84 Sqn ATC Crest

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Flying High on a Solo Sortie

Cadet Sergeant Phoebe Jenner
Air Cadet Phoebe Jenner has completed her first solo flight in a powered aircraft taking off and landing back at Coventry Airport. Whilst this has been a private endeavour, 84 (Coventry Airport) Squadron are incredibly proud of her achievements and decided to find out exactly what the incredible accomplishment entailed so asked her to tell us in her own words:

I have been taking flying lessons for just over a year and have logged nearly 39 hours. Before flying solo, I had to be 16 years of age, have passed a medical exam and the required eye test. I also had lots of studying to do for the Air Law exam and then practice flying to Wellesbourne in case I had to do an emergency landing there! Then it was just a matter of waiting for a break in the weather with good visibility, low winds and no rain....which seemed to take forever in this wonderful British Winter!
Post-Flight Smiles

In lessons, I have learnt loads of practical flying skills such as basic and advanced handling, stall recovery, spin recovery, different types of engine failures, forced landings, and different types of landings. I also had to learn to recognise local landmarks from the air, and all the radio protocols for taking off and landing and listening for air traffic control instructions while in the air.

Just before my first solo flight I flew a few circuits of the airport with my instructor touching down briefly on the runway between each one. I taxied back to the flying school and my instructor got out. I contacted the tower to request permission to taxi and they told me which holding point to wait at while I did the final pre-flight checks. I was given permission to taxi onto the runway and then to take off. I accelerated up the runway and did a good take off, which is the easiest bit. I then turned into the normal left hand circuit of the airport, which takes about 8 minutes.

On the final leg I contact the tower and got cleared to land. I was being blown about a bit by the cross-wind and found the landing harder than usual because I didn’t have the extra weight of my instructor to help get the plane on the ground! But finally I was down without bouncing too much. I taxied back to the apron in front of the flying school to do my after-landing checks, and then taxied to the parking bays where I shut the engine down. My instructor Richard came out to congratulate me, and then we had a debrief.

He seemed really pleased, and I felt that it had gone well. I had been a bit nervous but excited beforehand, confident and relaxed during the flight, and a bit nervous but concentrated during the landing. I feel really proud that I’ve done this and just look forward to doing it again!”

All her family, friends and fellow cadets are incredibly amazed that, at just aged 16, Cadet Sergeant has taken off in a powered aircraft and safely landed back. We look forward to hearing about her next flights as she continues to progress through her flying training.

Co-written by: Flying Officer Rosie Chapman & Cadet Sergeant Phoebe Jenner