I had my first solo flight yesterday! After about 25 hours of flying lessons my instructor asked me if I felt ready. I did, so he hopped out of the plane and I took my first flight by myself. Three quick trips around the pattern later and I've got my first half hour as pilot in command. I'm very proud.
The first solo is a big deal. I've been doing almost all the flying myself for about the last 10 hours. But with my instructor sitting in the plane, anytime I felt confused or had a question help was right there. Being PIC is a totally different thing, you're solely responsible for yourself and the plane. No one else is going to remind you to adjust the power or help you remember whether you're cleared to land.

Fortunately I was well prepared and the solo flights weren't really any different from the ones with my instructor. The engine coughed once on my first takeoff, that gave me a momentary scare. And I was so excited that I got a bit jumpy on the microphone switch and kept cutting out on the poor controller. But that's just nerves, nothing another 40 hours of lessons won't cure. My landings were actually pretty good, even if the radio work wasn't. Here's a Google Earth file if you want to see in detail.

I sort of feel like I already know everything about flying planes VFR and just need some practice. Of course, that's not really true. I definitely need practice. Also still a lot to learn: cross-country planning, navigation, night flying, short field procedures, etc. And part of what's fun about flying is you can always get better at it. But I've passed the first big test!

  2010-01-07 01:14 Z