Diary of a Student Pilot

David Walker writes about his experiences as he learns how to fly, after winning a competition to become a pilot.


Part 9 – Progress report

8 months ago, when I started on this journey, I didn’t have a clue about how to fly an aircraft. All the knobs, whistles and bells that were laid out in front of me in the cockpit, seemed to provide as much of a clue as hieroglyphics written in stone. However, after 16 hours tuition with 11 take off’s, 4 landings and a whole host of ascents, descents and donuts in the sky, I’ve learnt so much – yet still have a wealth of information to get through.

I’m about to take my first two exams – Air Law and Operational Procedures. Every day I try to cram in some reading from one of the many books I need to get through. Some of it sinks in, some of it doesn’t. And I find that on more than one occasion, I have to go back and start a chapter all over again.

But I’m making progress. The last two lessons have all been about slow flight and stalling. Here, I was taught how to recognise the signs and symptoms of when a stall may be imminent, and how to get out of a potentially tricky situation. Everything is going well, and my instructor is happy with the way I’m developing.

The winter weather had put a significant delay on progress as sometimes a lesson had to be cancelled. But as things improve, over the upcoming weeks I’ll be onto doing “circuits”. This is endless rounds of take off’s, flying round the aerodrome and landings, to build up experience in the two most crucial phases of flying.

Having a last-minute cancellation can be frustrating. You psych yourself up and try to keep the nerves calm, only to find out that there’s too much cloud, wind or rain to play that day. Safety is above and beyond the number one factor, and the guys at Abbasair really do take it seriously. If the weather says no, then they do too.

Thankfully, spring is on its way. The daffodils are starting to grow in my garden and skies are slowly turning from grey to blue. Despite all the hard work I’m still loving the course and am having a ball. I really can’t recommend high enough for people to give flying a try, whether it’s a pleasure flight or first lesson. As the views spread out beneath your feet, you will be so glad you gave it a go.

At the end of yesterday’s lesson, I was presented with my “student bag”. This contains all of the reading material and equipment I’ll need to complete the course and takes me just that one small step further to achieving my goal and completing an ambition of a lifetime. My heartfelt thanks go to everyone at Abbasair for helping me realise this dream. It really is, truly appreciated.

For more details and information about the services that Abbasair offer, click here to go to their website.

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Part 1. And so it begins…

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Hi. My name is David Walker and in March 2021. I entered a competition with Abbasair based in Dorset, to win the ultimate chance of a lifetime and gain a pilots licence. Two months later I find out I’ve been shortlisted, and two months after that I find myself sitting in front of the control’s of a Piper Warrior PA […]

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