UPDATE: Now that I’ve earned my wings, I’m still flying, still learning and the cameras are still rolling. This blog will remain open and active for those interested in the flight training process. However, if you want to see what I’ve been up to since becoming a sport pilot, come on over to EAA.org/abinitio to watch videos of my most recent flights. - Brady
It's no secret we are working toward my solo and Jason has hinted on a couple occasions that I am getting close. As soon as I tame these crosswind landings, it's the next big step. It's when Jason gets out of the plane and I take a couple flights around the pattern with an empty right seat. I've been told a pilot's first solo is an experience that's never forgotten. As a small child, I remember my grandfather telling me about his first solo flight in a Stearman and knew even back then how memorable and momentous such a flight is.
So, what is it like to solo? What thoughts go through your head? What emotions? I'd love to hear about your first solo flight.
Posted by Douglas
@ 03:07 PM, December 30
The first solo is an AMAZING feeling of accomplishment. I had the feeling afterwards that there is NOTHING I can't do if I only try!Oct. 5, 2007...I was only a little nervous, mostly excited! I was amazed at how quickly the 152 jumped into the air with only me in it. Once airborne, I swear I was laughing and giggling like a little kid! I concentrated on not turning crosswind until I had gained 500', leveled off at pattern altitude on downwind, 10 deg flaps at 80kts, trim for landing, reduce power abeam the numbers, turn base and add another 10 deg, turn final and add the last 10 deg when assured of making the runway. The best squeaker landing I've made yet!Flaps up, carb heat off, full power, and twice more around.WOOOHOOO! I DID IT!(What's left of mt shirt is hanging above my computer as I type this!)
Posted by Dave
@ 07:19 PM, December 30
I'll never forget the day I solo'd. My instructor and me did a couple touch and goes, then he asked for a full stop. As we were going by the FBO, he said he needed to use the bathroom. After he got out of the 150, he looked at me and told me to take it around a couple times by myself while he relieved himself.Rudder was pretty much ineffective as my knees were shaking so much, but I did do it and made some nice landings.I know my instructor never did use the facilities. He had as big a smile on his face as I did after it was over.To this day I'll never forget that day in 1979. I never did get my PPL, but will some day. Its been 20 years since I piloted a plane and am getting ready to start on my sport pilot cert. I'm going to get to solo again and look forward to it. Thanks Brady for this.
Posted by Marty K.
@ 09:59 PM, December 30
The year was 1969 and I was 17. 8.5 hours in the log book. My instructor exits the right seat of our C-152 and tells me to give him three of my best. He walks away,pauses then turns back toward the airplane. He reaches inside,while I sit with the engine at idle(and my feet buried in the toe brakes...)retrives his briefcase from behind the seat and mumbles something about "just in case!" Closes the door and gives me the thumbs up. I was soo in my own world of impending disaster,that I totaly did not notice when he walked to the rear of the plane,grabbed the elevator and moved it several times up and down. You can imagine what that did with the death grip I had on the controls. I'm sure I peed my pants that day. Three of the smoothest landings I ever made that day. I was a pilot...and It doesn't get any cooler than that.
Posted by Charles H. Creed
@ 10:04 PM, December 30
After a couple of touch and goes, I heard the instructor unbuckleing his seat belt. After a couple of touch and goes. I heard the instructor unbuckle his seat belt. He crawled out and away I went singing "Jesus Saviour pilot me". A day to never forget!!he crawled out
Posted by Simon
@ 04:22 AM, December 31
As we taxied off the runway my instructor said "haha I bet you think you could do that all by yourself!" I said (before I thought about it) "haha yeah no problem" - so he gets out, "Off you go then".... eeek!
Posted by Tim
@ 08:22 AM, December 31
My first solo went like this…My instructor and I were doing touch and goes at a controlled airport. During this time, my instructor kept asking me questions out of nowhere. He kept hands off the controls the whole time I was doing these touch and goes and answering his questions. We finally landed and taxied to a parking area. That's when he said "Do one more of those and taxi back here when you're done," and he opened the door and stepped out of the plane. I thought he was going to go get something then come back, but before he closed the door from the outside he looked at me and asked, "You think you can do those on your own?" I gasped, said, "Uh, sure," and he said, “You've been doing them on your own anyway. Just do what you've been doing and I'll see you back here." Before he closed the door he reminded me of one of the most important things when landing, I believe. He said not to feel pressure to HAVE to land if I’m not set up for it. That’s what a go around is for, he said. He closed the door, and I broke out into a sweat like I've never done before. My shirt became completely wet and I had a gazillion thoughts running through my head. I made it okay, but had one error/mistake... I forgot to contact the tower when I was abeam on downwind. I was so focused on everything else that I simply forgot, but other than that things went great, I lost my shirt tale, and as others have mentioned in their comments, it's a day I'll NEVER forget. It's also one of the most rewarding feelings I've ever had.
Posted by DJ Croce
@ 11:16 AM, December 31
It was September 20th, 2007. I had been struggling to find enough time/money for flight lessons for almost a year. Then again, when you're 16/17, it's hard to find time AND money for almost anything. My grandparents had watched me and my instructor do some t and gs, and some full-stops. My mom and siblings were there too. As my instructor climbed out of the plane, I looked over and saw that my father had made it too. I felt like that kid whose over-worked dad makes it to the game as he's about to hit the home-run and save the day. I was absorbing everything that was happening and hearing everything my instructor said clearly, but it wasn't until I was halfway downwind that I looked over to ask him a question and realized the right seat was empty! Then it finally sunk in that I was actually soloing! I landed, lost the shirt-tail, and pleasantly ignored my sister's horrid camera skills. Most Importantly, my dad said he was never more proud of me than that day. I can't wait to get my license. I bet it's gonna be like that day all over again.
Posted by Chris
@ 02:55 PM, December 31
Brady,I watched your landing videos and you are very close to your first solo. Your instructor could ask you to solo as early as your next flight. You are doing a great job! Keep up the excellent work!Chris
Posted by Paul Aseltine
@ 04:59 PM, December 31
Hi Brady. I was dreaming for over 40 years to be able to solo. Well on that day, I did not know till I got home that Saddam Hussein was captured, I scheduled 2 flights. In the morning I was flying the Cessna 152 and nothing clicked, I was discouraged. On the same day, in the afternoon I was flying a Cessna 172. Unlike the C152, the C172 was much easier for me. It was like switching from a sport's car to a full size car. My instructor asked me if I was ready. I answered "why not" even though I still wasn't totally recovered from my morning flight. He stepped out and told me to do 3 takeoffs and landings. He was on his intercom in contact with me. It was strange and different to be alone. I first thanked God for allowing my dream to come true and asked Him for help. I went down the runway and the plane seem to liftoff by itself. What a feeling I had, it was wonderful but I soon realized that I had to eventually Land. I spoke aloud to myself that I have done this by myself many times and that if I apply everything that I learned, things will be OK. I think mysecond landing was the better one. On my final landing I bounced 3 times. The feeling of doing it on your own is awesome and can not be totally expressed unless you have experienced it yourself. Brady, I saw you videos and there is no doubt in my mind that you can do it also. Your instructor will never let you go on your own unless he has the same feeling I have. One clue that you are getting close will be when you will take a short written test. Best wishes on your future SOLO FLIGHT. By the way have a HAPPY NEW YEAR.
Posted by CB
@ 08:34 PM, December 31
I did my first solo in 2007, and remember almost all of it, from taxying onto the runway to taxying off again!The strangest part is definently when you turn in the pattern and look to your right to an empty seat with a clear view of the ground etc! And the nerves you feel before taxying onto the runway are unbeleivable! But they vanish just after your wheels come off the ground and you realise "this is it!"I could go on for ages to be honest! Goodluck!
Posted by Jeff Franks
@ 12:37 PM, January 01
Nerve-racking, fun, horrifying, exciting, vomit inducing....you know...every emotion known :) My experience with my solo is here: http://n1451f.blogspot.com/2006/04/just-another-day-at-airport.htmlIt's been 2 years, but I'm getting back in the air this weekend. hope to finish up soon, so I'm loving your videos!jf
Posted by Jeff Van Ark
@ 01:13 PM, January 01
July 3rd 2007. My lesson plan was to work in the pattern on perfecting my landings. After three good landings with the instructor he told me to taxi back to the hanger. As we taxied past the tower my instructor asked me to grab my log book and medical. At that time I knew what he was planning. He signed the documents and warned me about the differences in performance with one less person in the airplane. He then jumped out and told me to bring his airplane back in one piece. Winds were light from the east and runway 10 was active. The schools hanger is on the other end of the field. I taxied the 5500+ feet to the end of 10 and had lots of time to think about what was about to happen.When I got to 10 I started working on the pre-takeoff checklists and the training took over. Only after I got 500 feet agl and I had some time to realize where I was...alone in an airplane in the pattern! I turned downwind and then the checklists started again, GUMPS, numbers, 1500 rpm, 10 degrees flaps, turn base, 25 degrees flaps, base, 40 degrees flaps, touchdown. I even managed to make all of the appropriate radios calls! Did it two more times and it got easier each time. I taxied back to the hanger and got out of the airplane with weak knees.I did it!
Posted by Jason Bigler
@ 11:37 PM, January 01
having been around planes and pilots all my life and recently gone through my light sport solo, all i can tell you to do is not even think about the fact the your instructor just left the plane. imagine it as just another afternoon of pattern work and do everything exactly the same as you have been doing and you will be fine. i have to say, i have 15 hours in that very Remos you are flying at that very airport (camp councelor for the EAA Air Academy last summer) and you couldnt have a better platform or place to be doing this.Good LuckJason
Posted by Joseph Soter
@ 01:16 AM, January 02
I was fortunate enough to solo this past Labor Day at my home airport in Corona, California. This was my third summer working as a lineman at the airport's flight school, so I was ecstatic to have accumulated enough money and flight time to finally join the ranks of the other pilots on the field. I had family and friends watching, and when I taxied out for my first takeoff after my CFI hopped out I called on the radio "Corona traffic, Cessna 630 taking off runway 25, FIRST SOLO, Corona." After my third landing I realized that the size of the group watching me had grown- turns out that radio call lured out quite a few pilots, and they all had the same glowing smile on their faces that I had when I finally hopped out.I wish you the best of luck, Brady. I'm sure you'll knock 'em dead.
Posted by Ron H
@ 08:38 AM, January 02
I had two first solos.The first was YEARS ago, when I was 19 years old and first going though flight training. I can remember it like it was yesterday. But due to a number of things and circumstances at the time, I flew one more time and stopped my training. (Side note: the instructor cost $8/hr at that time!)The second time was 14 years ago when I was 40 and had decided to finally get that private pilot certificate I had given up on so many years before. Had lost a brother to cancer and made up my mind that life is too short to not take the time to do the things that really matter.I pretty well knew it was coming the second time. When my instructor got out at the FBO he said to take it around the pattern three times, two T&G’s and a full stop, I was really ready. On downwind the first time around the patch I can remember distinctly saying out loud to no one in particular “I can’t believe I’m doing this!”, something I still do when I’m enjoying that great sense of freedom I feel on almost every flight. By my third landing, weather was quickly moving in and by the time I made that full stop, taxied to the ramp and tied down the airplane, conditions were IFR. I’ll never forget that feeling of accomplishment and neither will you.That Remos doesn’t use much runway as it is but it’s going to be off the ground in 300 feet without your instructor on board. You’ll be at pattern altitude much faster too. Have fun and can’t wait to here about it!
Posted by Rolf Grandstaff
@ 09:43 AM, January 02
Brady, I did my Sport Pilot solo last spring. When my instructor departed the airplane beforehand, he told me, 'After you solo, we're having a marsh mellow roast, I'll supply the marsh mellows.' (What?!) As I taxied to the runway, I definitely had a case of the 'butterflies' because while I THOUGHT I could do it, I didn't really KNOW. I told myself, 'I'm gonna do this but if I don't like the way the landing is shaping up, I'm doing a go around.' Knowing that you can do the go around if needed helps relax you a bit because a landing doesn't have to be a 'do or die' proposition. If it looks good, put 'er down, if it doesn't, roll on the throttle, and just go around. I had 3 landings, 1 go around, and no marsh mellows. FYI, my dad was an armorer with the 41st Bomb Group (B-25s) in the Pacific during WWII. Hang in there...
Posted by William Nicholl
@ 09:47 AM, January 02
My solo happened on July 31, 2006. Landings were just killing me. I couldn't maintain any consistentancy and I think that my CFI, Barry Miller, is a saint for the patience that he exhibited. What helped me was getting away from it for a while. A combination of my personal schedule, my CFI's schedule, and aircraft maintenance kept me from flying for about 6 weeks. We got back at it and all of a sudden, the landings were smooth and uneventful. The time off gave me the opportunity to forget about my anxiety of not soloing yet. My CFI told me from the beginning that I would decide when I soloed. And it happened. Barry got out of the plane and told me to do as many T & G's that I wanted to do. He just needed to be home by 7:30 PM. I was excited and a little apprehensive but I executed 5 pretty good landings at the home airport. The thing that got me was it was so quiet. Just me, the airplane and the field. And the only voice that I heard was mine, calling out all of the events during the landing sequence to myself. It was great. On my drive home, I think that I called everyone in my cell phone contact list and told them every detail. The great thing about it is that the thrill hasn't lessend one bit. There's still that feeling of excitement every time I plant the landing gear smoothly on the runway.
Posted by Mary Honeck
@ 10:16 AM, January 02
You will NEVER forget your solo. I had been ready to solo, but the weather wouldn't cooperate (low ceilings or too much wind). Finally, it looked like it would all come together, but it was going to be the 4th of July. My CFI agreed to come in on a holiday so I could solo. The most vivid memory is looking over at the right seat, seeing it empty and realizing that if I screw this up, I'm dead.But, writing this 10 years later, obviously it all worked out.Good luck.
Posted by Chad
@ 02:20 PM, January 02
Flying solo is an experience that will never leave your memory. When my instructor left the cockpit for the first time, a bought of fear rose over me because I realized that no one else is there to correct me. My heart was racing with excitement as I push the throttle forward. After rotating and becoming airborne the feeling was of utmost freedom. The fear left me and the training took over. After the first landing, which was a little bumpy, the next couple came pretty easy. I finished that day with a sense of accomplishment and amazement, I flew a plane by myself. Jason is a great instructor and a good guy. Good luck.
Posted by John Compton
@ 05:19 PM, January 02
I soloed on 11 Nov 07 in Alamogordo, NM. The following post is from my blog after that day:With 12.8 hours of dual instruction under my belt, I was turned loose yesterday to terrorize the skies of Alamogordo, NM on my first solo. :)Unlike some folks, I knew fairly well in advance when my solo would occur. However, that didn't stop me from waking up at 2:30 AM that morning. I realized I had forgotten to complete the Holloman Aero Club's aircraft-specific test and the USAF Standardization test. I got dressed, quietly snuck out of the house so as not to wake anyone else, and drove to the base to take the tests. I finished around 4:30 AM and headed home. A mixture of apprehension and unbridled excitement prevented me from getting anymore sleep that night, though.Everyone else awoke around 7 AM, and we all dressed and went out for breakfast.At 10:30, we headed out to Alamogordo-White Sands Regional Airport (ALM) to meet up with Phil. I saw that N7872N was in the middle of some pattern work on our arrival. The student scheduled before me had been due to solo that morning also, but I saw that Phil was occupying the right seat still. I thought perhaps that they had gotten a late start flying, but it turns out that the other guy didn't pass his FAA pre-solo written exam so his solo was canceled. This began to worry me, as my test had yet to be graded by Phil. *gulp*As we waited, John Darden (my AOPA Project Pilot mentor) arrived in N6464B, a 1957 C-172, from Las Cruces. I had invited him to fly in to witness my big day.So now I had him here, my Dad who had driven 450 miles from Phoenix, and I was worried that I might not have passed the test to solo. What a crappy feeling! Everyone headed over to the local FBO to grade my three tests to make sure I was indeed eligible to solo. Much to my relief, I passed all three! :DWe proceeded back out to the ramp and I pre-flighted the plane while everyone else chatted. Once I was done, Phil and I strapped in for some quick pattern work. I discovered that one of the ear seals on my David Clarks had fallen off at some point. A quick check of the cockpit and my bags were fruitless, and I was forced to fly with a rental headset from the club. To add injury to insult, they had been used by the previous student who had failed his test. He had inadvertently grabbed a youth set before flying, not realizing that they were color-coded. So here I was, ready to solo, wearing an unfamiliar headset that was too small! Not an auspicious start...However once we took off, I felt like I was really on my game that morning as all my landings were right on the center line...of course, the calm wind conditions helped!After we had done 4 trips around the pattern, we landed to a full-stop, and taxied back to the parking spot. A quick sign off of my logbook, and I was on my way back out to the aircraft alone.Surprisingly, I felt rather calm. I ran through my checklists as I had been taught, and began to taxi out to the run-up area. It was then that the local medivac helicopter arrived to do some pattern work! Now if that's not a bad sign for a student pilot on his first solo, I don't know what is! Heh.As I taxied out, I called the helicopter on the CTAF: "7BC, this Cessna 7872N. Be advised that I am student pilot on my first solo. If you don't mind, I'd appreciate it if you'd stay in the area...you know...just in case!"The helo pilot responded with a chuckle in his voice (and laughter in the background) that they would be happy to oblige.I completed my run up, and then made my call. I taxied on to the runway and began my takeoff roll.I pulled back at 65 knots, and 72N leaped into the air. She climbed considerably faster than I was used to, even though Phil only weighs 165 at best. I was taught to climb at Vy (95kts), but I had a hard time keeping the speed under 100. I reached 4900' MSL and began my crosswind turn. I leveled out at the pattern altitude of 5200' and turned downwind and made my radio call.During the downwind leg, I actually took time to look out the window at the view I was afforded. It was really then that a big smile came to my face as I realized no one was sitting next to me.My approach to landing was good and I landed a tad past the numbers.videoI did a total of three takeoffs and landings to complete my first solo, and logged 0.4 PIC time.And I will deny to my dying day that I was singing Sinatra's "Come Fly With Me" while I was up there...you can't prove anything. ,)
Posted by Vahan G. Bedeian
@ 09:46 PM, January 02
When I glanced over at the right hand seat, and it was empty, then I knew I had reached a milestone in my training.
Posted by Grant
@ 09:05 AM, January 03
Your solo is a blur, it's like your instructor is there, talking you through it, you talk to yourself a lot, but that's OK, we all did it.
Posted by John
@ 10:03 AM, January 03
On the day of my solo, my CFI asked my how I felt, which I thought was odd, so I replied fine how do you feel? He said he needed to go to the bathroom, and would I please take him back to the FBO. When we got there, he said to me to go ahead on my own, that I was ready. Brady, I can honestly say that I was prepared. That did not mean I wasn't a bit scarred. All the other pilots were right, it will be a day I will never forget, nor will you. I will never forget 12/31/2008 either, that is the day I got my license!!! Go luck and clear skies!! John
Posted by Randy
@ 04:34 PM, January 03
Brady,I actually ended up having to solo twice in my journey to my PPL. The first was 12/19/1971, I was in the Air Force stationed in Gila Bend, AZ. I had started my training in IL prior to enlisting in the Air Force and picked up my training at the local airport with the gentleman that was the FBO there. On that day we went up in his 150 and did some pattern work. After a half hour we landed and he told me to taxi over to the gas pump. Once we stopped he climbed out and told me to take it around one time and bring it back. It was an exciting time for me.Unfortunately soon after that I was forced to suspend my training due to money and raising a family. Now we're in 2008 and I've have the money to start again. Over the years the only thing I got to fly was my computer with MS Flight Simulator. When I started back I had intended to get a Sport Pilot certificate and was headed in that direction. My instructor left the school to return to Norway and the plane was grounded for a few weeks so I re-evaluated and found that I had about 30 hours total by now and decided instead to go ahead push for the PPL. My second solo date came on 8/15/2008, nearly 37 years after my first. It was no less exciting and no less important to me. I finished my check ride on 12/13/2008 and and now proud to be a private pilot!You'll have that solo soon Brady and you'll be more than ready as Jason has prepared you well.
Posted by Chris
@ 04:48 PM, January 03
Brady, Don't sweat the solo. When your instructor says you are ready...you are ready. Mine came as we were heading back to the pattern and my instructor asked for my medical. He endorsed it and my log book, told me to land and exit at charlie so I could let him out. I should have gotten the clue when I saw that he had a handheld radio with him when we left. I was nervous as hell but, as I said in an earlier post, I just looked around the airplane and realized..." I got this!" Everything you have learned isn't going to exit the aircraft with your instructor. He has confidence in you as do all of us who have been watching your progress and eagerly await the Solo video....You got this!
Posted by Andrew
@ 02:40 AM, January 04
SOLO! :)....Here's the account of my adventure if your interested :) The lesson started off with the usual circuit practice with my instructor (Paul). It was a little windy, but i stuck 4 landings, after shooting touch and goes etc. Everything seemed to click. On the fourth one, after touch down, Paul said "we'll make this one a full stop". I thought to myself, "that was a good lesson", and proceeded to taxi the plane off the runway, and head back to the hanger. It was then that i heard those immortal words! "why don't you do one on your own". I couldn't believe it, my first response was "yeah? really?, ok then, lets go!" When Paul got out of the plane and i realised i was on my own my heart raced a bit, and i said a quick prayer, "Lord, please don't let me bend Pauls Aeroplane". Paul gave me some last words of advice, "mate, remember, keep your approach high, not flat, 70kts, don't round out too early, if it's not lookin good, go round, and oh yeah, have fun!". He then said, "one other thing, without me in the plane she's a rocket ship!, you'll notice the difference, so you'll have to stay ahead of it." So i closed Paul's door, ran through my pre flight checks, and did my taxi call, "Warnervale traffic, Jabiru 466niner taxing to runway Two Zero for Circuits, Warnervale" , and couldn't believe what i was about to do. Once i lined up on the centre line and throttled up, the take off roll seemed real short without Paul in the plane. I seem to leap off the ground, airborne within about 50m or so, and the 300ft check all clear, fuel pump off, flaps up, and turn onto crosswind happened real quick. The next thing i noticed was a full power climb at 70kts was showing almost 1000ft on the VSI! WOW! we were going up stairs real fast! Deep breath, level out at 1000ft, check all clear, turn onto the downwind leg all at the same time. Once levelled out and in trim everything settled down, and the training kicked in. Take a look out the left window and moments later, ("wow, everything is happening quick"), time to do the pre landing checks, and base turn radio call. "Warnervale traffic Jabiru 466niner turning base runway two zero, warnervale". "Now", i thought to myself, "Check all clear ok, fuel pump on, carby heat out, for the descent, setup the descent, power back to under 2000rpm, first stage of flap, setup attitude picture, should be 80kts, power back to 2000rpm and re trim". "Phew! on base and the descent is looking good", "now, half way in check 750ft, check all clear and lower full flap, retrim, turn final approach, looking for 70kts". "Approach is looking ok, right on 70kts. "Now line up on the centre line, slight cross wind, use the rudder, oop's getting a little low, squirt of power to get over the trees, carby heat in, deep breath, look down the runway, ok, power off, round out, hold off, hold off, hold off, squeek!, mains on the ground, now lower the nose wheel, squeek, i'm down! ". I taxied the plane back to the hanger, and shut it down. Paul opened the passenger door, with a big smile and said "congratulations mate", "well done" , "how’s it feel". At that point, i felt a bit of a dill, and the water welled up in my eyes, and i said "thanks Paul" i 've been waiting to do that all my life".
Posted by Pavel Pospisil
@ 09:59 AM, January 05
Brady, this blog is simply amazing! Absolutely great idea how to share the first flight experience! OK, I am 35 I am from Czech Republic and my first solo flight was in July, very hot day so it was very hot in cockpit when my instructor said, ok Pavel, now I will go and you fly alone..well, this second I will never forget! The aircraft with myself only was climbing much faster so I completely forgot to follow the altitude and I was above the level saddenly and I had to go down..but this was only one thing - I landed perfectly and repeat the circle. Believe me, you will hear Jason beside you anyway during your solo!!chichi/ wish you great flight!!
Posted by Matt
@ 10:51 AM, January 05
I remember my first solo. Half-way through the circuit, I was informed of a Boeing 737 on final approach, and to give him 6 miles spacing for vortex wake. I'd never really covered this, or ventured that far downwind. I had no idea where 6 miles would be, so nervously informed the controller I was ready for base after what seemed like an age.Then, when turning final, the sun had suddenly appeared very low in the sky and I couldn't see the runway. I had to venture along very slowly, using a factory as reference, before the runway appeared. All great fun though, and something I'll never forget!
Posted by Mac McLernon
@ 08:21 PM, January 05
Wow, Thirty-six years ago - time 'flies' (excuse the pun) when yer havin' fun. What I remember about my solo was sometime during the flight I glanced to my right and noticed the empty seat. That really put everything into perspective.In 1973,I soloed at Long Beach Airport, Long Beach, CA. My instructor was Ken Halls.
Posted by Richard
@ 01:58 PM, January 07
Well, I had become really frustrated because, like you, my landings left A LOT to be desired...and I had hit "the plateau", and even talked to my Dad about thinking that this flying thing may not be for me (in our family, the males are expected, almost required, to get their PPL)...Dad told me to hang in there and everything would be AOK.The next day, I had a lesson and interestingly enough it was Halloween. I have to admit the landings were passable. My CFI and I were talking through some stuff and just as I was turning crosswind he said "What do you think about soloing today", I said "I don't know"...he said that he didn't want that answer and I told him YES. Earlier that morning, I had forgotten to pick up my wallet (which had my Student Pilot Cert AND my Drivers license) and put it in my pocket. So it was the fastest I've ever made it to my house, change shirts, and back to the airport...3 around the patch with him, 3 on my own and the last one was at NIGHT...on the video, they are all joking on how they were going to tell me that you can't solo at night, but decided that I had too much stress already. After the shirt was cut, it was off to my favorite restaurant and I had a story to tell in classes the next day (I was only 16)Keep it up and keep the greasy side down
Posted by Gerry Hough
@ 03:49 PM, January 07
It was 17 years ago and I remember it like it was this morning. When the instructor got out of the plane I thought no big deal.As I taxied and started to rotate I thought no big deal. When airborne and climbing out I was too busy to think. On downwind I didn't know whether to laugh, cry or poop my pants. Then back to flying. I kept repeating 3 things. Fly the airplane, I can do this, and TCB.BTW you will be amaized how much earlier the plane takes off and how long it wants to float before landing with the weight of the instructor gone.Good luck
Posted by Larry
@ 04:35 PM, January 08
Hey Brady, it's good to see you back in the air. I just started and I've got 4 hrs toward my Sport Pilot license under my belt. Like you, I'm training in the Remos and I'm amazed at how responsive that plane is. I'd been wanting to take lessons for a long time. When I found your video blog I would watch each flight over and over. My wife saw how interested I was in watching your progress and decided to give me the extra push I needed to move forward by giving me the lessons as a Christmas gift. I think your videos are giving a lot of people the inspiration to start flying. Thanks!
Posted by Jason
@ 10:49 PM, January 08
The greatest day of my short life!!
Posted by Eric Marshall
@ 12:33 AM, January 09
I started taking lessons on my 12th birthday in 1966. Some more birthday money got me a second 1/2 hour in the champ. My logbook shows a few lessons on each birthday for the next few years. I was so infected with aviation! Ever since I stumbled upon some old flying magazines in the garage while we were moving when I was 7. My new stepdad had flown a Cessna 140 up in Alaska in the late 40's early 50's but was not "into it just then". My 16th birthday was on a Saturday and I wanted to solo and fly an airplane before I could drive a car. I was training at Hawthorne in LA. On the day I was doing lousy and when the time came the instructor was very hesitant but since it was my only chance he said I would probably be OK and asked for my paperwork. At that time you were required to have an FCC radiotelephone operator'a permit and mine had not come dispite having sent for it months before. He breathed a huge sigh of relief and said,"Oh, well, I can't let you go without that!" Probably saved my life.When we got back to the FBO my friend who had driven me tried to console me as I sat on a bench and bawled and bawled. I went on to get the driver's license that Monday with no problem. I wrote the FCC complaining about not receiving my permit and they sent it to me with the envelope showing it had been returned 'addressee unknown'...my name was different than the one on the mailbox so the substitute letter carrier that day didn't deliver it and sent it back. I didn't fly until the next summer when I began flying gliders out on El Mirage Dry Lake. Auto towing with an old Chrystler 300. A co-worker asked me to show him where he could learn to fly and I took him around to the Southern CA airports I was familiar with. When we got to Hawthorne the FBO I had trained with was too busy and arrogant to spend anytime with a couple of teenagers so we went across the driveway and were swept off our feet by a smooth talking Texan flight instructor that had me soloing in about 3 weeks! Yes my knees knocked on downwind too in that C-150! Three landings in an 8-12 mph croswind. Still 16 but not on my birthday. I went on to get the private over the next 6 months while still 17. I got lost in my schooling and didn't make enough money to fly and raise a family and to top it off I married a lady that didn't like flying! How dumb is that! So I didn't for 25 years. After marrying off my youngest daughter I went back in 2000 and got signed off 31 years and 1 day after having passed the private checkride. Over the next few years I worked on the Instrument rating and then in June 2006 passed the Comm checkride. In Febrary 2007 I became a parnter in a Cessna 180 and had a blast flying it all over the west coast until March 30 of this year when I mistakenly turned my gas off on a GUMPS check gone bad and crashed destroying the airplane and putting myself in the hospital for 3 months! It has been a long recovery but I discovered that I have so many friends! Careing friends that brought me energy healing me rapidly that allowed me to get current again in December. So whenever your engine is not doing what you think it should be, Yell GAS!! and confirm that you have some going to the engine! Sorry to ramble here but I am enjoying your journey. Thanks and Blue Skies
Posted by Lou Reid
@ 02:09 PM, January 14
01-14-2009, today was the day!1300 zulu, -16 celsius, there's FROST on the ICE that covers the SNOW, brrr! Most people south of the Alaskan bush would have stayed in bed, but I've been snowed out for a month now with NO air time. So... when the snow stops, the ceilings open up and I see those magical letters 'VFR' , well, I thought briefly about being found frozen to the prop come the spring thaw, naw, they'll find me before that, let's go!1 COLD preflight, metal planes get c-c-cold3 touch and goes1 simulated engine out landing from downwind1 last minute go-around1 full stop, and as we taxi back my instructor casually asks "how'd you like to solo today?"Feels strange to be in the plane alone. And wouldn't you know it, the traffic picks-up too. Record ATIS and dial up clearance, taxied out behind a King Air. Switched to tower, hey, it's weird to be able to put my clipboard on the seat. After that, I consciously try to avoid looking at the empty seat! 'Cleared for T-O RWY 33', take the runway, hold the centerline to 60 kt and pulled her up. Established climb at 80 kt and started turning left crosswind at 1100 ft. Reach pattern altitude, turn downwind, hold altitude and cut power a little more, she seems to climb and cruise faster with only one aboard. Abeam 33, throttle to 1800, check airspeed and add a notch of flaps. Forgot LCGUMP, uuuhhhg! 'Cleared to land 33'! Turn base, one more notch and check the runway picture, airspeed and altitude. Turn final, last notch, adjust power and line it up right down the center. Touch down just past 28-10 to avoid any possible turbulence from departing 28 traffic. I'm down, hold the centerline, retract flaps, throttle to climb and we're off again! 2 more trips around, pretty much the same except extending downwind slightly on #2 for a departing airliner, and remembering LCGUMP. 3 solo trips around the pattern! whoohoo!I may sometimes forget what I had for breakfast, but I can assure you, this memory is there to stay!
Posted by Brady Lane
@ 03:10 PM, January 14
Congratulations Lou! That has to be an incredible feeling. Hopefully, I'll get to experience it myself soon. Thanks for sharing the exciting news with us! I've really enjoyed reading everyone's response to this post — especially yours because it is dripping with excitement. Again, Congrats!
Posted by Mike C
@ 03:03 PM, January 16
My instructor had commented a few times that he thought I would solo soon. We scheduled a lesson for Tuesday and another for Wednesday which was to be my solo day.My FBO was at a controlled airport. That morning as I taxied to the hold short line at the FBO to request permission to taxi to the active I heard a call from another plane I had never heard before. I turned to my instructor and asked "did I hear the term "solo" in that taxi request"? He said yes and then told me it was not a bad idea to let the tower know you were about to make your solo flight. That way they may take a little more note of your presence in the pattern and try to make things as smooth as possible. I filed that away for future reference.Tuesday was a very nice day and we did a lot of air work and several landings. When we taxied up to the FBO my instructor casually commented that the weather for tomorrow didn't look very good and that today would be a good day to solo! I half expected this and came prepared. My preparation was a bit unusual. Both my father and uncle had been pilots for Northwest. Both were gone now so they couldn't share my experience directly. However, I had my father's pilot's certificate in my wallet and was wearing a belt that was once my uncle's. I figured a little extra help in the cockpit might help. I was surprised that I was much calmer than I expected to be. My instructor got out and I pulled the canopy on the Diamond DA20 closed. My one thought was "Oh God, please don't let me embarrass myself and my family and my CFI"!I called called Ground Control and requested permission to taxi. I slipped in the word "solo" when I identified my plane. I got the usual reply and was cleared to 28R. The first two takeoffs and landings to a full stop went fine except I floated a little on the first landing. Ahhhh, I was about 180 lbs. lighter in the right seat and allowed for that on the next landings.As I taxied to 28R for the third takeoff I got a call from the tower I didn't want to hear. They told me to switch my third landing to 28L because they would mowing the grass next to 28R by the time I got back. Would it have been asking to much to have them wait 10 minutes before mowing? That meant switching from a right to left downwind. I was a little nervous about flying across the departure end of active 28L but figured they knew what they were doing and that they knew I was on my solo. The closing of 28R meant they were down to one runway and had to funnel all the traffic to 28L. I was not surprised when they told me to extend my downwind for landing traffic and watch for wake turbulence. The landing was uneventful. The taxi to the FBO was a little longer because of the runway switch. When I got there my instructor and the FBO owner were there to welcome me. All was well!Do they have a sound proof rubber room for flight instructors to go to when their students solo?
Posted by Harry P.
@ 02:06 PM, January 17
I just realized as I write this that I soloed 40 years ago this year, but I still can recall the details. I remember not expecting it, we were just practicing TO&L, when Dave my instructor asked me to stop near the pumps. He told me I was ready and to take it around, and got out. From then on I was just totally focused on procedure, checklists, and trying to think ahead to the next step. Everything was flawless, at least to me. The Cherokee did perform differently without the extra weight, but it wasn't anything I couldn't handle. I was confident and everything just flowed. I think I thought about what I was doing a little on downwind but then it was time for the landing phase. I recall being a little high on final and throwing in a little side slip to compensate. I taxied back and shut down and got out...and at that point I realized what I had done and my knees turned to rubber. It was great! I was on a cloud for probably a week. You'll do fine!
Posted by Ben T.
@ 07:46 PM, April 10
OK, am I the only one who was so nervous that I set off the stall warning on my the to pattern altitude? I don't think I ever put the nose down quicker than that time. Anyhow, it all went well. Flew a bit more before I had to give it up (29 years ago - out of KILM). Started again last summer (now out of KARB) but, again, had to pause. Still a plane nut, though. Planning to pick it up again when the economy does the same. C'mon stimulus package!