How did you become a pilot?

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rgbrock1
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Re: How did you become a pilot?

#21 Post by rgbrock1 » Mon Jun 06, 2016 1:18 pm

Fox3WheresMyBanana wrote:I wanted to be a pilot since I was born.
I got my first flight, in an Auster, aged 2. I have a pic of me standing next to it, dressed in tights and coat and a cute woolly tie-on hat. I think it was at Hatfield. Twenty eight years later,I climbed into my Tornado at Hatfield, probably the last fighter out of there.


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Re: How did you become a pilot?

#23 Post by Chuks » Sun Jan 22, 2017 10:51 am

Huh. I got my first flight carried internally by my pregnant mother! Beech Bonanza, Salem, Oregon to somewhere in California in early 1947. Top that! Of course, I have no conscious memory of my first flight ....

My second flight, never forgotten, was also in a Bonanza, a local hop from Pendleton, Oregon with my father, ex-Navy, at the controls.

That link had a "Definition of airspeed" meme. One day we were in a Dornier 328 Turboprop, taxying past a Cessna 441 I used to fly. The Captain, a Scottish prick, asked me how fast that thing went. (Our 328 could hit 300 knots TAS.)

I told him that the one we were looking at had the "Dash 10" engine mod and the high-zoot propellers, so that it also hit just about 300 knots TAS, which it definitely could. I seem to recall having had it up to 295, anyway, not that I was trying to set some new speed record for the 441 in Nigeria, where it was usually ISA +15º. Disbelief ensued, when I said nothing more.

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Re: How did you become a pilot?

#24 Post by reddo » Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:24 pm

My grandfather used to work as an engineer for Qantas so the seed was sown a long time ago. OK, I also wanted to be an astronaut but no joy there.. Fast forward to my early 20s and a colleague took me flying in his PA28-161. It was like a lightning bolt. I "HAD" to do this. So that began the long and sometimes frustrating journey in learning to fly, getting a job, getting another job, losing jobs, shifting all over Australia and eventually to the UK. :)

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Re: How did you become a pilot?

#25 Post by CharlieOneSix » Sun Oct 15, 2017 3:24 pm

With a father who was an RAF pilot during WW2 it was probably inevitable that I tried to follow in his footsteps. I joined the Air Training Corps at 14 and at the age of 15 in 1960 I went for an ‘Aircrew Pre-selection’ at RAF Hornchurch – before the time when it transferred to Biggin Hill. I remember the winding road test mentioned by Boing and there was also a cathode ray tube where you had to keep a wandering spot of light inside a small central box by using a kind of joystick - poor photos of both of these below:

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I passed everything except the medical as my short sightedness let me down so being an RAF pilot was not an option. They said I would be suitable for Air Electronics Officer on V Bombers provided I got the required GCE exams. I went away dispirited and looked for other ways to become a pilot. At 16 I went solo on gliders and also discovered that the Royal Navy had different eyesight requirements for helicopter pilots and mine were within their limits. I swotted up on the Fleet Air Arm and on helicopters and sent off my application.

So off to the Admiralty Interview Board and at the age of 17 I found myself at the Britannia Royal Naval College as a potential helicopter pilot and soled on a Tiger Moth at Plymouth Roborough. After passing out from there it was on to Chipmunks with the RAF at Linton-on-Ouse. After that I went to the Royal Naval Air Station at Culdrose in Cornwall to learn to fly helicopters and where I got my Wings at the age of 19, eventually retiring from flying at 55.
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Re: How did you become a pilot?

#26 Post by Fox3WheresMyBanana » Tue Oct 17, 2017 1:20 pm

I had borderline shortsightedness also, and did the pre-selection also. Just passed by surreptitious squinting at the test card whilst doing the other medical tests first.
I noted there were only 4 sight-test cards in use.
When I went back for proper aircrew selection aged 18, my eyesight had deteriorated a fraction, but in the intervening time I had found and memorized the 4 sight cards. LNETHOA came up.
They gave me glasses at Valley.

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Re: How did you become a pilot?

#27 Post by Stoneboat » Sat Oct 21, 2017 7:40 pm

Where I was born and brought up, there were two ways in and out, bush plane and coastal boat in the summer, bush plane and dog team in the winter. I had my first ride in an airplane in the winter of 1951 in a Norseman on skis. I moved to the 'big town' :D to attend high school and on the weekends became a dock rat for the local bush outfit, pumping floats and gas, and cleaning windshields. Graduated to hangar rat when the floats came off. After high school the same company gave e a paying job as a swamper on the Otter, then hired me as a pilot when I got my CPL at age 19. When the bloom wore off that rose I went to work flying for a local mining company for 30 years, the last 15 as director of their flight department.

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Re: How did you become a pilot?

#28 Post by Ex-Ascot » Sun Oct 22, 2017 8:45 am

Fox3WheresMyBanana wrote:I had borderline shortsightedness also, and did the pre-selection also. Just passed by surreptitious squinting at the test card whilst doing the other medical tests first.
I noted there were only 4 sight-test cards in use.
When I went back for proper aircrew selection aged 18, my eyesight had deteriorated a fraction, but in the intervening time I had found and memorized the 4 sight cards. LNETHOA came up.
They gave me glasses at Valley.


Little nursie at BZN doing my eye test said cover one eye and read the bottom line. I said we would save some time, covered both eyes and said LHTOCNEA. She said that is fine Sir. :-bd We only ever seemed to have one card there.

Only ever needed to wear glasses for landing at night. They never found out. I have 'nyctalopia', night blindness. They don't test for that as far as I know. Can't drive at night without glasses. Well, I can, but we crash.
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Re: How did you become a pilot?

#29 Post by Fox3WheresMyBanana » Sun Oct 22, 2017 9:12 am

Probably just as well you didn't need to do night lights-out vis-idents on the transport fleet then ;)

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Re: How did you become a pilot?

#30 Post by reddo » Sat Nov 04, 2017 5:49 pm

When I was about 4, I was aware of the Moon landing. Mainly because I was at a doctor's surgery. Any way, if it wasn't dinosaurs I was also into the space programme. I wanted to be an astronaut. That changed when I realised the casualty rate (horrendous!) and that I was an Aussie female, no space programme for me. Both Grandfathers were in aviation, but not pilots. My maternal grandfather worked for Qantas just after WW2 as an engineer but preferred running his own business. My paternal grandfather worked for Qantas for years ending up in the sim building. When I was about 7-8, he took us around the hangars etc. Wow. How inspiring. At the Bicentennial Airshow, I saw a Qantas B744 doing a cool fly by. Oooooh. Any way, reality kicked in and I didn't get the grades. Also my eye sight meant no military for me (also, the whole female thing too...) So I quietly shelved those plans and got on with science.
When I was working at uni, a colleague flew his Cherokee from the States to Australia via Europe. So I thought, what a nice way to spend a weekend flying down the coast. To Be Continued.

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Re: How did you become a pilot?

#31 Post by Boac » Sat Nov 04, 2017 6:07 pm

Probably just as well you didn't need to do night lights-out vis-idents on the transport fleet then
- unlike one of my Lightning OCU students who, after joining a squadron, managed to bump an Aztec up the bum on one of those - er - lights on vis-idents.....

My excuse was as a handling instructor it weren't my fault - it was the weapons instructors. =))

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Re: How did you become a pilot?

#32 Post by reddo » Sat Nov 04, 2017 8:50 pm

... Dinner and fireworks done.
So I went gliding, hmm not so much fun. My colleague took me flying and initially it wasn't much fun because of the turbulence. However, the next flight up to Port Macquarie along coast was amazing. It was a thunderclap. I had to do this. So embarked on the long and sometimes challenging journey of learning to fly part time to eventually getting a job. The challenges and hurdles didn't stop then but I made it. :)

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Re: How did you become a pilot?

#33 Post by Shaggy sheep driver » Fri Mar 16, 2018 2:43 pm

My first flight was a joy ride in an Auster from Ringway in the late '50s when I was about 7. I sat behind the pilot and marveled at the 'toy' houses far below, but what really caught my imagination was the way the pilot would move the stick to one side and the world tilted over in the windscreen.

"I'm going to do that one day" I vowed. "Move a stick and tilt the world".

Decades later the stick in the Yak spun the earth, changed sky for ground for sky again in a blink.... no 'up', no 'down', just pure 3-dimensional freedom.

And nearly 35 years of flying the best handling aeroplane, and one of the most characterful... the lovely Chipmunk.

Best thing I ever did, becoming a pilot.

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Re: How did you become a pilot?

#34 Post by ExSp33db1rd » Sat Mar 17, 2018 7:16 am

........ the lovely Chipmunk.
Elsewhere I've recalled the time that BOAC positioned a fleet of Chipmunks at Croydon, for us pilots being used initially as navigators to maintain our CPL 6 month recency requirements, and how I gave a flight to my aged Aunt, to the Isle of Wight, and had to position her in the rear cockpit with her hand on the throttle and a severe instruction to pull that lever BACK when the engine starts, and then hand propped it ! I still have nightmares.

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Re: How did you become a pilot?

#35 Post by FD2 » Sat Mar 24, 2018 10:20 pm

When I was 6 or 7 in the early 1960s we lived in Lee-on-Solent near Portsmouth. Nearby was the Royal Naval Air Station and when the doctor gave me a couple of months off school to sort out my bronchitis I amused myself by walking along the road to watch the Sea Furies and Fireflies doing circuits. I used to sit on the big warning notice which told people not to park on the road at the end of the runway because of the dangers of low flying aircraft. :) I still remember the distinctive smell as they did power checks etc prior to take off. I decided that that was what I wanted to do when I grew up. :-bd Fast forward to leaving school in 1965.

After reading all the glossy ads that joining with a permanent commission and learning to fly after the basic sea training was the most sensible course. After being at Dartmouth for a term we were herded together to be told that the Labour Party Defence Minister, Dennis Healey, had decided to scrap all the fixed wing carriers by the end of the 1970s, of which there were still five in commission, and that we could train to be helicopter pilots or observers in due course but that the last fixed wing pilots would be taken from people who had joined the previous year. :( If only I had joined short service I could have had a crack at it like several chums at Dartmouth, but God knows if I'd have made the grade.

My first flight was in one of the Tiger Moths that were kept at Roborough, Plymouth and about all I remember about it, apart from being a bit chilly in winter, was that it was awkward to land and frequently got airborne again if the landing was too firm. By coincidence someone who keeps some vintage aircraft on his section nearby has just flown a Tiger Moth over the house.

Flying training proper was done at RAF Church Fenton after the unit had moved there from Linton a couple of years previously. It was a cheap and effective way of sorting the wheat from the chaff and we lost four out of ten of the course there. Then on to the Hiller at Culdrose in Cornwall and the subsequent years flying helicopters in various parts of the world. CharlieOneSix kindly told me about a group of Chipmunk enthusiasts who had formed a syndicate and who were having a get-together at Perth so we met up there in 2007 and I was back in the air again in a Chippy I had last flown in 1970. Can't say I enjoyed it though, it was cramped and uncomfortable after so many years in helicopters but I did manage a (sort of) barrel roll! :ymsick:

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Re: How did you become a pilot?

#36 Post by FD2 » Sat Feb 02, 2019 7:09 pm

Just re-read that post - for '1960s' in Lee-on-Solent read 1950s...doh!

Better go to Specsavers....

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Re: How did you become a pilot?

#37 Post by Cacophonix » Sat Feb 02, 2019 10:37 pm

FD2 wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 7:09 pm
Just re-read that post - for '1960s' in Lee-on-Solent read 1950s...doh!

Better go to Specsavers....

You just aged yourself man! ;)))

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Re: How did you become a pilot?

#38 Post by Pontius Navigator » Sun Feb 03, 2019 1:41 pm

Strapped to the front of a primary glider, spoilers on the wings, catapulted across the sports field did it for me. I wanted to be a navigator. I got my 5 O-levels, passed selection and the rest was history.

If you got 4 O levels and read the Daily Mirror you could become airmen aircrew.

If you got 5 O levels and read the Daily Express you could become an aircrew officer.

If you got 5 O and 2 A levels and read the Daily Telegraph you could become an officer aircrew and go to Cranwell.

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Re: How did you become a pilot?

#39 Post by Ex-Ascot » Mon Feb 04, 2019 12:30 pm

These days you normally need a degree. What use is that? If you have 5 O's and 2 or 3 A's you can get into university to read an absolutely irrelevant subject and sets you back three years in your career. I was pushing for a commission all the time I was at university. I was reading nuclear physics which I didn't really understand much about, well, actually, I didn't understand anything. ~X( After a disastrous two years the Royal Air Force offered me a commission as a pilot so I dropped the bomb and buggered off.
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Re: How did you become a pilot?

#40 Post by boing » Mon Feb 04, 2019 11:45 pm

We had a young graduate trainee pilot with a degree in what we could only consider as gardening - so that was the secondary duty he was given - looking after the flower beds in front of the squadron. He took it quite well since he agreed himself that his degree was sod all use to aviation. Nice kid actually.

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