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And After I've Soloed?
Your first solo flight is just the start of course and together with a grasp of the rules of the air this qualifies you for the 'A' badge which also allows you to wear a glider pilot's 'wings' if you wish. At Portmoak flying conditions are such that most pilots are able to progress more or less immediately to the 'B' badge. See here for a fuller description of the gliding badge system. After your first solo flight you will normally have at least one check flight with an instructor every day before flying solo. This is to correct any incipient bad habits, to make sure that you are 'on form' and to verify that you will be able to cope with that day's flying conditions.

It's likely that uppermost in your mind after soloing will be the pleasure of flying yourself initially in the training dual-seater and later in one of the single-seaters. At Portmoak the normal guideline is that after 10 satisfactory solo flights you can progress to the Junior - this is dependent on your own abilities, the weather on the day, and most of all yourself - noone is pushing you. From then on you will need to obtain a briefing before you fly but a check-flight will not be mandatory. You will find that the duty instructor takes regard of the day's conditions before allowing you to fly solo and may suggest a check flight if conditions warrant it. It's important to take things steadily.

Just because you're a solo pilot doesn't mean that you've nothing left to learn of course, just that given normal flying conditions you can be expected to get off the ground and back again in safety. The bronze badge is the next major step. Whether or not you plan to work your way through the badge system, the syllabus for the bronze badge contains many elements which will make your flying more fruitful and enjoyable. Whereas the ab-initio training concentrated on basic skills to enable you to fly safely, bronze training concentrates on enabling you to fly well. Amongst other things you will learn to fly more accurately, to maintain altitude in poorer conditions, to manoeuvre more capably and (who knows when you may need it) to pick suitable fields out of the airfield and land safely in them.

And after that? Well it's really up to you. Some pilots are keen to qualify for their badges as rapidly as possible. Some are interested in progressing to become instructors. Some are interested in national and international competition, or aerobatics (there are aerobatic competitions too!), or cross-country flying. At these levels progress is left to the individual but the Scottish Gliding Centre has a large membership of experienced instructors and pilots. Don't be afraid to ask!
Portmoak Airfield, Scotlandwell, Near Kinross KY13 9JJ    Tel. 01592 840543    Office Hours   Contact Us