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Learn to fly – you will never forget your first individual flight

There are many stages on the way to reaching the wings of your private pilot, but the one you will remember by heart is your first solo. Ask any pilot about them and he will probably look sadly into the distance to remember the time when they first flew an airplane. Even veterans who have many hours in magazines never forget the day their instructor first allowed them to play.

The first solo is a transition between those who can only fly under the close supervision of an instructor and those who have enough knowledge and skills to be able to fly without assistance. Of course, this is much more, and your instructor will still be watching you closely, albeit from the ground, not from a seat next to or behind!

What is the first individual flight?

Your first flight as a pilot commander will be one aerodrome circuit. Scheme (or sample in the US) – an imaginary rectangle consisting of a runway, legs against the wind (part that flies immediately after takeoff when you climb to the height of the chain), legs of the side wind (at right angles to the left of the runway). landing strip), wind legs (parallel to the runway but in the opposite direction for take-off and landing), base leg (opposite the crosswind) and final approach, i.e. the area where you line up and descend in preparation for landing. That’s all – take off, fly one circuit and land.

Now this may seem difficult to you if you are a novice student who does not have a journal in the journal, but, as with all things, the practice becomes easier. Your first 10-20 hours of flight training will include piloting the aircraft in the air, lifting, turning down, radio calls in the vicinity of the airfield, takeoffs and landings. Once you have mastered the basic controllability of the aircraft, your instructor will conduct with you a few lessons in a chain, teaching you to fly on each leg. You will learn that you need to check on each leg which radio calls to make and when to make them.

You’ll also learn how to recognize familiar landmarks around an airfield, because without that knowledge disorientation can be surprisingly easy, and it will make the experience much less stressful in the unlikely event the Control Tower asks you to orbit over a specific moment to make room for another plane. . There was little chance of this happening as your instructor had to choose a time when the airfield would be relatively quiet and he / she had to inform the Tower that you were a student, that you were flying for the first time, but if that happened then will be prepared to help you follow the instructions of the Tower with a minimum number of flight violations.

So when should you expect your first solo and how can you prepare for it? Rest assured that your instructor will not send you alone until he or she is confident enough that you are ready. There will come a day when you have both been in “chain chasing,” that is, flying one chain after another, until the whole process from takeoff to landing is rammed into your brain and your reflexes by constant repetition. You may even get a little bored with this practice, and a smart instructor will feel this boredom and perceive it as a signal that it’s time to fly on your own.

My first solo was on July 4, 1985 at Southampton Airport (EGHI) at Grumman AA5-A, G-BFTE registration. The extended lessons were focused on multiple flight until all the steps were used. During these hands-on sessions, I landed the plane several times without the intervention of an instructor next to me. I knew that soon during such a lesson he would ask me to take a taxi to the apron and park until he released the plane and gave me the opportunity to fly the chain on my own. That particular day we flew a few chains and he told me to park in front of the Tower. Half of me hoped the lesson was over and the other half knew what would happen. Once the plane was parked, he opened the canopy and stepped onto the wing. He leaned over to the cab and said, “That’s right. Only one chain, then back here. Go. “

Before I could protest, he closed the canopy and left without looking back. I was left alone on the plane. I Called the Tower »Southampton Tower, Golf Bravo Foxtrot Tango Echo, radio check and taxi to hold. “Approval was given without a pause. I was driving. He steered to the place of detention, ran his eyes over the dashboard and once again called that he was ready to leave (take off). A few seconds later the plane was gaining speed along the runway, and I was soon in the air.

The first thing that struck me was that the plane was lighter and steered differently, and of course this was due to the fact that there was one smaller adult in the right seat! All things to focus on for the next few minutes went by in a flash. I didn’t actually stop and sum up the event until I found myself in my feet in the wind, where there was a minute or two in which I could realize I was flying on my own. I did not have time to congratulate myself when I realized that I needed to prepare for landing. Then there were radio calls and pre-landing checks, and a minute or two later I was looking at the length of the runway, concentrating on the air speed, altitude, and position of the aircraft’s hood relative to the end of the runway.

My instructor’s voice was in my head and led me down. Now I understood why we repeated this exercise so often and in different settings. I made small adjustments where necessary and soon I felt the knock of the main wheels touch the runway. After the bow wheel also dropped, I gently applied the breakage and walked back to the apron to park. When all post-landing checks were completed and the plane was turned off, I was released and walked through my apron to the main terminal building. My knees trembled a little, but with each step I grew a foot higher. By the time I got to the building, I was already beaming.

That was twenty-five years ago. You will never forget your first solo!

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