyone really deserves.
Next: Bronze Badge and Cross-Country.  Still grinning...

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