29R - Nothing but blue skies...


Weather: KBJC 051255Z 25004KT 60SM FEW080 SCT120 12/03 A2983

This is going to be very hard to describe to you, but I have completed my first solo flight. Amazing and incredible are two words that quickly come to mind. It was just such a fantastic feeling to be alone in the airplane, flying by yourself.

I scheduled the plane from 6.30 am to 8.30 for another morning flight. The weather was supposed to be good again so I was hopeful I would get to solo. I got to the airport early and preflighted the plane before my instructor got there. We quickly checked the weather, and although the winds weren't calm, it wasn't too bad. There was 4 knot crosswind reported, but it looked more calm than that.

The first part of the flight was business as usual. I was required to fly a few touch and goes to make sure the winds were alright and my instructor felt comfortable with me flying solo in the current conditions. There was a decent crosswind on the first touch and go but I flew it pretty well. My instructor even commented how well I adjusted to the winds and that was a nice vote of confidence if I was going to have to fly my solo with some wind. All three touch and goes were relatively uneventful and I flew them pretty well. So we landed the third time and I taxied back to parking to drop off my instructor.

I turned off the plane and started everything from the top with just me in the plane. My instructor had asked earlier if I was nervous. At the time I said no, but that I was sure I would be when I started the solo. The second I started to taxi, I could tell I was slightly nervous. To apply the brakes in most small planes, you press the top of the rudder pedal with the ball of your foot and toes. I could tell I was nervous, because although I was still relatively relaxed, when I applied some right brake to make a turn, my leg started shaking when I applied the pressure.

Being nervous but still relaxed apparently wasn't a bad combination. After I taxed to the runway and finished my run-up, I didn't notice any nerves after that. My first take-off was smooth, I flew the pattern without any problems and there wasn't very much wind on my first approach. The only problem with my first landing was a slow airspeed. I came in about 5 knots under recommended speed. The landing was nice though and by the time I came around for my second landing, the winds were calm with little to no crosswind.

You would expect that to result in a better landing but on my second landing, my airspeed was a little slower than the first time and when I flared, I set it down pretty hard. Not good. I've had worse landings, but that's when I decided to make four landings instead of just three. My third and fourth landings were much better, and my fourth was probably the best of the day. A great way to end my first solo. I taxied back to parking and I'm pretty sure I couldn't have had a bigger smile on my face.

I really wish there was a way I could describe the feeling of successfully completing your first solo. It is a major sense of accomplishment and leaves you with this euphoric feeling that is indescribable for me. Anyhow, thanks for listening.


  1. jclark said...

    Congratulations on the Solo, We should get together sometime and talk aviation and perhaps fly together. I am currently working on my Single Commercial and am alwyas looking for someone to fly with me while I practice my maneuvers. Send me a message sometime at jccsec@msn.com and we can meet for lunch or something.  

  2. Rob said...

    Whoo Whee! Congrats on the solo, Pete! You'll never forget that day. Did they cut your shirttail?  

  3. Pete said...

    There was no ceremony after I completed my flight. Besides the usual high fives and congratulations, we were going to cut a shirt (I was wearing a work shirt so that wasn't going to work), but by the time we were ready, I was late for work and it just didn't end up happening. I'm not disappointed I didn't, but it would have been fun to complete that tradition.  


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