When Once You Have Tasted Flight – Flying Solo
One of the things I want to do in this blog is to share with you the back stories behind some of my photography and artwork, especially the 3D series ‘The Adventures Of A Caveman’ which are rather biographical, and so,without further ado, let me share with you my experience of ‘flying solo’ and the inspiration behind the piece of work above.
In 2010 I flew Solo after just 19 hours of tuition, as I watched the altitude needle climb out of 500ft, the empty seat at the side of me which my instructor had vacated became more and more peculiar. He was now no longer there to give me that all reassuring subtle nod that indicated that I was doing everything correct, I was now making my own judgements on that matter. As the aircraft reached 800ft an even more strange thought came into my mind. As I looked down, I had Blackbushse Airport at my 9 o’clock which I had just taken off from, at my 3 o’clock I had sight of the famous Farnborough Airport whose airspace I was to avoid at all costs! Now for my next trick! I was expected and trusted to get this thing back on the ground at Blackbushe Airport all by myself, and in one piece, yet I had never driven a car! As I prepared for landing, and manoeuvred the aircraft in such a way that the runway was at my 12 o’clock, I dropped the airspeed some more, and descended to 100ft. At this point I should really have been bricking it, but the adrenaline rush in my body was so sky high that it took care of any nerves. In a rather cheerful way I said to myself, “Well, here goes! They say a good landing is one that you can walk out of, so lets do this thing!”.
It has been Six years since that special day flying solo. A couple of months later I was awarded with the George Stewart Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the scholar who’s achieved the most as a result of being awarded a Flying Scholarship for Disabled People. It was the day that a life long dream and ambition to fly a light aircraft Solo finally became real, and it was, and I still consider it to be my biggest and most grandest achievements of my life. The memories I share with you are extremely special to me, and are memories that I will cherish for the rest of my times.
Sadly, my situation currently makes flying unpractical and unrealistic for me to continue (I won’t go into details), but around two years ago, I had to make the difficult decision to not continue to fly. It was a decision which was not made lightly, but I hold on to hope that maybe one day, things may change, and I may once again be able to take to the skies again, however until such time, “I walk the earth with my eyes turned skywards, for there I have been, and there I long to return”.
Perhaps my most favorite photo in the world captured by Paddy (my fellow trainee pilot). The photo shows Mike (My Instructor) walking way from G-BRFM with me inside as I prepare the aircraft for my first time flying solo.