Flight Lessons: I soloed!

Today, on the drive to the airport I was thinking about soloing and trying to decide if I was ready. I got really nervous thinking about it, so I just tried to relax and listen to the radio. My instructor arrived at the airport before I did and was nice enough to have gotten the plane ready and called for gas. I just had to do the pre-flight and we were ready to go.

We did the normal left hand pattern a few times and then he ask if I was ready to solo. I wasn’t sure (remembering the nerves from the drive over), but I was feeling pretty good about how I’d been doing so far. The weather was really nice, so I went for it. We stopped in transient parking and we got out so that he could endorse my log book. He quizzed me a little more and told me that I could do two or three times around the pattern as long as I was comfortable. With that out of the way, I got back in the plane.

It’s weird sitting in there alone, starting it up, talking on the radio, taxiing, and in pretty much every other way. I noticed the weight difference even when I was on the ground. I went to the run-up area and check everything out again (more to help me relax and get in the flow than anything else). After taxiing to the runway I called the tower to request left closed traffic, and I let them know that this was my first solo.

Everything went really well. I had a blast the whole time, but after my first time around the pattern I was able to really relax. There wasn’t much traffic in the area. I think one time I had to follow someone in, and I was able to spot them when they were off my wing. On my third time around tower asked that I turn crosswind at the shoreline (there was a helicopter in the area and they wanted to give it plenty of room), but other than that everything was really normal. My landings weren’t great, but they weren’t bad either.

I can’t wait to go up again. I’ve reserved some time for Saturday morning to do an unsupervised solo. Hopefully it’ll be nice, clear, and calm. I’m really excited that I get to start working more on cross country trips now — after all, that is the whole point of flying isn’t it?

(Note: I removed all of the flight times from my blog posts because the club treasurer emailed me saying that I’d made a mistake on calculating my flight time by 0.3 hrs. Instead of re-figuring all of my totals, I just deleted them. I currently have 18.0 hrs. dual (with an instructor) and 0.6 hrs. solo.)