Solo: To Take that first flight without your instructor. A right of passage for all student pilots. We all remember that first solo flight. Please enjoy Swayne Martins' experience... something he will remember for the rest of his life.
"Finally, after two failed attempts due to poor weather, I woke up excited and ready to go. With perfect, cloudless, blue skies and pretty low wind I finally had the chance to do my first solo flight. Needless to say... I was pretty excited! With only 4.4 hours under my belt going into the day, I soloed pretty early. I'm glad my instructor had confidence in me to fly the plane safely! I was so happy that my training was progressing so quickly.
Here is a video summary I created of the first solo, using my gopro camera:
By the time I began taxiing to runway 34, the winds were at about 6 knots, blowing perpendicular to the runway. I was second in line for departure, behind N16HV (another Tecnam aircraft). After he turned to his crosswind, I decided to go ahead and do my first solo takeoff. If you've never flown solo, it feels pretty different. I noticed on rollout how light the plane felt and how it quickly jumped off the ground.
It was a great feeling looking down over my shoulder and seeing my family on the ramp area jumping up and down. They were so excited for me, which made me feel great. I was so happy that I could solo for them, especially my grandfather, who played a key role in introducing me into aviation from the time I was born.
“Focus on where you want to go, Not on the fear of failure
or the runway left behind.”
or the runway left behind.”
When I took off I laughed to myself because I thought: "Wow, I'm up here flying this plane before I can even drive solo." Was definitely weird to be flying solo above the roads I can’t drive solo on yet! It was a pretty cool feeling, one I won’t ever forget.
Flying in the pattern was fun. I really noticed how quiet it is. I didn’t really feel nervous; I knew that I could fly that plane safely. You're all alone in the quiet plane with the occasional radio call... so it was pretty relaxing and really enjoyable. That’s one of my favorite parts of flying.
When you go up, all you have time to think about is flying that plane. You don't have the time to worry about what is happening on the ground with life stresses, people, schoolwork, etc. That is something that pilots should really be grateful for; there aren’t too many things in life that allow you to just leave the earth for a few moments and forget what you left behind. As Karlene said recently: "Your focus just on flying allows you to forget that “runway left behind.” That is something I know I will always love about flying and plan to cherish for a long time to come.
After the last landing of three, I taxied back to the ramp area, shut the plane down, and was greeted by my super excited family. Tons of photos later we were inside getting my endorsements down and had my shirttail cut off. They explained to me the story behind why your shirt tail gets cut off after your first solo flight which was pretty interesting.
Click HERE to learn why.
Overall, I had a great first experience flying solo. I really feel like I’m starting to get on my way towards becoming a pilot. I feel lucky to have experienced something that not many people around the world can say they’ve done: piloting an aircraft.
Thanks to everyone who has been supporting me both directly and indirectly by checking out my blog, twitter, and video. I appreciate all the advice and encouragement I’ve received.
I hope that my personal story can inspire other new/future aviators to continue on their path and never give up. Flying a plane solo feels so special. Just know that one day if you work hard, you will achieve your goals. When I started flight training, I had no idea that I would be soloing after only 4.4 hours (about a month’s training on weekends). Sometimes I look up into the sky when I’m at school and see contrails going overhead. It makes me jealous but at the same time totally motivates me to work hard so I can have doors open in my future.
If any of you have any questions about beginning flight training, how to study for the FAA Written, etc., please reach out to me. I’m more than happy to help. You can contact me via the following:
My Blog: From Private to Professional Pilot
Thanks everyone! A special thanks to Karlene: I really appreciate what you’re doing with your blog; it’s been a real inspiration for thousands like myself."
Swayne, you are so welcome! I hope everyone contacts you.
Tomorrow is another first.
Enjoy the Journey!