Reflecting back to when I took up flying lessons and some of the aircraft I flew in.

Half way through 1981 I decided to apply for a student pilot’s licence which required a full medical at the time to which I passed. My student licence arrived on the 24th of June 1981 to which I spent time in reading and buying a range of aeronautical instruction books. I passed the pre-solo air legislation exam and also the Basic Aeronautical Knowledge test which were required as student pilot. My first flight was on Nov 14 1981 just two days before my 21st birthday flying a PA-28 Piper Warrior (VH-ETI) which is pictured below. The first photo shows me doing a pre-flight inspection and also the view of the cockpit. VH-ETI had a fixed undercarriage. I flew a number of hours in VH-ETI while learning but also experienced other aircraft as well.

Piper PA-28 Warrior (VH-ETI)

Piper PA-28 Warrior (VH-ETI)

Piper PA-28  (VH-ETI) cockpit

Piper PA-28 (VH-ETI) cockpit

The second aircraft I flew in was also a PA-28 Piper (VH-UDX) which had a retractable undercarriage (wheels up) while in flight. I only did two hours in this aircraft at the time.

The third aircraft I flew in was a Victor Air Tourer (VH-MUA) which had a joy stick instead of a control wheel to move the aircraft. I only did one hour of flight in this aircraft but it was a nice one to fly in.

The above aircraft flight training was done through Hunter Aviation in Cessnock from November 1981 to June 1982. The cost of learning to fly was not cheap and felt that to be proficient would require constant flying instead of a week here and there when the budget allowed.

Between June 1982 and April 1983 I took time out to reflect and felt that learning to fly just wasn’t going to eventuate. By April 1983 I decided to have another try but this time at the Royal Newcastle Aero Club at The Maitland. I did two flight hours in a Cessna 152 (VH-RNQ) which is pictured below which I found off the internet and one hour in another Cessna 152 (VH-RNN) which were both stationed at the Maitland Airport back then.

Cessna 152 (VH-RNQ) Maitland Airport

Cessna 152 (VH-RNQ) Maitland Airport

One of the things I heard along the grapevine from talking to other pilots back in those days was that student pilots were a flying schools way of making money. The more they could prolong your flight training the more advantage financially it was to them. It was hard to decipher if there was any truth to this theory but my budget wasn’t that big that I could continue forking out almost $80 (dollars) per lesson back in those days. So my last flying lesson was on May 5th 1983 in the single engine Cessna 152 (VH-RNQ). I found out later on that the Piper PA-28 (VH-UDX) had a fatal crash in Gloucester NSW on November 11th 1982 seen in the attached link.

I’m not sure whether the other aircraft I flew in are still flying today but they all had their own character and provided me with the technics required for my flight training whilst it lasted. The total amount of dual controlled flying hours I clocked up in my log book was 15.5 hours which I am glad I experienced at that time in my life.


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