Cleared For Departure

Yesterday was a beautiful autumnal day, and following fog and poor visibility in the morning, I knew that any activity at Dunkeswell was going to be happening from midday onwards. So, with my LAPL Medical Certificate and Log Book in hand, my wife, daughter and I made our way up to the aerodrome. While lunching in ‘The Aviator‘ cafe, we had a wonderful view of Runway 05/23 and were able to watch a number of student and private aircraft land and take to the skies. We were also treated to a constant stream of brave souls going up and back down again on parachute drops – I’m regretting not having taken my camera now. I will snap some photos at a later date though and post them up here.

Following lunch, I went into the office to discuss my flight training. I have to say, the staff at Devon & Somerset Flight Training are really friendly and helpful. An unhurried discussion was had concerning the training syllabus, requirements, timescales, a number of other important considerations and several questions I had were explained in detail. After reviewing how best to proceed, I have booked my first lesson for 3 November 2016. While I would have liked to have started sooner, current work commitments prevent it, although my plan is to try and have a lesson at least once a week, prefereably every Thursday.

I have purchased my first two training manuals… 1: Flying Training and 2: Aviation Law/Meterology and need to start reading those in preparation for both my lessons and my first exams. I have also purchased a 1:500,000 aeronautical chart that covers the south of England and Wales, as it is a legal requirement that every pilot has one in the aircraft when flying. These are updated every March and therefore need to be replaced each year.

So that’s it, the first steps have been taken. Roll on the 3rd November!

My Finest Hour

To date, my most comprehensive flight experience came on the 8th April 2014 in the form of a lesson in G-BZWG, a Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee. Originally, my wife had purchased a one hour flying experience from Panshanger aerodrome as an anniversary gift, but having already had some time in light aircraft cockpits before, I asked them if the experience could be treated more as a lesson – and they were happy to oblige! Continue reading “My Finest Hour”

What’s Really Gone Before – Part II

Following on from Part I of my previous real-world flight experiences, I’ve had a few more in more recent years. In 2008 I visited Malta with a friend. Not long after arriving at the island I saw that there was a seaplane transit service between Valetta and Gozo. Thrilled at the prospect of not only seeing the beautiful island from the air, but also taking off and landing on water, we booked up for a trip and I paid for the co-pilot’s seat. I enjoyed a wonderful up-front cockpit view of the trip and learned a good deal of information from the pilot about operating a de Havilland Canada DHC-3T Turbo-Otter. Enjoy browsing through this aerial gallery of Malta… Continue reading “What’s Really Gone Before – Part II”

What’s Really Gone Before – Part I

Having covered my virtual flying adventures¬† in my last post, I’m now going to reminisce about my (more important) real-world experience to date.

My first flight in a general aviation (GA) aircraft took place in June 2004 when a friend of my cousin offered to take us both up as passengers. At the time, the friend was funding his own training to become a commercial airline pilot and needed to increase the number of flying hours in his log book. We met him at EGTR Elstree and climbed into G-ODEN, a Piper PA-28-161 Warrior. Continue reading “What’s Really Gone Before – Part I”

What’s Virtually Gone Before

While I’m counting off the days until my medical, I thought I would reminisce about some of the aviation related activities that I’ve enjoyed over the years – in this instance, virtual ones. First up, I’ve mentioned elsewhere on the blog that I have previously played Flight Unlimited on my Windows 95 PC. Well, there were some other games I enjoyed too for the Atari ST and Commodore Amiga: Continue reading “What’s Virtually Gone Before”

Primed and Ready

The first step of my journey is to obtain a LAPL medical certificate. Without that, I cannot even start to learn to fly. The examination is less stringent than that required for a Private Pilot’s License (PPL), so I’m reasonably confident that I won’t fail it. However, it would be a shame to fall at the first hurdle! Once the certificate has been issued, I can then make arrangements to join the flying club, obtain my starting equipment and begin my lessons with Devon & Somerset Flight Training at EGTU Dunkeswell.