I am elated to be writing this blog post. It feels like it has been a long time coming as we have been out in the United Arab Emirates completing our flight training for 12 weeks now; but with just 11.7 hours under my belt I have gone solo!
Al Ain International Airport, 04/01/2019, A6-FTK
Listen to my solo congratulations from ATC here: https://1drv.ms/u/s!AtqoIx8qKf40iSuwyb2Tuz7RtxgA!
Having been cancelled the day before due to solo crosswind limitations being exceeded, I completed my first solo check on 04/01/2019 followed by my first solo circuit which lasted all of 24 minutes! I felt this week was the perfect time for me to go solo, I had flown every day leading up to it and felt very confident in previous lessons.
My first lessons of circuits were certainly challenging. I found there was so much to do in such a small space of time: flows, checklists, radio communications…breathing! However I would certainly say my confidence and ability grew throughout each of my circuit lessons. The instructor introduced and practised flapless and glide approaches as well as aborted take offs and engine failures after take off – known as EFATO! Although these are all situations I wish to never be in during my career, its so important to know how to deal with these situations if they do arise. After becoming more confident in my circuits and approaches I began to enjoy them more and couldn’t wait to go solo.
On the day of my solo it was still touch and go whether or not I would be allowed to fly due to winds again. However when the METAR came out at 0700, my instructor had no hesitations to at least give it a try. After completing my solo check, consisting of 3 circuits, I dropped my instructor off and was given the all clear to head back into the air, but this time alone. The time flew by and before I knew it I was back on the ground, completely overwhelmed by the whole experience. This certainly feels like one of my biggest achievements so far on my journey to the flight deck.
The solo wouldn’t be complete without the traditional “solo dunking”, which as I’m sure you can imagine is quite welcome out in the desert heat. My instructors didn’t hold back on grabbing the hoses. I was very pleased to be able to share my dunking with 2 fellow cadets, Calvin and Darryl who also went solo just an hour after me. It certainly feels like we are moving in the right direction to getting our CPL!
I sit here writing this with another solo lesson planned for tomorrow, hoping that I can manage to get another hour alone in the skies if the weather allows me!
Thanks for reading.