I really wanted to continue my flying, as it was something that I really enjoyed at the time. However, I knew that to get to the next stage, the Advanced Gliding Training (AGT), would be very difficult as the courses are very few and far between. I took a 2-year gap and then decided to push for the AGT.
In January 2001 I got on to an AGT course back at Little Rissington. The AGT is 9 to 10 Hours in length in which time you have to do 5 true solo circuits of the airfield. It takes quite some time to get to a standard at which the instructor is happy to send you solo. When you get to that standard and your instructor asks you if your happy to go solo, the feeling is very strange, it's a mix of excitement and pure fear. I took off and looked across and there was no one, just me at 800 feet in control of £125,000 of aircraft, then it suddenly sinks in that you have to get this thing down and your training takes over. It's the best feeling there is when you get out of the aircraft for the first time after a solo, you can't help but grin! I completed my AGT in 9 hours 15 minutes; I had become one of only just over 100 cadets in the country to be authorised to wear gold wings. On the same day I completed my AGT I asked if I could stay and continue my flying training. This would mean massive commitment, and a lot of hard work, but well worth it when you get to fly for virtually nothing!
From then on I have tried to work hard at my Volunteer Gliding Squadron (VGS), the harder I work the more flying I get, its worth it, and its something I would recommend any cadet to do. I feel very proud of myself to have got to the stage I have in the time I have. After only 9 Months I have now done nearly 40 hours in the Vigilant.
My flying training now is preparing me to be able to take cadets on their first 20-minute flight. Hopefully when I get to take that first cadet on a flight they too will see what flying is all about and they will think about it the same as I did. I hope flying with me will inspire that cadet to push and work hard to get out of the ATC what I have, and will like me get the chance to put something back into an organisation that is the only one to give you this sort of opportunity.