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Learn to fly with Hastings District Flying Club, Port Macquarie Recreational Aviation | HDFC Port Macquarie

Tim Hitchins

Tim Hitchins First Solo video

Learn to fly with Hastings District Flying Club, Port Macquarie Recreational Aviation | HDFC Port Macquarie
My First Solo - Tim Hitchins - April 2013


My adrenaline then began flowing as I knew what was about to happen...


It was a sunny Saturday morning in mid April. There was a light breeze from the south west, the conditions couldn’t have been more perfect for flying. After rolling the little yellow beast from its hanger, we jumped in and began the pre start checklist. “Clear prop” were the words that echoed across the tarmac just before the engine roared to life. A few minutes later, after run ups and various radio calls we were airborne, on the way up to experience the most amazing feeling I believe that a person can experience - the earth falling away from you as you soar towards the clouds. Towards the end of our normal circuit I was still prepared for more circuit training and thus was still calling “Runway 21 touch and go.” A light cross wind greeted us on finals which was great practice for what was to happen only about ten minutes later.


After a smooth touch down under the watchful eye of Ray Lind, I was lining up for our next take off when he said “I think that’ll do, Tim, let’s head back to the taxi way.” My adrenaline then began flowing as I knew what was about to happen... After the short backtrack up the runway I made my clear of runway call, just as Ray said, “turn left here.” He turned to me and said “Are you ready?” I said “As I’ll ever be.”  We then together performed one last run upcheck before Ray unbuckled his harness, unplugged his headset and closed his door. From then I knew I was on my own. A quick visual check of the airspace around the field, then I was lining myself up on the runway. I knew my trusty GoPro camera was recording my every movement so at the end of the runway I looked across at it and simply said, “Well here goes!”


“Port Macquarie Traffic, Foxbat 7395 rolling runway 21” were my next words followed almost immediately by the Foxbat jumping into the air after no more than about 40 or 50 metres. The rate of climb was the thing I noticed most, it was incredible that just one person made such a difference to the aircraft! It was the quickest climb to 500’ that I’d ever experienced with a sweeping left turn to look at the glistening ocean. ASPT were the only four letters crossing my mind as I levelled off at 1000’.


After a few seconds of straight and level flight I looked to the left and saw the sun shining off the enormous white roof of Settlement City, my first checkpoint to aim for. After checking the air space was clear I called my down wind turn and began the brief journey north over the edge of the industrial area. My focus then turned to my before landing checklist, the all important BUMPFH checks which allowed me to ensure I was as prepared as possiblefor the approach to the airport.


After checking that I was perfectly lined up between the river entrance and Blackman’s Point, I once again banked left, the views of canal homes filling the view in my left door. It was at this point that my first solo descent began. Flaps one, reduce power, maintain 60kts were all flooding to mind.


Less than a minute later I found myself once again on the radio, this time to inform local traffic that I was turning onto final approach. This is where I expected things to get interesting! 


As I descended over the soccer fields I checked the windsock one more time which told me the wind was steady and maintaining its direction - a great sign for me. The runway kept getting larger in my view as I descended towards the surface. The flare and touchdown was one of the smoothest I can remember doing, the flight went brilliantly.


After a back tracking call I began completing my after landing checklist as I taxied back towards the club hanger absolutely ecstatic about the achievement I had just made. I was met on the tarmac shortly after by Ray, who had a smile on his face that almost matched mine. We opened up the hangar and pushed the plane back in, the last step to a morning of aviation that I will never forget.


I’d like to say a huge thank you to my absolutely brilliant instructor, Ray Lind, for his continuing support and enthusiasm towards my flying, and aspiration to become a commercial airline pilot.


-Tim Hitchins- 

Tim Hitchins receiving his First Solo Certificate from Senior Flying Instructor, Ray Lind

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