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I finally did my first solo flight. I could have done it earlier but was delayed for a couple weeks by lack of medical certificate and weather. After getting certificate I scheduled flight on Saturday, August 12 praying for the weather to cooperate. When met by instructor at the airport I was told that wind is pretty strong (12knots) and is not a good for the first solo. That put me down a bit. Anyways, we went up and flew to practice area to do some ground reference maneuvers hoping for the winds to calm down when we return. On the way back I checked ATIS weather and it was still at 12 knots and air was a bit bumpy. We did 4 touch and go's and all of them were good, in fact much better than last time. The wind was almost along the runway with little crosswind component so I handled it easily. After landing I observed struggle on my instructor's face. He certainly did not want to let me solo in winds exceeding 8 knots, on the other hand he saw that I handled it well and did 4 consistently good landings in a row (one of them involved distraction and changing pattern - traffic on final approach). Also we felt pressure of waiting too long on this day, so while taxiing he contacted ground control to double check wind again and ask for the last hours trends. :) The answer was the wind stays the same for the last three hours. Ouch! We parked the plane and went inside to talk about scheduling our next attempt on Monday. Feeling a bit sad I got outside heading to my car and immediately felt that wind was less than 12kts, heck I smelled it. I turn around and go inside passing by instructor and mumbling  "...hmm...lemmy double check..." going straight to the computer and pulling aviationweather.com. Yes, METAR shows 8kts variable wind. While I'm staring at the screen he comes by, looks over my shoulder and asks "So-o, you think you can handle that?". The answer was: " Well, I don't want to pressure you but I think so." (while thinking: "Hell, yes! You saw that." :) ) I turn around and see him smiling and holding my logbook. "You know the drill, I'll see you back after you do three take-offs/landings." - and handed the logbook and keys over to me.

I did a quick fuel and oil check and jump in the plane, it was still warm after our flight. Yes, it does feel much roomier inside C-152 without instructor on board :). Started engine, checked weather and contacted ground for taxi clearance. Funny, first time in my practice they asked me not to use taxiway but go through the airport near fueling station. So there I went hiding behind hangars in route to runway 34R. At the run-up check I found that engine was running rough on right magneto so had to clean it up by leaning mixture and running at 2000rpm for 30 seconds. After that pretake-off check went smooth and all gauges were in green. I tuned to the tower and made that dreaded call: "Paine tower, Cessna 67991 at 34R ready for take-off for closed traffic." And mind you, they did clear me for take-off. So, taxi in position, full power, roll along and lift-off. Once in the air, I thought I'd ask myself the same classic question first-timers ask: "What the heck are you doing here alone?" But I didn't. Well, I couldn't because I was smiling to much and everytime I started thinking like that the answer hardwired in my brain popped out right away: "I'm here to fly the damn airplane!" :) Three landings were pretty consistent, one better one worse but all good so this part was sort of uneventful. The only thing I noticed it ended too fast, I wanted more. When I exited the runway and contacted tower they congratulated me and I thanked them back. I really feel thankful to controllers for their job, to my instructor, and to my wife for her support of my endeavor. I have some work to do to get the license but something changed tonight. I can fly, I can go up there and can safely go down, my dream has come true. Awesome feeling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Posted on Saturday, August 12, 2006 9:07 PM Aviation | Back to top


Comments on this post: First Solo Flight

# re: First Solo Flight
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Congratulations! What a feeling it must have been. Well done!
Left by Rusty Williams on Aug 14, 2006 5:45 AM

# re: First Solo Flight
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Congratulations! Now for the first flight all by yourself where the instructor is no where near the airport! :-) Be safe, and most of all, don't forget to have fun!

Maybe we can work out something and I can take you for a ride in the "mighty" 738VJ, so you can see what it is like flying out of Boeing Field. :-)

Congratulations again, and now to finish up and get that pretty white piece of paper from the DE. The rest of the work you have left will probably go quickly, as it is mostly about cross country, navigation, night flight, and typically instrument flight, but you have already done some instrument stuff. The solo time requirements are primarily about building self-confidence and perfecting the pre-solo manuevers, as you will need to do those for the DE.

Talk laer,

-Wade H.
Left by Wade H. on Aug 14, 2006 9:16 AM

# re: First Solo Flight
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Thank you guys! Your support and example are very inspirational. For the last three days I've already completed two more solo flights out of the airport to practice area (about 20 miles) logging total PIC time to 4 hours. Flew over Redmond, Lake Sammamish, and circled around my apartment, rocked wings to family standing on the balcony and waiving to me. Looking forward to cross country. :)

I was at Boeing field on Sunday and really liked the airport. The airspace is quite busy, must be a good ATC communication workout.
Left by Paul Petrov on Aug 14, 2006 3:06 PM

# re: First Solo Flight
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Paul,
What time on Saturday did you solo? Just curious as I was over Paine at about 7:15pm on my way back from Abbotsford, B.C. I wasn't talking to the Paine Tower when I went over, as I was above the Paine Airspace at 3500'. Seattle Center told me about a 737 on the runway at Paine getting ready to depart, but wouldn't necessarily expect them to tell me about a 152 in the pattern there. :-)

Again, Congratulations!

-Wade H.
Left by Wade H. on Aug 14, 2006 3:07 PM

# re: First Solo Flight
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Glad to hear that you haven't wasted anytime in getting out by yourself. I was pretty nervous about that first flight totally by myself.

Keep it up, and if you can, let me know where you do your solo x-countries to, and maybe I can meet you at one of the airports. :-)

Boeing is probably going to be kind of "slow" the next couple weeks... They are repaving the big runway so a lot of the normal traffic won't be able to land there as the short (3710'x100') runway will be the only one available.

-Wade H.
Left by Wade H. on Aug 14, 2006 3:12 PM

# re: First Solo Flight
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Actually Boeing isn't too bad communications wise... You just have to be on your toes and listening to where people are at. Typically leaving there the tower may call me with one or two traffic advisories before leaving their airspace.

The hard thing about Boeing can be finding it and anticipating where you need to turn to enter the pattern, especially when approaching from the east or west, as you won't see the airport or the short runway (where they put you when coming from the east) until you are right on top of it, because it sits in that valley. Coming from the south or the north is pretty easy as it is pretty visible from those directions, as you are going down the valley in those directions.

Alot of the heavy jets left Boeing Field before the weekend in anticipation of them closing the big runway (10,000' x 200') on Sunday afternoon. When I came back on Saturday from Abbotsford, tuned to 118.3 for the short runway, and the radio was dead quiet. Pulled the squelch on the radio to make sure the volume was up and double checked the frequency on the chart, even though I have this frequency memorized, there is usually some traffic... No radio traffic at all, dead quiet. Called, and sure enough, got the controller. Cleared for 31R, and told him "You guys sound really busy tonight... :-)" and he was like "Typical Saturday night... :-)" I was the only plane he had to deal with as there was no other planes inbound or outbound from Boeing at that time. :-) Seemed kind of odd... :-)
Left by Wade H. on Aug 14, 2006 3:54 PM

# re: First Solo Flight
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The other thing that makes Boeing Field "interesting" is you really have to pay attention to your altitude to avoid the Class B that sits over it... Pattern altitude on the west side (big runway) is 800', and if you go above that you will most likely get scolded... On the east side (short runway) it is 1000'. Class B over parts of the airport starts at 1100', and you need to say clear of it (i.e. below 1100'), other parts it is 1800' Whereas at Paine, the Class B starts at 6000', so you don't have to worry about it. :-)
Left by Wade H. on Aug 14, 2006 3:59 PM

# re: First Solo Flight
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> Just curious as I was over Paine at about 7:15pm on my way back from Abbotsford, B.C.

Funny, it's exact time I was soloing at PAE. If you knew you could land and shake a hand. :)

Surprisingly, I didn't have any tension of going on the second (unsupervised) flight at all. Something happened inside after the solo, like a switch. It seems now so natural to me to jump into the plane and get up in the air, fly somewhere. Weird feeling. It may be because I wanted this for so long.

On Sunday it was quite busy at Boeing Field. A lot of GA traffic and some corp type jets. …As well as bunch of excavators lining up for takeoff. :)
Left by Paul Petrov on Aug 14, 2006 4:16 PM

# re: First Solo Flight
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If I would have landed at PAE before BFI, I would have made U.S. Customs even more unhappy with me. :-) BFI needed to be my first landing in the U.S. after leaving CYXX (Abbostford, BC), as I they were already kind of cranky after telling them I was on my way home from Canada. :-) Details to follow in the blog entry I am currently writing. :-)

-Wade H.
Left by Wade H. on Aug 14, 2006 4:35 PM

# PAXA, YOU're THE MAN!
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PAXA, YOU are THE MAN!
Left by LEXA on Aug 15, 2006 6:29 AM

# re: First Solo Flight
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It's amazing experience for sure... Well wish you all the best in building those hours. I'm currently doing medicals and hope to join Flight school by March next year.. I'm going through people's experiences of the first Solo for inspiration.. Your story is trully an inspirational one.. I'm in Africa - Tanzania.
Left by Delem M D on Oct 05, 2006 3:21 AM

# re: First Solo Flight
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Congrats. Ill be soloing on monday = )
Left by Michael Sokolas on Dec 29, 2007 2:49 PM

# re: First Solo Flight
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Congrats man! I do my first solo tomorrow. You can tell I'm nervous by me reading articles haha. Unfortunately I am soloing in an Evektor Sportstar and not the stable Cessna. I claim it helps build my slip skills :).
Left by Pete C on Jan 01, 2008 7:04 PM

# re: First Solo Flight
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You'll do fine, you're signed off. Clear skies and happy new year flying!
Left by Paul Petrov on Jan 01, 2008 8:29 PM

# re: First Solo Flight 1/8/08 11:00AM Mom and Dad
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Congratulations Carly! We are so proud of you and what you have accomplished! Keep up the great flights!!!
Left by Carly Butwell on Jan 15, 2008 10:47 PM

# re: First Solo Flight
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dude, congrats and i hope u gonna have a good future in aviation......im going for my first solo today, so i hope it will all go well. congrats man
Left by efraim on Jul 01, 2008 6:11 PM

# re: First Solo Flight
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I can remember my first solo flight in 1979. What a thrill it was to fly my Piper Warrior, N1005X. I trained in it from my first introductory flight to my solo. I even di dny FAA checkride in it. Months later some idiot put the wing into the ground on take off.
Left by Philip Abrams on Jun 02, 2009 7:23 AM

# DISAPPOINTED
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I WORK SO HARD TO FLY, SCRAPING FOR $$. AFTER ABOUT 3,000$ OF FLIGHT TIME I WENT FOR MY MEDICAL, ANSWERED ALL QUESTIONS AS HONESTLY AS I COULD, INCLUDING THAT I WAS TAKING A B/P PILL, I WAS THEN DENIED MY CERTIFIACE. AFTER MONTHS BACK AND FORTH WITH FAA PEOPLE AND TAKING ABOUT 5 DIFFERENT TESTS THEY SAID I HAVE TO TAKE AN AFTER ALL TEST WERE DONE AND AND OK BY DOCTORS I WAS STILL DENIED AND MORE MONEY DOWN THE DRAIN. I CALLED FAA MANY MANY TIMES AND GOT THE SAME OLD ANSWER. I ASKED FAA WHY THEY WOULD LET CERTIFIED INSTRUTERS ASK A NEW STUDENT TO TAKE THE MEDICAL BEFORE I STARTED FLYING TO FIND OUT IF I WAS OK TO FLY AND NOT AFTER 13 HRS OF FLIGHT TIME AND ALL THAT MONEY. STILL NO LIC,
MAYBE I WAS TO HONEST. WOULD I CRASH AND BURN BEFORE OR AFTER
THE SAME WAY,MONEY MADE THE DIFFERANCE,I COULD HAVE BEEN ENJOYING THE BLUE YONDER SOME 30 YRS AGO, WHAT A SHAME.
PLEASE SEND A COMMENT BACK.
Left by PAPA CARLO on Mar 31, 2011 4:15 PM

# re: First Solo Flight
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Hey I did my solo today - wow it was awsome I did do a lot of swearing and singing and thinks like "what the f* are you doing up here 2000' above the sea in a tin can on your own" kept going through my head but it was excellent anyway. Oh yes and a song "Free Falling" kept coming into my head - I cant think why
Left by Cruncher on Sep 24, 2011 3:14 AM

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