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Ian Sullivan goes solo

Saturday, 24 October, 2015

Nine weeks after his first flight, Ian achieves his first solo. These are his reflections on his gliding experiences to date:

"After trial flights at Booker with a friend and then later at Talgarth whilst on holiday, I knew I wanted to glide.

That was eighteen years ago.

After buying a house in Charing village and watching gliders overhead for eight years, my partner finally got bored of hearing me talk about wishing I could do it and bought me a one day course on 3rd August this year. She hasn't seen much of me since, possibly part of her plan!

I was instantly hooked and in the following weeks I flew both days most weekends, managed to get a couple of one day courses in and also got to fly on all of the (three!) flyable days of task week, even managing to come first out of the two seaters. Those present after my landing just outside the clubhouse on the Sunday can testify that I was more than a little happy and showed my competitive streak.

My training was great fun (mixed with great frustration), and some of my favourite memories were spinning in the Puchaz and a few interesting simulated cable breaks with Tudor, one notable one where the canopy misted so much that Tudor had to take over, with another instructor remarking in the bar that the landing was "rather sporty" ...

Nine weeks after my first day of training and 64 flights later, Tudor closed the rear canopy of my favourite K-21, KCT, and stood next to me grinning and telling me that the glider would handle a little better in this flight now that the ballast had been removed from the back seat.

It dawned on me that he meant himself. My face must have been a picture!

I would like to say that I was calm and professional on my first circuit, but instead I laughed out loud all the way round, having absolutely the time of my life.

Put simply, this was one of the best moments of my life so far.

Now, with the end of the beginning that is achieving solo flight, I'm focussed on achieving Bronze and my Cross Country Endorsement and I hope to get this dealt with over the winter so I can play in the new season."

Ian Sullivan following his 1st solo

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