Home > Lessons > SOLO, SOLO SOLO!!


Well it finally happened, had my first solo today!

Now the long story 😉 We started out as usual, doing pattern work did a couple of good landings, then we did a no flap and a no engine landing. My instructor says, “do you think you’re ready for a solo”. I said, “yes, definitely”. He asks if I have my medical certificate and log book, which I always do, but as this was the first time he ever asked, I realized hey this is really going to happen!

So we land park the plane, he signs my medical certificate, checks with the plane’s owner (the guy who decided a couple of weeks ago that I wasn’t ready…bastard was correct!) and we’re all set. My instructor kindly files a new SFRA plan while I go out and get the plane ready for the big event. All is well, the planes have been using runway 14, but there is a slight breeze so I might have to switch later. To my surprise I was told to do 3 take offs and landings coming to a full stop each time. I was not aware that student pilots are not allowed to do touch and go’s, probably a wise rule. Anyway I go out to the holding area next to runway 14 do the engine run-up stuff and contact Potomac Control to get the new SFRA transponder code. They are confused at first, probably the new plan hadn’t hit their system, but after a minute the controller give me a new code and a departure frequency. I have no idea what the departure frequency is for, but I take it and ignore for the rest of the flight.

There is another student in the pattern, I wait for him to land or do a touch and go, turns out that he did neither, just appeared to want to land, porpoised the plane a lot and did a go round. I was smiling from ear to ear at his screwy flying, thinking, been there,  done that. I wait for him to turn to crosswind before I take off and then I just take off as usual. No problems all is fine I give the plane ahead of me in the pattern plenty of room and let me know I have him in sight. I turn from downwind to base then to final fine all hitting the correct speeds and at a good altitude and glide slope. When I get to the end of final and am about to land the plane yaws a little bit and I manage to break the glide and flair quite well but the damn plane is yaw’d a few degrees and the wheels do a nice skidding on the runway. The plane is also left of the center line, moving rapidly left, to which I think, “oh great, first solo landing and I wind up in the grass!”, but I quickly corrected and did NOT get too close to the grass, but I was simultaneously happy to do my first solo landing and pissed off that it was probably the worst landing in my last 50 or so landings.

One down, two more to go.

After stopping to taxi I listen to the AWOS and looking at the wind sock I see that the wind has picked up a little bit and it’s time to switch to runway 32.  I taxi to the short hold at 32 and listen to the other traffic which is still using runway 14. This was another student pilot and he comes in on final and never quite touches down, goes around and I ask if he’s staying on runway 14. He replies “Yep”. Soooo I figure I need to taxi back to runway 14, but my instructor who was listening in on the CTAF says “you mind switching to 32” and he says, “fine what ever you want, I’ll do a 360 on the downwind leg and switch”. I say thanks and take off, giving him plenty of room. The pattern is uneventful but I go long on the crosswind to give the other traffic time to turn around and switch runways. All was fine and I finish off just peachy coming again to a full stop. The landing was a little bumpy, didn’t quite flair enough but not bad.

Two down, one to go.

One more loop using runway 32. Totally uneventful. I do the pattern fine, turn to final and some other guy does a quick take off, still plenty of distance. I land just fine a pretty good greaser, hitting the centerline (best landing yet) and that’s it! All done the first solo!

I bring the plane to the hanger they told me this before, it needed oil. I get summarily doused with the traditional bucket of water and I’m one big step closer to being an actual private pilot. YAY!


Categories: Lessons Tags: , ,
  1. Ann-Margaret Johnston
    July 22, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    i am so jealous – i should be there in a month, i hope!

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