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.
The first time Darby Bradshaw from Flight For Control, and Flight For Safety took her first flight.
Enjoy the Journey!
Thanks so much for posting this Karlene!ReplyDelete
I've already gotten a few more emails from other student/aspiring pilots around the world looking for some advice, which is awesome! I'm so glad that I can help out and show how I'm doing it!
I love what you're doing with your blog, you have a great base of followers who really care deeply about this topic.
Martins Aviation / From Private to Professional Pilot
Swayne, This is GREAT!! You are doing an awesome job and it's just started. Keep up the great work!Delete
If he only had 4.4 hours logged, there is no way he was ready to solo, not under the current FAA guidelines. I hope it was a typo. 20 or more years ago, instructors regarded it as a test of their teaching prowess to solo a student early, usually with less than 10 hours. Now the FAA "suggests" that students should be much more prepared, having done a long list of airwork including stalls, ground reference and pattern work at different types of airports. My best students solo at around 20 - 25 hours now.ReplyDelete
But not to be too grouchy - CONGRATULATIONS!
Just to let you know, that wasn't a typo at all. I had exactly 4.4 hours going into my first solo flight.
Here is a list of what I did with my instructor before soloing just to let you understand:
-ground reference maneuvers
-turns around a point
-in pattern engine out situations
-forward slips into landings
-power on stalls
-power off stalls
-work at other airports
-engine failure procedures + mock-failures, pull back throttle
-many landings and takeoffs
Just to clarify... there is no way my flight instructor, my parents, nor the company I train under would've let me solo had they not thought I was 100% ready to go. I have now soloed twice, doing over 15 landings and takeoffs (solo). One huge reason I soloed so early was due to the fact that I have done countless hours of ground study using Sporty's Online, Gleim PPL Textbook, and the Jeppesen Textbook. Not only did I feel comfortable with soloing that day, but I wasn't really that nervous. I knew I was prepared for what could in theory come at me.
I appreciate your comment though,
Swayne Martin http://martinsaviation.blogspot.com/
I can't image how 4.4 hours was enough to have done all these things to the level I would accept as solo-ready, but if you were really ready to go, well done!Delete
This is interesting. I don't remember how many hours I had. It was so long ago. If most do it in 20-25.... then 4.4 was really quick. He's a very smart young man, I have no doubt he was ready. Or... the instructor had a lot of confidence.Delete
Swayne, would you ask your instructor how many hours he normally solos his average student? Thanks!
And DB... Thanks for your comment!!!
I asked my instructor and two other instructors what the average solo-time is and they all said between 10-15 hours average.Delete
On the same point, each one of them complimented me for having soloed the soonest--they all said that I was the earliest they had ever seen by far at the school. So it wasn't something "normal" to have happen I guess.
Thanks so much!
Of course I've said it on my own post about you, but it bears repeating nonetheless....ReplyDelete
CONGRATULATIONS, fellow pilot!!!
It feels so great to this day to think that I, and only I, flew a plane by myself! So fun!
Something we cannot repeat too often!! Thanks. And... CONGRATULATIONS!Delete
Way to go Swayne! Welcome to the club.ReplyDelete
Thanks so much Rob! Hope you enjoy my blog and videos :)Delete
THANK YOU Rob... A great club it is!Delete
Solo at 4.4 hours is nothing short of incredible! I soloed after 40 hours. I did a different program though, training for my PPL and IR simultaneously. I trained at a Part 141 school. Stage 1 was PPL-stuff, stage 2 and 3 were IR stuff (during stage 3 I shot an ILS down to minima, in IMC at night) stage 4 was my solo flights and PPL check ride, then stage 5 was IR XCs and IR check ride. So I got down to minima in IMC at night before I did my first solo lol
Great post, keep up the good work!
Thanks so much Cecilie! You were in a pretty cool program for sure!Delete
Hope hope that all of your flying has been going well!
Thanks so much,
Cecilie, that is really interesting to do that. Amazing actually. But they know what they are doing. I supposed by the time you get to solo, there is no worry from anyone. And all that training was good experience. Very nice!!!Delete
Great post - Congrats, Swayne! You should only see continued success.ReplyDelete
Thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed it!Delete
I hope what you said will be true :)
Thanks Jeremy... much continued success for sure! And we knew him when...Delete
Swayne! I was telling Karlene how I enjoy your videos and your progress! Congratulations man! 4 hours under the belt, that's great because your instructor trusts in you a lot! I believe this is rare to happen!ReplyDelete
Once again, congratulations! Will keep viewing your videos! ;)
Cheers and success!
Thanks so much Alex! I was so happy my instructor trusted me that much. I went up with another instructor (different one) the day before and he said I was ready as well! :)Delete
Thanks so much Alex, glad you're enjoying it all :)
Alex, So true. That is all about trust. And... two instructors. Swayne was ready!Delete
Swayne keep the good work up! Did you know that we need to inspire Alex to follow his dreams to be a pilot!
So cool! Yeah, I think I had talked with it about him sometime before, but I'm totally excited to see that Alex will be up flying!!Delete
I know he'll do great with all of his enthusiasm!
Was your time with the "other instructor" also included in the 4.4 hours? That is just incredible...Delete