SAFA Skysailor Magazine

8 SKY SAILOR November | December 2023 I have trained many students over the last 32 years of microlight instruction, but this one was special. Robert is not only my first 15 year old to send solo, but my most special since he is my son. Of course, Robert has been exposed to microlights his whole life, with his first passenger flight with me at five years old. Not wanting to push him into flying, I waited for him to ask me to learn – which he did at 14 years old. Rob started in the front seat in July 2022, and I asked, “How was it to fly in the front seat for the first time?” “Much easier in the front seat,” was his comment, then he added, “…and a better view than Dad’s head.” While moving along a bit every week through in-air training, work- book and ground school, like an apprentice, Robert was handed the ‘crap jobs’ as he would say: re-fuelling, hangar cleaning, and having to listen to the ‘No Shit There I Was’ stories of the more experienced pilots. One advantage for Robert is that he’s l earning in a high traffic airport, at Shellharbour Regional Airport. Always mixing it with any- thing from Jabirus or Warriors to Lear jets, jump planes, or helicopters in the circuit at any one time. As you can imagine, with your A well-earned snack at Hall airstrip after almost 0ºC air for 3.5 hours, and Holbrook airport, on way to Benalla, Victoria – 9.35 hours that day most in front seat Inset: A one year old Robbie giving the thumbs up to microlighting Solo at 15 years old – he can’t even drive a car yet! by Tony Dennis, CFI Sydney Microlights,