As well as Cpl Luke Thompson, Sgt Alex Dutch has also just gone solo, and achieved her Flying Scholarship. Unlike Luke, Alex’s course was on a powered aircraft, on a course organised by London Wing. Her report is below:
“I arrived at RAF Halton on Sunday, and was sharing accommodation with a group of cadets from Manchester who were on Annual Camp. After having arrived at the hanger the next day, I was introduced to the aircraft I would be flying for the rest of the week – the Cessna 152. The first few hours took me through the checks that need to be carried out on an aircraft before each flight. Then my instructor took me up for my first lesson in the air! As I’d already completed a gliding scholarship, I knew how most of the controls worked so fairly quickly got to know the aircraft and the correct procedures to undertake whilst flying. Before we left on our first day, we were given a massive book to read to help us with our Air Law exam which we would have to take if we wanted to fly solo!
Most of the week followed the same pattern, and by Friday I was confidently flying circuits with my instructor hoping to go solo within the next few days. As there was no flying on the weekend, we came home for 2 days. Whilst I was back home I was even lucky enough to fire the new L98A2 rifle with the Squadron!I came back on Monday morning ready for another week of flying. I had already used 7hours from my 12 hour scholarship, so had another 5 to go. My first flight on Monday was a bit shaky, but I quickly got used to the controls again. All I was practicing now was circuits, with the hope of going solo the next day. I was on my second flight of the day, practicing circuits and was doing my checks at the end of the runway when suddenly my instructor opened the door, got out and said I was going solo! I was totally surprised, but carried on doing my checks and lined up on the runway. I took off and the rest of the flight went smoothly (even the landing, which I still didn’t think I’d mastered)!
As I’d only used just over 9 out of my 12 hours, my instructor suggested we did a long flight the next day past London and then down along the coast to the Isle of Wight. I was really looking forward to it, and the good weather made the visibility excellent. It was a really good experience, and was strange to fly past RAF Benson where we do our AEF flights form a different perspective!!This is definitely the best course I’ve done with the ATC, and would definitely recommend it to everyone!”