Jump to content
  • Welcome to Recreational Flying!
    A compelling community experience for all aviators
    Intuitive, Social, Engaging...Registration is FREE.
    Register Log in
Sign in to follow this  
Admin

Tell us about your first solo

Recommended Posts

At last I made my first area solo this Sunday! How slow is all this for me, circuits solo was in April.

 

But from the other side I hope my way is better, not just make as close as possible to presribed, but also to understand what is going on, where is safe limit, what to do if something goes wrong etc. In this case I am confident in myself, machine and everything around, not just walking on the edge with full pants of adrenaline.

 

895430_original.jpg

 

As planned, nothing specific. Just flight - take off, area, couple of stalls, turns, pfls and return back.

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm I have done “first” solo in 4 completely different aircraft the last one was the hardest (helicopter)

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I still vividly recall my first 'Wheels up' . . I was taxying a Tiger Moth from one hangar to another,. . as instructed, after having worked at the Airfield for over a year learning to be a mechanic. . .I had to taxy along the runway area to get form point A to point B,. . and taxied too fast..    and NO,. . it wasn't DELIBERATE.. . I was too young for that malarkey to have kicked in yet. .. The Tiger lifted off the ground and I fair near shat myself. . pulling the throttle back to idle and dropping back onto the grass runway with a 'Thump'. .. solo time ,. . from memory, about seven to eight seconds.  Ma height approx 20 feet. .   Place, Pendeford Airfield ( Wolverhampton )  Date about July 1958. 

 

I realise that his doesn't count . . . 

 

First 'Proper' Solo thanks to Allan Baskett, at Casey Airfield, Berwick Vic., in 1971. . Groupair Flying School.  aircraft was C-150, VH KQM.  Did 2 solo circuits on Rwy 12 RH, I saw Alan Waving at me after the first one, and mistook his signal for 'Go and do another one'. . .. that was NOT what he meant ( No radio at the time )   Felt great . . .decided I was going to be an ACE flyer. . . . .

 

The feeling I had was something between Wonderment and absolute terror. . . 

 

Hmmm. . .

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 Someone who has time to feel terror isn't busy enough.

 

       After many years  and sending people solo, in retrospect, I reckon the "services " attitude  played too big a part. There was a fair bit of "questionable " psychology at play there. From a "skills acquired and demonstrated" point of view, you have already shown you are capable. There is only the hang up of you being" by yourself". with no one to take over. Unfairly (I believe) the system springs the solo on you working on the "if you think about it much, you will stuff it up more likely" and not giving you any time to think about it on purpose.. To day IF the student showed any real apprehension I would not send them off at that point without further discussion and briefing.. Legally if something went wrong, I doubt you would have a leg to stand on.  A "circuit" is a pretty simple thing to navigate through. Going out to the training area and re entering  is far more complex, yet no big deal is usually made of that. There are many extreme situations where no one but you can complete the exercise successfully that will come up in your flying "life"

 

   . Time to solo is often a subject of discussion where there can be some inference of it being a skill or ability determinant in the big scheme of things. There are too many variables for that to have much validity. One could question also What is the rush?  with rush there is risk. Dual time  (Not DUEL time) is Under instruction where you should be LEARNING from someone who should KNOW what they are doing and interested in communicating it to you for YOUR benefit. YOU should be doing nearly ALL of the flying under circumstances where an error  is picked up and treated by being discussed at the debrief.  Even when the training and testing has finished and you have your brand new certificate or licence in your hand you are far from being a seasoned pilot.. Some lessons then may have to be learned the Hard way, IF you think you have learned enough already. Nev

 

 

  • Agree 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hmm I have done “first” solo in 4 completely different aircraft the last one was the hardest (helicopter)

 

 

 

Helicopters can be a Bugger. . . most ESPECIALLY if you learned to fly in a 'Conventional' three axis aircraft. . . there are so many 'Ingrained' things you need to UN-LEARN, or 'SUSPEND' whilst training in a rotary wing appliance. . . 

 

I had the benefit of several hours of flying with a friend between Port Moresby and Lae in an old Bell 47 in the 1970s,. . which taught me that these things were not really intended to fly on Hot days. . .and that the carby heat control wore out in a short time. . . 

 

Thanks to Larry, who was ex Canadian Air Force pilot, plus some hours in the UK, I got the hang of it. . ( Sort of ) and finally got a ticket to ride. . in very light machines, (Robinson R-22.) . 

 

But the cost of flying them in the UK was bloody prohibitive, unless you had unlimited funds. . .which I didn't. 

 

The most difficult part of helicopter flying is the hover.. . .Many hours of training are devoted to this.. .   I didn't have too many problems here, due to previous crimes in the B-47. . .If an instructor has ever said to you. . 'Now. . Gentle changes of pressure on the controls' . .. that's what hovering is all about.   and the same for flying on Instruments in training too. . .

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 Any overcontrolling has to be counteracted  so better not to do it  at all, if that can be managed. . Try flying a 72+ thousand pound AUW plane with only manual controls and  being "gentle" on the controls. You either fly on trim (bad) or work out at a GYM and show it who's boss. My previous instructor had run the line be gentle on a plane's controls you don't have to push it around.. That's nice on DHC-1. Horses for courses though. Know your (current) plane. For a while that "advice" was a bit of a monkey on my back. My instructor meant well, bless his cotton socks. Nev

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
. Dual time  (Not DUEL time) is Under instruction where you should be LEARNING from someone who should KNOW what they are doing and interested in communicating it to you for YOUR benefit. YOU should be doing nearly ALL of the flying under circumstances where an error  is picked up and treated by being discussed at the debrief. 

 

my instructors say that dual is time to understand what to do, solo - to learn how to do.  To make the whole procedure by yourself, not reliying on somebodys else advice, commands or backup, and elaborate your own way of thinking, control and decision making.

 

For me personally this is much more, as I spent too much resources on communication, if I do the same by myself I have all my brain for the task, not only half of it. Even when I made my AU drivers licence, after 20 years of experience, to drive with instructor was extremele exhausting, one hour of usual supervised driving on usual not very busy Adelaide streets and I felt like after day in busiest traffic.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  It's  better if you just FLY the plane the way you  think is right, regardless of who's watching and whatever is said afterwards is what ever it will be.. Perhaps your instructor hasn't put you at ease, but I'm only speculating. I can't  really unravel what you have said... There shouldn't be that much stress  other than the "task" of flying the plane, which gets easier the more  knowledge and experience you have. Perhaps you have a bit of what's called "Check-itis" . that's not uncommon.. we all get a bit of it..Nev

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Going out to the training area and re entering  is far more complex, yet no big deal is usually made of that. There are many extreme situations where no one but you can complete the exercise successfully that will come up in your flying "life"

 

You're not wrong Nev. First solo navex can be challenging. Leading up to first solo you will have made the trip to and from the training area a number of times, but with a navex, you do it once with the instructor, then do it solo, but in the opposite direction. Things look quite different then, when you are over unfamiliar territory. Then there is, or was when I learnt, the final five hour solo navex. A lot of things can happen in five hours - wind changes, weather changes, etc., and you can have system failures, like my five hour solo, miles from any familiar landmarks, and the directional gyro goes on the blink. You have to navigate using the magnetic compass, and trying to follow a bouncing ball in fluid type compass when the plane is bouncing around like a bucking bronco is no easy task for a novice.

 

 

  • Like 1
  • Agree 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 Agree Red. Solo nav- ex is like being tossed into the Atlantic, after a few swimming lessons..

 

           It puts a lot on the instructor preparing him/her also. Many students try to do too much recognition of every road etc and cover ALL, the possibilities they have read about. and are in over load.. You learn the tricks by experience later, Like have a prominent road, rail line or powerline to fall back on in some direction, if you get unsure. Make sure you positively IDENTIFY a place as a reliable FIX or don't use it. Fly good compass courses (how old fashioned) and check drift by sighting ahead from a fix to a known geographical feature ahead on track to make sure some excessive drift doesn't take you where you haven't planned to be. Check your fuel balance and usage against elapsed time and time to run to destination. PLAN thoroughly with radio frequencies and all relevant info on the plan border. Have places to put stuff so you don't drop it in flight. Your pen should be on a string etc  IF you need glasses likewise. Take a peaked cap if you are landing into the sun or plan NOT TO (better). In remote areas especially in hot weather landing away from a road or anywhere you can't be seen or picked up from is DANGEROUS. Take lots of water that survives an upset or don't GO there.  You could write pages on this stuff. We have a big (VAST) virtually uninhabited  fairly hostile environment  Country out there and little Planes that can actually fly across it pretty safely if the process is carried out sensibly and is well planned . Done badly, the consequences are severe.. for the individuals and the reputation of the "show"  .

 

 WEATHER is  vast topic on it's own. Not just a matter of covering the "legal" aspects of it with forecasts etc but UNDERSTANDING fronts,  Large Cb's,  winds in mountains , reading cloud formations, dust devils. turbulence ,Fog and dust and effect of increasing headwinds on range with low cruise speed aircraft. Nev

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just did my first solo last Friday at 15!!! After not having flown for 3 weeks due to aircraft maintenance and holidays I was a bit rusty on the first circuit, but on the second quickly regained confidence. On the third, my instructor told me to make this a full stop because He would send me SOLO. I could not have asked for a better solo circuit, the only problem was it went too quick!!! Now focusing on reaching my pilot certificate.

 

 

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My first solo was in a Seagull III Rogallo Hang Glider in 1974. You either flew or crashed. I flew & then continued for the next 20 years until I decided to spend some serious money. First solo was in a C152 with the Waikato Aero Club in NZ. The instructor got out & said  "You can do ONE circuit on your own, just ONE". I can't remember the plane being any different or feeling lighter as I was busy at the time. Everything went well except the touchdown which was OK but I bounced and settled down, taxiing back in with the standard "First Solo Grin" on my face. The tradition was you had to shout everyone who was at the bar a beer. Another instructor was there & she congratulated me on a good landing & when I told her I'd bounced, her reply was "Well they were both good landings".  Luckily there were only 8 people in the bar so it didn't cost me much. 

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 Agree Red. Solo nav- ex is like being tossed into the Atlantic, after a few swimming lessons..

 

           It puts a lot on the instructor preparing him/her also. Many students try to do too much recognition of every road etc and cover ALL, the possibilities they have read about. and are in over load.. You learn the tricks by experience later, Like have a prominent road, rail line or powerline to fall back on in some direction, if you get unsure. Make sure you positively IDENTIFY a place as a reliable FIX or don't use it. Fly good compass courses (how old fashioned) and check drift by sighting ahead from a fix to a known geographical feature ahead on track to make sure some excessive drift doesn't take you where you haven't planned to be. Check your fuel balance and usage against elapsed time and time to run to destination. PLAN thoroughly with radio frequencies and all relevant info on the plan border. Have places to put stuff so you don't drop it in flight. Your pen should be on a string etc  IF you need glasses likewise. Take a peaked cap if you are landing into the sun or plan NOT TO (better). In remote areas especially in hot weather landing away from a road or anywhere you can't be seen or picked up from is DANGEROUS. Take lots of water that survives an upset or don't GO there.  You could write pages on this stuff. We have a big (VAST) virtually uninhabited  fairly hostile environment  Country out there and little Planes that can actually fly across it pretty safely if the process is carried out sensibly and is well planned . Done badly, the consequences are severe.. for the individuals and the reputation of the "show"  .

 

 WEATHER is  vast topic on it's own. Not just a matter of covering the "legal" aspects of it with forecasts etc but UNDERSTANDING fronts,  Large Cb's,  winds in mountains , reading cloud formations, dust devils. turbulence ,Fog and dust and effect of increasing headwinds on range with low cruise speed aircraft. Nev

 

I wonder why it is,. . .that all these Really Useful things are only learned through terror and much experience Nev ?  Funny that. . .   'IF I knew then,. . .what I know now ' . . .etc. . . 

 

For instance, I didn't know initially that VHF radio comms were fairly useless in that wild and huge country; over more than about 50 NM,. . and once had to revert to HF. . .with NO training on the system, but having some amateur radio experience worked it out and got through to Darwin flight Service to pass a  position report to Melbourne on the AFTN. . . 

 

I got to LOVE flying around Australia. . .there's nothing like it . . .

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First ever solo was in a Blanik L13 glider at Arrarat.

I recall hearing lots of creaking noises from that old airframe with no instructor in the back....?

Since then its been helis and now fixed wing machinery but the sheer joy of flight never goes away no matter what you strap yourself into.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That was what I noticed most in the Blanik also. The airframe noises. especially in thermals. Nev

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I honestly cannot remember much about my first solo, it must have been in a C150 at around ten hours. I started on PA 28 Cherokees. Would have been a cold day as I did it at Grovedale Vic and I hadn't long left tropical Qld.

The first I can remember is my first parachute drop. There was no worrying about how I would get it down.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cold air means more lift. (Every cloud has a silver lining.) Just don't fly in shorts in a drifter in mid winter where you were.. Nev

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First ever solo was in a Blanik L13 glider at Arrarat.

I recall hearing lots of creaking noises from that old airframe with no instructor in the back....?

Since then its been helis and now fixed wing machinery but the sheer joy of flight never goes away no matter what you strap yourself into.

 

HA HA. . .my First proper Glider solo was in a Slingsby Sedbergh glider with the Air Cadets. The Sebergh was an advanced training aircraft, whereas the usual first solo machine was the T-111 which had tandem seating with student in the front seat. These were all Winch launches to around 1,100 feet agl. . . I tried the T-111 but my 'Arris was a bit wide and it was painful,. . which is why they switched me over to the larger Sedbergh which had side by side seating. All my training up to Silver 'C' Soaring Certificate was in that aircraft. At RAF Tern Hill, ( Shropshire - Middle England ) which was then a Helicopter base but us cadets had the use of it on weekends. when the RAF didn't do much ( ? ) The helicopters used there were Westland Whirlwind 'Lumps' and the more attractive looking Bristol Sycamore, which had a Heart shaped view screen in the lower p[art of the nose, which looked like a 'Smiley' face. .

 

I stayed with the Air Training Corps til I was sixteen as a staff cadet at the Glider School and got loads of flights when the cadets had finished for the day. . . I learned to drive the old RAF Landrovers too, which we used with a trailer to retrieve landed gliders from all over the Huge airfield. . .Great fun times. . .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On a slightly Darker note,. . Tern Hill became an Army base during the Irish 'Troubles' and there was an incident which changed Ministry of Defence Policy with regard to Gate Sentries. One early evening a vehicle showed up near the gate and three armed masked men jumped out and started walking towards the Duty sentry. He immediately cocked his automatic rifle and went down on one knee aiming it at them. . He challenged them saying "Drop your weapons or I fire" they decided that discretion was the best part of valour and buggered off sharpish.

 

The sentry had NOT been issued any Ammunition. He was a very lucky man, and obviously a good Poker player. The M.O.D. rapidly changed their policy to Minimum TWO sentries at any base, ALL TOOLED UP WITH BULLETS AS WELL, Plus OPEN rules of engagement..

 

It has to make the average person seriously wonder what makes these bloody politicians tick.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Guard duty during my RAAF days saw us armed only with yellow brick radios. They were heavy enough to inflict a fair amount of damage but you would have had to get real close. ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

!st solo was some years back, but it's fixed in my flying memories like it was yesterday.

 

My Logbook #1 is now a bit scruffy and the glue binding is giving way, but it's still readable. Actually wish that I'd added more details into it, but everything was rather formalised and 'service' like in the early 60's. Todays' student pilots with mobile phone cameras and Go-Pro videos are so lucky to be able to share it with family and friends.

 

My initial dual flight on 31/3/1963, was with former RAF fighter pilot Frank Woodfall,(dec), and it was in the very 1st Cessna 150 to arrive in Queensland, at Archerfield. Very basic it was too - one of the original straight backer models - registered VH-AWQ. I then did 10 dual sessions, over more or less consecutive weekends, with 4 different instructors - not recommended: but then the customer wasn't considered right in those days. I was sent solo by CFI John Young on 26/6/1963 with the TT of 9:30 hrs. It was winter, and there was the usual cold SW-W breeze blowing which proved very handy in landing the 150 using our then standard glide approach with full flap on final = rather steep approach! It all went to plan and next I was parked, and a happy CFI was shaking my hand. I now know that it's not because of your solo - but because you didn't damage the aircraft, or upset the skygods in the tower!

 

It was, in those days, the time where VHF radio was just coming into service. Up to then, we would taxy along the perimeter, takeoff when it was visually clear, fly the circuit watching the other traffic, and upon observing a green light from the tower - we landed to the right hand side of preceeding aircraft. Once radio became the norm, we then needed a takeoff and landing clearance, tho' I can't recall us using any other calls. Non-radio aircraft continued operating there for several years, and it was always a challenge to identify who was who in the circuit. We rejoined overhead at 1500' after calling at 5nm inbound - at a visual checkpoint. In 1963, there were very few suburbs as far out as AF, and most of our training was over open farms to the SE and S. There were plenty of large, open paddocks with a few cows grazing so we were never short of somewhere to drop in if the noise stopped. Not the case anymore.

 

Strange that my actual 1st solo wasn't all that memorable. My initial tailwheel endorsement on a Cessna 180, with a TT of only 69 hrs was far more so. If I was to divide the cost per hour by the number of bounces, skips, hops, twists and side excursions - each 'landing' was really quite cheap. Far too much aeroplane for my level of experience! However, I finally beat the beast and flew many many hrs on C185s - see pic1261781261_PNGVH-SBUin1968atJacksonsPtMoresby.jpg.240eef46f24e2dd17811effcd1ac8d77.jpg

 

happy days,

675021617_PNGC185withcargopod-workhorseofthe60s(2).jpg.017271eb76f7603acbeaa8fb0ddc5830.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Probably one of the best workhorses of the period. If I get back in a 180 I never guarantee the first landing is going to be to a full stop. Till I settle back in, it's go around if you don't like where you are at. I'm a bit like that anytime. and I never fully relax in any taildragger. Nev

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later for your post to be seen If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...