I travelled to Dundee , Scotland from Coventry via train on the morning of Monday 12th February. I arrived at Dundee train station after catching a connecting train from Edinburgh . I was collected from the train station by a gentleman called Dave who was the accountant at Tayside Aviation and he took me to the hotel along with another chap called Sam who was from Wales ! We settled in to the hotel and meet 3 of the students that had arrived the
previous week and they explained how the operation at the airfield worked and what we should expect to do during our 2 week stay. We had our evening meal in the Italian restaurant that was in the basement of the hotel.
On the Tuesday we were picked up at around 0830 and taken to the airfield which was only a 5 minute drive. when we arrived at the flying school we were greeted by the friendly instructors and the receptionist who left us in the capable hands of the senior course members (there were 2 courses running at one time, overlapping by 1 week, the previous course was the senior and I was in the junior course) to remove the tie downs from the
wings and tails of the Cessna's and Pipers, we then removed the Grob's from their hanger. Once these duties were completed we were introduced to the crew room that was a notorious porter cabin that was so familiar to most air cadets. We then received some equipment comprising of a satchel type bag, booklet that would prepare me for my pre solo exam, log book to log all my flying hours, log sheet to log how many knights accommodation I had
and how many hours I had flown so that the money can be claimed back from HQAC. One of the senior instructors briefed us on what was expected of us, behaviour and ground schooling.
I had my first flight on the Tuesday afternoon with the same senior instructor, Marjhan Bledowski, who was a Scottish gentleman with a hint of polish! I was flying the Cessna 152 which is a single engine, two crew, high winged aircraft that is widely used in the Australian outback and Africa as it is renowned for having a bullet proof engine and been exceptionally reliable, it is also a very good aircraft for learning in as it is stable and the cockpit is relatively simple compared to some other light aircraft. The thing I found different with this aircraft is that the control Coolum is a yoke (steering wheel type) and I have only ever flown aircraft with a stick.
By my 3rd flight on the 5th day I was cleared for solo start-up. This entailed doing the walk around on the aircraft which is to check that the exterior of the aircraft is serviceable and there are no defects that would affect the performance and safety of the plane. Then, strap in and cockpit checks, these are to make sure all the electrical equipment, engine controls and airframe controls are in the off or closed position. Once these are completed I had to do the pre start checks, start checks and after start checks, then my instructor came out to the aircraft and strapped in! then it was time to call Dundee tower, telling them what plane I was in, how many sole's on board, request taxi instructions and what my intentions were. Then, with all that done it was time to taxi to the apron for my power checks and pre take off check. Once all the required checks were completed and no problems occurred, it was time to call ready for departure and wait for clearance to enter the active runway and line up for take off, clearance for take off was given once I was lined up on the correct runway. The take off was quite simple, apply full power, bit of right rudder, check the RPM, monitor the T's & P's and air speed indicator and then rotate at 55 kts into a climbing attitude of 70 kts. On the climb out I had to make a noise abetment turn as to not annoy the locals or cause a hazard to any buildings, then at 200 feet check the RPM, T's & P's and make sure the flaps are up!
Once flying I could see the beautiful landscape of Scotland and observe the goings on of the city.
On my 7th day I had a new instructor as Marjhan had fallen ill, I was now to fly with the MD of Tayside aviation, Mr. Frasier. On the same day it was time for me to go solo. I don't really remember a majority of the flight because my mind was on flying and putting her down on the ground nice and smoothly but I remember it been one of the best things I have ever done in my life and the amazing feeling of accomplishment and knowing I have done something that a lot of people will never do, and doing it at such a stage where I cant drive a car!
On the 8th day I flew with a man from the RAF central flying school, Sqn. Ldr. N. Pierson. His job is to ensure that operations at flying schools such as Tayside are safe and efficient and also that the standard of instruction is high. I did all of the flight and it was as if he was my
passenger although he was the aircraft commander, we flew west towards Fife airfield, did some stalling and then an airfield rejoin and 2 circuits. My report from him was outstanding and I was said to be above average, considering CFS are renowned for being very critical I did exceptionally well and this was backed up by Mr. Frasier when he saw my report and talked to the Sqn Ldr about my flight. The standard of my flying reflects well on my instructor so Mr. Frasier was very pleased with my performance.
Between the 21st and 26th I did much more solo flying and learnt how to land the aircraft if the flaps failed or there was an engine frailer and it was all very enjoyable.
In order to do a flying scholarship I had to complete a gliding scholarship and go solo in a motor glider. I would recommend that any cadet that is 16 to do a gliding scholarship and achieve their silver wings and to then apply for a flying scholarship as it was such an amazing opportunity and was so enjoyable!