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Pilots: Your First Solo

Sun Dec 25, 2005 1:39 pm

I just received 16R as a Christmas Present and the part about the old gents talking about their first solo always chokes me up. It makes me think about my first solo and when in 50-60 years when I am their age telling my grandkids about my first solo.

So lets have at it tell us about your first solo.

Mine was just a few days after my 16th birthday. I had gone and gotten my physical before my birthday so that I would have my student certificate ready at anytime. My first lesson after my 16th birthday was with a different instructor than my usual one as he was on vacation. The gent who was filling in and I went up and did some pattern work. After about 5 laps he told me to request a full stop taxi back. As we taxied back he asked to see my logbook and my certificate... he initialed both and said, "good luck, do two laps and I have my transceiver if you need me." "Also, It will be a little bit different with no weight in the right seat." As we reached the run-up area he hopped out, walked to the grass and gave me a thumbs up. And I taxied into position and blasted off for the first time by myself. Needless to say I couldn't stop smiling for my whole time solo. To this point still one of the greatest days of my life, exceeded only by the day I got my license.

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RE: Pilots: Your First Solo

Sun Dec 25, 2005 1:48 pm

My instructor hopped out and said "don't crash".

Yeah...thanks for the tip, Scott.  sarcastic 


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RE: Pilots: Your First Solo

Sun Dec 25, 2005 2:08 pm

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 1):
My instructor hopped out and said "don't crash".

HAHA that's awesome!

I learned to fly at KPVD and the day I soloed runway 34 was in use. All us small guys would depart form 34 at Bravo. Of course I was taxiing to depart and wouldn't ya know it a B757 was departing full length. I had the longest wake turbulence hold ever it felt like I was waiting for an hour! I was in a C152 and the parking braked didn't really work all that well. I was holding the toe brakes and I was so nervous my legs were shaking up and down hitting my knees on the instrument panel. I finally got cleared for takeoff and my nerves were going crazy even though I knew I was ready. Once that nose wheel came off the ground I was immediately relaxed. It was the most calming moment in my life at least up to that point. Skimming the tops of clouds shortly after the instrument rating took over that.

2 touch and goes and a full stop later and I was one shirt less in my closet.

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RE: Pilots: Your First Solo

Sun Dec 25, 2005 2:16 pm

I learned to fly at a small uncontrolled airport here in Jacksonville, Herlong Field (HEG). Went up in our 172, did 2 laps, my instructor hopped out with my camera, and hunkered down in the grass right next to the runway. I was awaiting this day for what seemed like forever, so I wasn't too nervous, but still had the usual jitters. As soon as I got wheels up, all of the training/money/effort just seemed more than worth it, and the smile spread across my face enough that I was glad I had an empty right seat  Smile. Three patterns later, landed, got my shirt cut, all was good.

Looking forward to one day telling that to my son, and perhaps he'll want to share the same sort of moment.

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RE: Pilots: Your First Solo

Sun Dec 25, 2005 3:36 pm

My instructor sprang it on me out of the blue. One day after doing some pattern work, he asked me how I felt about solo-ing as we taxied back to the Purdue ramp. I thought he was joking, but he opended the door, smiled, said I was ready, and got out. I got kind of lost trying to find my way to the runway, and ended up doing a complete 360 on the ramp before the kind ATC controller gave me a progressive taxi. Embarassment aside, the rest of the flight went great!
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RE: Pilots: Your First Solo

Sun Dec 25, 2005 3:47 pm

I love posts like this. Mine was at KOSH, runway 22 in a C150. I just turned 17 years old, my hands were so sweaty I could barely grip the yoke. The ironic thing is, I think I was more aware of communicating with ATC when I was with an instructor than my first solo. I forgot to acknowledge landing clearance, but if that was my biggest mistake I figure I did alright.
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RE: Pilots: Your First Solo

Sun Dec 25, 2005 3:49 pm

My first solo was only about a month ago. My instructor had me do some taxi back landings. He then had me taxi back to the ramp and he hopped out told me to go out and do some more. I started up, got ATIS, told the controller, "Centennial Ground, 63227 at Alpha with Bravo, student pilot solo, taxi back landings.", did a run-up and took off. It was so cool and I noticed a big difference in performance without my instructor there. On my second one though, I came just feet from hitting a flock of birds. I had to pitch forward to avoid them. Other than that, it was pretty cool.

Anyway my instructor is Bruce Koeller, I highly reccomend him, he is a great guy. He knows the head person at the UA training center here in Denver and I get to fly the sim on Wednesday morning since I was invited along.
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RE: Pilots: Your First Solo

Sun Dec 25, 2005 4:44 pm

Hello guys,

great thread!

I had my 1st Solo in July 2001! We flew from KGYR to KBXK, landed there on runway 17, taxied back to the holding point and then my instructor left the aircraft and said: "Good Luck!" CLosed the door! And before I could say a word he was gone... I took a deep breath, then entered runway 17 and took off and did my right hand traffic pattern! 1st Solo landing wasnt perfect, but I was happy that I did it! That was an amazing day! Will never forget it!
My next unforgettable "solo" was my 1st flight in the jet! The flight training after the type rating before you do your 1st landing with passengers! It was on 1st March 2004 in Hanover (EDDV/HAJ) on D-AHFN! We took off on runway 27R and did a right hand traffic pattern! That was absolutely incredible feeling! Big grin

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RE: Pilots: Your First Solo

Sun Dec 25, 2005 6:49 pm

Mine was at Westchester County (KHPN).

My instructor used a pen to sign me off, and gave it to me to sign a few things as well, with a warning not to lose it, as it was one of his favorites. What do I think I did? Yup, I lost it somewhere beneath the seat. Bad omen.

But nothing went wrong, I taxied out and did my landings on runway 34. I had a bag of mini-chessmen cookies along to munch on. I was halfway through my eighth pattern when my instructor got on the radio and said "you planning on coming down?" Turns out I had forgotten that he only wanted me to do three landings. Whoops. But he wasn't angry or anything - he said he knew that I knew what I was doing and that he wasn't worried about it.

That was a very fun day.

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RE: Pilots: Your First Solo

Sun Dec 25, 2005 7:04 pm

KLAL in Florida, beautiful day, C152, N49220. There's nothing like it! Especially after my first 5 lessons were horrendous as I got sick every time in the hot, turbulent Florida summer weather. A huge relief to find that my inner-ear thingies adjusted and I was not only starting to enjoy it thoroughly, but this worry about not being able to adjust and not having a career as a pilot was finally put to rest.

The only thing that came close to that experience was my first time in a big and powerful jet, doing circuit training (traffic pattern, touch and gos) on an empty 757. Yeeha!

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RE: Pilots: Your First Solo

Mon Dec 26, 2005 2:12 pm

KEDN Enterprise Municipal Airport Runway 5 in a Cessna 172, N84465. When I landed my shirt was soaked from sweat lol. It was pretty interesting because during my 3 traffic patterns about 7 aircraft decided to come and go including a piper apache and cessna citation jet. I was nervous but not that incredibly bad. The feeling of rotating and then climbing, looking to your left and your CFI not being there was awesome.
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RE: Pilots: Your First Solo

Mon Dec 26, 2005 3:43 pm

Instructor hopped out and said 'cya'. That was it, was an awsome experience
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RE: Pilots: Your First Solo

Mon Dec 26, 2005 4:12 pm

My first solo was in a 172 in July 04. We were training at a rather small, uncontrolled airport with an 1800' runway. I knew I would probably be soloing that day, so I made sure I knew everything I was supposed to be doing. I did a couple circuits with my instructor, then he got out, and I think I did 3 or 4 takeoffs and landings (we weren't allowed touch and go's) before coming back. It was an amazing flight, and I'll never forget how wonderful it felt to be up there all alone.

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RE: Pilots: Your First Solo

Tue Dec 27, 2005 3:57 am

I'll be doing my solo in the spring time at Barton (EGCB) near Manchester, i've got to do my Air Law exam yet though and studying is proving to be quite tiresome...and its only the beginning! I've just turned 16 and cant wait to go solo it sounds a great experience!
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RE: Pilots: Your First Solo

Tue Dec 27, 2005 4:44 am

MY first solo was at the beginning of the year at BFI. I remember we did three laps around the TP first, then my instructor hopped out of the C172 (N174GF), and also said "don't crash and have fun." I taxied out to 31R at BFI, and did two touch and goes with the third being a full stop. Between the 1st and 2nd landing , the 777LR landed on 31L. On the third landing, a DHL (I think) DC-8 touched down next to me. That third solo landing was one of the smoothest I have ever done. Great experience, and now I'm having a great time with my private!
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RE: Pilots: Your First Solo

Mon Jan 02, 2006 2:32 am

Did mine wjile attending Southern Illinois University. Go Dogs!!!! The beginning of the experience was similar to many of yours, but we had already shut down on the ramp when I got the go. Unknowingly, I had closed the door in my C152 with a bit of seat belt strap hanging out. Well, after rotation, the loudest damn noise started and I freaked! After I realized that I wasn't falling out of the sky, I stared analyzing. After some looking around, I looked down and saw the belt. I propped oped the door and brought the belt in. Then I started getting a case of the giggles after realizing what had happened.

Another funny thing that happened was on the first approach to landing, I was actually given clearance for takeoff when I was on downwind! My instructor made an illustration on my cutout to record the controllers slip.
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RE: Pilots: Your First Solo

Mon Jan 02, 2006 4:30 am

I did my training out of BFI in Seattle which is quite a crowded airport. For my first solo I went up and over to Bremerton which is an uncontrolled field with a nice large 5,000ft runway. It was July 4th in the morning so the skies were relatively empty. After a few circuits my instructor got out and I was off to do three touch and goes. It was like business as usual until the pplane lifted off the ground and I was like OMG I am flying a plane by myself. I think I had about 33 hours at that point.

As I was flying the pattern for the third time some guy comes in and does a circle to land approach without announcing his intentions. My instructor was freaking out in the grass and wanted to punch the guy for just busting in on me. Oh well, it worked out fine.
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RE: Pilots: Your First Solo

Mon Jan 02, 2006 9:25 am

My first solo remains one of my fondest flying memories. It was November 2003, at Gillespie Field (KSEE) just to the east of San Diego. The aircraft was good old N114FA, a C172 the mechanic once fondly called "The F*cking Death Trap." Man I loved that airplane. Anyway, I was sweating so much, I could barely gripe the yoke, and I remember holding short of 27R with my toes planted so hard on the brakes, I couldn't control the violent shaking of my legs.

Since the airplane was minus the 250 or so pounds of my instructor, it leapt of the runway and into the blue. I'll never forget that feeling. Flew a right pattern and was cleared to land midfield. Absolutely GREASED the first landing. The next two weren't nearly as impressive. In fact on number three I met the earth twice on a single approach. I can log that as two landings, right?

The icing on the cake was the kudos from both tower and ground after that last landing. Like vultures, as soon as I parked, the CFI's surrounded the airplane, and told me to kneel down, after which I was thoroughly soaked with two buckets of ice water. Then the chief pilot cut the back of my shirt to make room for those new wings I'd grown. What a great day  Smile

Can't wait to hear more of your stories!
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RE: Pilots: Your First Solo

Tue Jan 10, 2006 2:48 pm

My first solo was probably one of the times I had the most fun in an airplane! It was an early winter morning in Oklahoma. To this day I cannot remember a smoother day to fly. I will always remember my instructor getting out and saying to me nothing more than have fun! I ended up instructing at that same school and soloed probably 15 students before moving on to heavier aircraft! For each of those 15 solos I can remember getting out of the plane and leaving my students with two simple words...."have fun"!
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RE: Pilots: Your First Solo

Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:05 pm

I was on a training flight with a few circuits, and when we got back, my instructor asked me to taxi back to the clubhouse. It was a Friday, and I expected my first solo on the coming Monday, after a few more hours over the weekend. When at the club house he just asked if I am ready. I nodded, and he said: ONE circuit and then come back...

It was awesome to feel the much lighter C152 take off so quickly and have all control over it... Thanks for the trust, and my first solo, Bart!


P.S.: Four years later I flew on a commercial flight with Origin Pacific, and Bart was the first officer on the J31 on that (and a few subsequent) flights. Was great to see him again!
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RE: Pilots: Your First Solo

Sat Jan 14, 2006 8:02 am

Nice thread idea! Mine was August 9, 2005 in Cessna 152 N7339W, "The Nice 152" as I call it (we only have two at DCA in Dayton). One of the coolest days of my life. I was a little nervous when my instructor & I taxied back to Delta Connection Academy's ramp at DAY. We went in, he reminded me of what I needed to do & I headed back to the plane. I started it up, picked up my clearance & taxied to runway 18 at intersection Zulu. I did the run-up as usual & once I was cleared for takeoff, took a deep breath, gave my seat belt a tug (don't know why) & firewalled the throttle. Once I did that, my nervousness turned into excitement.

I got in the air & made left traffic for 18. I went through the pattern, landed & cleared the runway. I cleared at Zulu, made a 180 & held short at the same point I had previously taken off from. With a laugh, I said "There's one." I was cleared onto the runway & took off again, this time being given left traffic for 24R. Because the end of 24R is just past where 18-36 is located, it didn't take long for me to get back on the ground. I cleared the runway about halfway down & shortly thereafter, was up again. On the last leg, which was also for 24R, I was told to extend my downwind for RJ traffic on final for 24R. I looked for the traffic, but wasn't able to find it, which I told the controller & he offered to call my base. Shortly before he called my turn, I saw the CRJ on final. I touched down on 24R & let it roll out before clearing the runway. I don't exactly remember where I cleared, but it took forever for me to taxi back to DCA's ramp, which is on the East end of the airport.

When I got there, shut the plane off & opened the door, one of my friends (another DCA student), reached in & shook my hand, saying "Nice job! How'd it go?", to which I said "Coolest thing I've ever done." After talking for a minute, he headed back to his plane (he was doing a lesson after me) & my instructor came out. He's really laid back & obnoxious & this was no exception; I got an obnoxious "Hey hey!" out of him when he got to the plane. We tied it down & headed inside.

I was signing a couple forms for him & in the middle of that, he said to the 8 person ground school I had after I flew "Lady & Gentlemen, Josh Sprague, first solo!", to which people applauded & trying to fight back a laugh, I waved. A couple people & another instructor asked me how it went & I told them it was awesome. After my class, I got my shirt cut & also learned I wasn't totally following DCA's dress code properly- I had a dark grey undershirt & they're supposed to be white. The problem was fixed the next day, but my instructor's still trying to figure out how he's going to write on the shirt.  

I probably didn't stop smiling for a week. It was awesome to finally solo; I had had some setbacks at the start of the summer, including an ear infection which kept me grounded for 2 weeks, but to solo & get my wings was awesome. The thing was that I was having so much fun with the solo that part of me thought about going around on the last leg so I'd get a few more minutes to fly alone. Not wanting to risk getting in deep sh*t for whatever reason, I quickly thought better of it & stopped at three laps. Still, it was an awesome experience. Easy way to impress your friends, too. "I've soloed in an airplane!"  Wink


[Edited 2006-01-14 00:07:55]
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RE: Pilots: Your First Solo

Fri Jan 20, 2006 6:55 pm

Flying out of HNL left me a bit unprepared for the first solo. HNL is class B, one of the only ones that allows student pilots, but all the flight schools do pattern work at nearby class D JRF, Kalaeloa John Rogers Field... formerly Barbers Point NAS. Well I had logged numerous touch 'n' goes at JRF, but had never begun a flight there, and as anyone who flies into bigger airports knows, the modus operandi is a tad bit different than at small fields. At HNL we run-up on the ramp, then call clearance delivery. When we get ahold of ground he ushers us to the tower and into the air as fast as possible! After ditching, er, I mean letting out my instructor I taxied to the end of 22R (runways were turned around that day, another first for me, but not a big deal) and sat there, and sat there, and sat there...... There was only one other airplane doing pattern work that day and he had 22L, so I finally asked the tower if I would ever be cleared onto the runway. He candidly replied that he would get me airborne as soon as I informed him I was ready to go!
Thusly indoctrinated into ops at small towered airports, I made 5 circuits, most of them above average. On number 4 my trusty 172, N727EM, began exhibiting a problem that it couldn't "shake" for nearly 9 months: When the nose wheel touched down the whole plane began to shudder. That scared the bejesus out of me and I almost decided I'd had enough. I quickly convinced myself though that I had just done a poor job landing and went for one more. I got the same shimmy on number 5 so I went back for Kris and we headed home.
I guess I had all the same nerves and elation everyone else mentioned, but the real shock came back at the hangar at HNL. They cut my shirt and when we posed for some pictures I leaned back against the cowling, forgetting I was no longer clothed back there.... yikes that thing was hot!!!!!!
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RE: Pilots: Your First Solo

Fri Jan 20, 2006 8:19 pm

All my instructor said was "One circuit, you have one rule which you MUST MUST MUST obey...... Have fun!"

G-BFVU, Cessna 150, EGTE, 22nd October 2005.... Ah, the memories!!!
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RE: Pilots: Your First Solo

Wed Jan 25, 2006 6:35 am

I got called to the flying club one evening to go up with the CFI. I really thought that I was going to do my solo.

The wind was 20kts gusting 28kts and it was an awful flight, we were being blown around all over the place, and my landings were awful. We did about 4 circuits then landed and taxied in. I was told to be back at the club for around 0730 the next day.

Wind that morning was perfect, so we went up and did a couple of laps. My landings were perfect. After the 2nd landing, I was told to taxi back to the g/a area, but that it wasn't the end of my flight !!. I couldn't stop smiling. The instructor hopped out, and off I went.

I got to the hold and as I had been on the ground so long, the plugs had fowled up so when I was doing the mag check, the engine was spluttering a bit. I began to panick and thought about going back. Then I composed myself and remembered what to do, and then all was fine and off I went.

It was a great flight. I was whistleing the tune to "Those magnificent men in their flying machines" whilst flying around the circuit.

When I landed everyone that was in the club had come out to see me. It was quite emotional when I got out and everyone was clapping and saying well done.

I did it in this baby :-

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RE: Pilots: Your First Solo

Wed Jan 25, 2006 12:52 pm

I remember my first approach to minimums way more than my first solo!
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RE: Pilots: Your First Solo

Thu Jan 26, 2006 12:34 pm

Quoting 727EMflyer (Reply 21):
When the nose wheel touched down the whole plane began to shudder.

Good old shimmy damper (I think that's what my instructor called it).

That happened to me in one of our 152s while doing pattern work one day at DAY, I think just before the solo. I did a nice touchdown with the mains & then the nosewheel came down. The whole plane vibrated severely, almost shaking the yoke out of my hands. I said out loud "What the hell?!" & my instructor took the controls, popping a wheelie on the runway. I think it was at that point that I said out loud "Did I break it?" I thought I'd done something to screw up the nosegear & was paranoid until we were halfway through the next lap in the pattern. At that point, I told my instructor that I thought I'd done something to damage the plane. He got a kick out of that & burst out laughing.

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RE: Pilots: Your First Solo

Fri Feb 03, 2006 1:43 pm

Just completed my first solo this afternoon in a C150. Winds were 27003 on the surface, but probably up to 15kt above 500 ft AGL with a ceiling of 1600 ft and visibility of 5-6 miles. Did 5 circuits with the instructor, the first 3 of which I managed to completely hash (too flat; flare too abrupt; and flare too early resulting in floating). Next 2 were better after which he proceded to tell me to let him out on the taxiway and go up for 1 circuit.

Up until that point, there had been no one in the sky but as soon as I was off the ground, I had traffic behind me and once I was established on the downwind, had someone enter downwind, another cross overhead the field to join mid-downwind.

The flight itself was routine and in fact seemed anti-climatic. Just another flight. Didn't really notice the quicker take-off roll because of the reduction in weight; just a completely normal circuit. Nonetheless, it will be one of many more to come, but in the near future, it looks as if the weather gods are against me.

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RE: Pilots: Your First Solo

Fri Feb 03, 2006 2:11 pm

My 16th Birthday! It was a Piper Warrior N32145. I soloed with my Twin brother and then we had a big party at the house with lots of friends.

for a while there we could fly but not drive the car to the airport  Smile
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RE: Pilots: Your First Solo

Thu Feb 09, 2006 11:47 pm

hi guys,
Mine was way back in the mists of time in 1991, at Blackpool Airport when I was 17. I was lucky enough to win a RAF Flying Scholarship at school, that basically gave me 30 hours free (including 10 solo).
We started training on the monday morning with a view to the first solo on the Thursday afternoon so not very long... and they didn't tell us this at the time.
thursday morning was spent doing circuits, then in the afternoon we did a couple, then the instructor told me to stop the plane on the taxiway, he spoke to ATC for a minute or so, and then got out and said "right - go do that yourself...."

And off I went. I wish I'd had a dictaphone with me so I could hear myself talking away to myself all the way round - most of it swear words. I remember the worst bit being take off, thinking - well I'm up here now - I gotta bring this thing down....
Landing wasn't my finest ever, but I was in one piece, so can't have been too bad. When I taxied back to the flying school, all the mechanics rushed out to me, and started banging the plane, landing gear etc with spanners, pretending I'd broken the plane, which they do to all first time solo-ists as a joke, but at the time I thought I'd fcuked the plane up and was in a right panic.

Great experience - one I'll never forget.

btw, I did it in this baby....
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RE: Pilots: Your First Solo

Thu Feb 23, 2006 3:43 am

My first solo was after some pattern work with my instructor. After landing he told me to taxi to the ramp because he forgot some training materials. I was sitting in the 172 listening the the ground channel when I heard the tower tell me someone wanted to speak to me. It was my instructor in the tower(pre-9/11) telling me not to crash and we would have a beer to celebrate after 3 take offs and landings to a full stop. I was too busy with pre flight and take off check lists to get nervous. The plane flew a lot better without the added weight. The incoming USAirways jetstream heard the chatter and wished me good luck. After it was all over my instructor and the two jetstream drivers came over and shook my hand. It all took place at AHN.

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RE: Pilots: Your First Solo

Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:05 am

mine was at BKL in C-152 N94589. me and my instructor has gone up in the pattern for a few touch-n-goes when he told me that the next time around ask for a stop-n-go. we pulled over to the terminal and he hopped out and basically told me the plane was mine.

i basically took the C-152 back up into the pattern for several more touch-n-goes. i swear, when i was up there by myself, i double, triple, and quadruple checked my instruments over and over again. gumps check, instruments, gumps, instruments, etc... it was awesome!

Quoting SWAOPSusafATC (Reply 2):
I was one shirt less in my closet.

haha...i had forgotten about that. i was short 1 shirt afterwards too!

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RE: Pilots: Your First Solo

Sat Feb 25, 2006 2:47 pm

My first solo was to take place at RNM but winds were pretty gusty there so we flew 25 miles north to F70 (French Valley) and I did 3 around the pattern. I remember lifting off and just rocketing into the ski in the Archer. That extra weight not there was hard to adjust for the 1st time around.

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