... How I Learned About Flying... (Part 8) 'Lancaster to Colt in One Easy Lesson'

by Peter Hunter

how I learned about flying (part 8)

Lancaster to Colt in one easy lesson

   Just one minute into my first flying lesson 'What did you do that for?' asked the chief instructor. Although it was my first official attempt at the controls I had

talked him into letting me do the take-off - using the argument that it did not seem very difficult and his hands would be only inches away from the dual controls

    which he had assured me he could take over if anything went wrong

   What I had done

    was to apply the brakes on the wheels of the little Piper Cub as soon as we were thirty or so feet up 'I'm practising for when I fly bigger aircraft with retractable undercarriage one day so the main wheels are not still spinning when they enter their bays eliminating any risk of fire through friction

    I'll explain later - when we are on the ground'

   Soon after we had landed and were drinking the ritual coffee during the debriefing, I explained. 'Thirty years ago when I was nine my uncle took me to an air display at Horsham ST Faith's near Norwich. Although no longer full-time in the Royal Air force, he was still entitled to wear his uniform as he was retained as a reservist and I proudly followed him around the static display.

    When we reached the Lancaster, my uncle, explaining to its pilot; 'I flew these during the war. The boy here wants to fly when he grows up. Any chance I can show him around inside it?'

   Permission granted - things were far more relaxed in 1950 - and I was given the 'grand tour of the inside of a Lancaster bomber, with me sitting in the pilot's seat on top of a parachute pack with my uncle talking me through how to fly it

    And although only nine I never forgot that talk from my uncle

   . until later unable to get to sleep as his explanation and advice rattled around my brain until edged out by a sleep in which I dreamed of piloting the big bomber over hostile territory in the recent war my first flying lesson

   ' and dab the brakes just before the wheels go into the nacelles' was one of the things I then remembered - twenty-one years later.

   'You bloody smart-arse' was the Chief Flying Instructors sole contribution

  Peter Hunter 2013

from Peter Hunter's too many miles

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