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Ian Santos' Adventure
I had been looking forward to my week's flying with John for what seemed like forever. Whilst I had previously spent a couple of hundred hours flying gliders that experience was over ten years ago now, before children arrived on the scene, so I think it would be a fair comparison to say I was like a small child at Christmas time!
I was staying in Whangarei with my family the weekend before for a wedding and John suggested he fly down to collect me on the Sunday - which would give me the opportunity for my first lesson on the way up to Kerikeri. More flying? Music to my ears.
However the heavens opened for the wedding, and there wasn't much improvement on the Sunday. A text from John confirmed that I'd be driving up instead of flying - not an auspicious start.
But I needn't have worried, Monday was a beautiful day with scattered puffy cumulus clouds and we launched into a series of lessons that day covering the basics such as straight and level and turning.
Ian with MBN at Kerikeri
Tuesday started off as a cloudless morning, we took off around 9am and headed north. In between the actual learning I took some photos on my phone.
Bay of Islands
Despite favorable forecasts we noticed clouds building and the sky becoming grey to the south. When the time came to return home we were faced by a wall of cloud and showers. With clear skies to the north we headed up to NZKT - Kaitaia - where we landed and waited for conditions to improve.
MBN at Kaitaia
Fortunately after a couple of hours things began to improve and we returned to Kerikeri, squeezing in a lesson on slow flying in the process.
That was the only weather issue we had all week. This allowed us to maintain a fairly challenging tempo of 'briefing - flying - break' which suited me as I only had this one week available in my calendar, so I wanted to make the best of it.
As the week progressed I started taking on more responsibility for the flying - pre-flight checks, starting, dealing with traffic on the radio etc. The opportunity of being able build on my experiences from one lesson to the next without having a break of days or even weeks in between lessons was a great advantage.
Ian Santos - Pilot
Then to my surprise, on the Thursday whilst doing circuits, John made me stop my landing run short, gave me a few quick instructions and hopped out! After a moment's panic I taxied off and flew my first (powered) solo. The big grin took a couple of days to subside!
I flew all day Friday and Saturday morning (both dual and solo) before my week was finally over and I had to return home.
Thank you John for an amazing week, I had a fantastic time and am now trying to plough through the last of my ground exams so I can continue on the road to getting my licence.