Sunday, January 14, 2007

First Glider Solo Flight

For the past 7 months I have been flying at the Auckland Aviation Sports Club which flies out of Whenuapai (Pronounced Fen-ew-uh-pie). Today I took my first solo flight which is a major achievement in my gliding career. Prior to 7 months ago I had no real concept of how to fly an airplane.

Today the instructor took me up for a check flight to make sure that I was ready to go up on my own. He didn't say a word on the flight which was a little strange. Usually the instructor is back there chatting away about one thing or another and I am constantly vocalizing my intentions of what I am doing. On this flight I was talking but getting no responses which was an odd feeling. I had to do everything right on my own without the typical confirmations.

I came in for a perfect textbook landing and we hopped out of the plane and he said that it was time to go solo. I strapped in and did all my pre-takeoff checks talking to myself. The takeoff went great and I released at 2000 feet. I flew around looking for some lift and found enough to keep me at 1700 feet for a few minutes but not enough to keep me up for an hour long first solo flight. I came in for the landing and stuck another perfect landing to much amazement of the people on the ground.

After that flight I couldn't stop smiling for an hour. What a great feeling to be completely in control of something so amazing and to see the months of work paying off.

The club is completely volunteer and people seem genuinely happy to be out there helping out. The aviation sector has a lot of die hard members, of which I am officially one now.

For any glider pilots out there, my first solo was in our Grob 103 Twin Astir since our Blanik is out of commission.


Dan said...

congrats! a few months ago I went up in a Cessna 152 (2 seater) with a young grad student I met at PSU, we were trying to aquire our own aerial photography for class, we flew out of Kelso, WA, she would role the plane on it's side while I snapped photos out the window, didn't turn out all that great but was an awesome time! be safe.

King Nerd said...

It was basically 7 months of safety training so that I wouldn't crash their planes. They are actually more interested in having their students come home in one piece but they also don't want to have to deal with the insurance paperwork.

Since I went solo the tow plane has been out of commission so I haven't been able to fly. Arg!!!

silkred said...

HI there - found your blog while looking for comments on the quality of gliding in NZ - my gut feeling is that its a good place to go gliding but I wanted to find out from someone who is there - my wife and I are thinking of moving and I have a secret wish to spend the rest of my life gliding - I used to skydive loads but preferred the canopy ride to the freefall part - much more meditative - so would you agree, is NZ a top gliding location - could I spend the rest of my life in the clouds..?

King Nerd said...

New Zealand supposedly has some of the best gliding in the world down in the South Island. There are huge mountains and tons of wind which equal amazing gliding.

The people here are also exceptionally nice and make the learning process really fun. And the views are amazing.

Email me back if you want to chat about the details of gliding in NZ.

Roberta Robles said...

We met a number of pilots in Omarama who are making clouds their lives and enjoying every minute of it (except for the rainy times). It's a very safe institution of gliding clubs and commercial operations. I've even taken a few lessons but I'm on the slow track....