Royal Air Force
Early Start
Jet Fighters
My first solo flight was in this single seater glider, a Kirby Cadet Mark 1, in 1949. There were no two seaters then. The instructor briefed you as you sat in cockpit and the winch, down at the far end of the field, then wound in the cable and towed you into the air.

There were no instruments in the aeroplane...just a big round yellow knob, which when pulled, released the towing cable. We were not taught to turn in those days...the final qualifying flight for a "Gliding A" certificate was a successful straight flight of 30 seconds endurance from cable release to touchdown.

Of course, one started with simple Ground Slides, just keeping the wings level with ailerons, then Low Hops, where the Winch Driver really flew your glider by controling the winding speed of the cable drum.

Then Medium Hops where you actually got to climb a bit and finally High Hops where you got to release the cable and glide on your own.

I was 16 years old and would have to wait 18 months before I was old enough to join the Royal Air Force.