Antony's first solo Landing

Proud father thing. Antony is my younger son and he completed his first solo flight at 16 years old last year.

Hi Stuart. He's supposed to be passing his PPL this summer, we hope. He's done the theory now he just has to get through the flights. I know he would love to meet other English pilots though. Maybe we will get up there this summer. He's in UNI at Toulouse at the moment.

Andrew, you never cease to amaze me.

Well done - know the feeling but only ever went solo in a glider but the silence is great. Otherwise I can't compete with the rest of you - I did some basic flying training with the royal navy. I was an officer training to be a pilot, got through the first course on chipmunks but just couldn't sort my too sensitive inner ears out later on and left having spent most of my time doing practicing barrel rolls, loops, staling and dropping out of the sky spinning upside down so you learn how to recover from pretty much anything...! They finally offered me a "straight and level only" course and three weeks on the raf's spin table, anyone actually done it, I said thanks but no thanks and went air traffic for a while before rejoining civy street

Just to let you know there is now an English flight school based at Limoges airport once again, cosmo flight school which I am running, we are teaching the UK PPL for the private pilot license. Flying in the area is amazing I have been introduced to the Atlantic coast near La Rochelle and can't quite believe my eyes......

Great achievement there. I wish that I had started flying as such an early age, but I was too bust working on aircraft at the time. I know what Antony was feeling after his first solo, as I have been in that situation. When you exit the aircraft you feel 10 foot tall and think that everyone is looking at you!
It happened for me a number of times, first microlight solo, first group A aircraft solo, first solo cross country, etc.

Catharine, it’s a book that can be ordered from any online book seller but let me warn you, it’s 700+ pages long and deals with all kinds of issues related to the air war in the Pacific. He wrote other books on the land war and the naval war in the Pacific but he doesn’t write the standard chronological battle by battle book. He discusses strategies, tacticts, environment and its affects on the two sides like the tropical heat, diseases, etc. I have over 600 books on war from the Romans to the latest wars like the Iraq war. I’ve willed my library to my grandson who wants to be an Army officer, God forbid, but that’s what he want to do. Of course, he’s 16 so a lot of things can change his mind in the meantime.

That sounds really interesting James. Is there a link?

I’m just reading a book entitled “Fire in the Sky” written by Professor Eric Bergerud, a WWII military historian. In the book Dr. Bergerud describes the various characteristics of the Japanese and Allied fighters and bombers to show why the Japanese lost due to poor technology of their planes. They built their planes very light for low fuel consumption and long distance flights but they were thus also very vunerable to damage during battle. Their fuel tanks, airframes and their pilots were not protected and therefore easily destroyed.

Incidentally, the Air Force is about to award a contract for the replacement of the KC-135 tankers I used to fly on. It’s incredible they are still flying since they were built in the 1950’s. I suppose if you keep changing the parts, you can keep anything mechanical going. I always wondered how they changed the airframe itself. We surely got our tax dollars worth from this plane. Some B-52’s are still flying as well.

Stuart, great idea. I’d love to hear Anthony’s impressions of his flights. I have a grandson just turning 16 this month but he is not interest in flying but wants to go to West Point to become an Army Officer. I tried to convince him that the Air Force Academy and the Air Force were far more interesting but I couldn’t change his mind.

Sorry James missed your question yesterday. Can’t answer right now but I’ll get Antony to make some comments.

This one of those live and learn stories. The Merced airport where the Air Force Aero Club had it’s planes was SW of the base. We were always cautioned not to go near the glide path for the Air Force base for obvious reasons. However, one day I was so engrossed in practicing getting out of stalls and spins that I hadn’t noticed where I was when suddenly a Air Force tanker (Boeing 707) flew right over be missing me but about 200 ft. They must not have seen me either because they would have taken evasive action to avoid a crash. The shockwave from the tanker drove my little Cessna 150 down a couple hundred feet. I immediately landed and inquired in the club office if anyone had called from the base. They hadn’t but I lived in fear for several days wondering if they had reported my wing number but apparently they didn’t because I never heard anything about this near collision and I learned a serious lesson.

How is Anthony doing now? How many landings has he made? They get easier and easier or shall we say one gains more confidence and control of the plane with each added landing.

Oh Boy that video was brilliant. My husband Jim was very fond of jumping out of planes before he got ill and I showed him the video and I think we may make our way to our local airport in the Summer so he can see the country round here from the air. (I think he is quite looking forward to that after seeing your video !!). thanks for posting that Stuart. G.

The key is to keep suficient altitude to avoid crashing. Being a devote coward I always did mine at 5000 ft and always checked the altimeter after every loop. Nice fime of the voltige.

We never wore a parachute when flying small planes but always wore one on military planes. Of course we wore two chutes when sky diving, the back pack and the chest pack. I had a ride in a F-106 fighter invited by a very young Major who I knew and who was THE Top Gun pilot two years in a row. We broke the sound barrier and he turned the plane every way but loose until I screamed to stop it. It was the ride of my life but I wouldn’t want to repeat it. The F-106 was the fastest high altitude fighter in the Air Force at the time and had broken all speed records. We had a squadron of them on our base to protect our bombers and tankers.

I remember the pilots instructions for keeping the horizon in sight to prevent sickness. I know this would be second nature to you James but for the others, watch how he does it here.

I did some “voltige” or acrobatics quite recently in Montpelier. Almost 45 minutes with a little break in the middle for some scenic stuff. That was in a CAP10, and I wasn’t sick, although I wasn’t far off. It took me half an hour after the flight before I could drive. It didn’t help when the young pilot said to me “If anything goes seriously wrong I’ll eject the canopy and you can roll out onto the wing and off the back. Then it’s just a matter of pulling that little handle”. I didn’t realise how heavy parachutes were. Also, I had a really bad shoulder at the time, but I wasn’t going to miss it for anything. When we were up over the beach he said “What would you like to do Mr Wilson?”. I said, which I now realise was foolish, “Fill your boots”. Two seconds later I was upside down and then he gave me the flight of my life. Or was it Fright :wink: Honestly I wasn’t scared for one moment, but the G levels to my stomach really got me. Fantastic experience.

One thing that few people don’t realize is that when you are at the controls, things don’t seem as scary as when you are a passenger in a plane experiencing turbulence. A pilot is thinking of the controls and isn’t thinking of the danger as much as passengers who feel helpless. I’ve flown in commerical flights through strong down drafts and scare the hell out me but I bet it didn’t scare the pilots at all. Also, a pilot will never get air sick whereas a passenger can get air sick easily. I could do all the acrobats in the WACO’s as a pilot but as a passenger those same maneuvers made me air sick and ask for a halt before I made a mess of the cockpit.

I thought that momentary uplift was due to wind. I hated those cross winds when you have to come at the runway at an angle and straigbten out just a second or two before touch down.