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You CAN fly when it snows!

I arrived in Dundee as the snow began to fall, meaning that the course got off to a slow start and I only had 3 hours of flying completed by the end of the first week. The weather improved for the second week and I flew at least one sortie a day and three on some occasions.

The syllabus is pretty similar to the Gliding Scholarship syllabus, with sorties including straight and level flight, climbing and descending, level turns, stalling and circuits but it differs in that it is carried out at Dundee airport around commercial airliners which makes talking to Air Traffic Control interesting and there is also a first solo exam that you must pass to be able to go solo which includes 5 sections: air law, radio telephony, aircraft technical, emergencies and circuit procedures.

I went solo on the Thursday of the second week. After a 40 minute check ride with the Chief Flying Instructor, we parked up on the apron and the instructor got out. I then had to carry out my power checks and make the radio call “Tayside 2HE ready for departure”. Then when clearance was given I entered the runway and then when clearance to take off was given I applied full power and took off. The first solo consists of one circuit at 1000 feet, a landing and taxiing back to the flying school and takes about 15 minutes. After my solo I had a few hours of flying left to complete so we did a visual navigation sortie which was made quite tricky because it had snowed again over night -everything was white and looked exactly the same! For my last hour I did another check ride and finished on a 20 minute solo comprising of two circuits.

I found the course challenging but I really enjoyed it and wish I could do it all over again. The instructors and staff at Tayside Aviation are amazing and are really friendly and I would urge any cadet that has a passion for flying and has completed their gliding scholarship to apply. I would also like to thank Wing Headquarters for funding my travel to and from Dundee . It is a great course that I enjoyed thoroughly and I hope it will lead onto greater things in the future.

The Air Cadet Pilot Scheme provides 12 Hours of flying training following a central flying school approved syllabus. The ACPS is carried out at Tayside Aviation in Dundee and the scheme is open for applications from cadets, who have completed their Gliding Scholarship. The course has around 150 places per year and is a two week residential carried out on the Grob G115D2 Heron, very similar to the newer G115E Tutor which is flown at AEF's.

Cdt FS Tom McGovern


Article Submitted by:-
Cdt FS Tom McGovern - 496 (Balsall Common) Squadron
11 Feb 11


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