Flying is something special, you know this already because you wouldn’t read my blogs if you wouldn’t have any affection with flying what so ever.
When you are in flight school you have a few points you are working towards. one of these points is your first Solo flight. You start flying with an instructor where they learn you to land a Single engine piston aircraft. It takes around 15 flight hours when the instructors release you for your first Solo flight.
You will first fly with the instructor some circuits before he/she releases you. When the instructor things you are ready he/she tells you that the next landing will be a stop and go. You land the aircraft and taxi to the apron, the instructor will get out of the plane and you are from this moment completely alone. The instructor will go to the tower and check how you are doing and in case it looks a bit strange from the outside he can talk you down somehow.
You taxi out back to the runway where you are lining up
to fly your first SOLO flight. The scariest moment ever but at the same time the best feeling ever. Yes EVER! even better than …? Well yeah close to that point I must say. Anyway, you are giving power and there you go. your heartbeat in your throat and accelerating to a speed where you lift off the ground. This was what they trained you for in the last 15 flight hours. You do what you did for a few hours already so no problem there. First turn and quickly the second turn. You configure the aircraft for the first alone landing. The instructor cannot help you anymore you are on your own. You configure the aircraft further and steer towards the before the last turn before landing. Then one more turn and last configuration change to make your solo landing. I was full of adrenaline and you just hope you don’t mess up anything. Now in the next 30 seconds, you are landing and so many things go through your head, did I do everything well, and telling yourself 2000x that you can do it.
BAMMMMM first smooth landing. Now quickly flaps up and make this touch and go a successful one. You add power and you do this whole procedure twice more. The last one will be a Full stop landing. You brake the aircraft after landing and taxi back to the apron, your friends are waiting for you there. You open the door of the aircraft and they help you with filling the papers so they can start the ritual afterward. RITUAL? Yup.
The solo ritual is a bit strange but you get out of the aircraft and the instructor shakes your hand and all your friends do the same. All guys with more experience are allowed to slap you in your neck and kick your ass. The Instructor cuts your tie in half. 1 part is for you to keep and the other part is for the instructor. Then you go for a deep wash, your friends are allowed to take the water hose and spray you until every friend had the chance to spray you. now you’re almost done. If you allow it you get a free new haircut, done by instructors and friends. Now you are finished with your first solo.
As one of the instructors told me: It is the best feeling you can have with your pants on. I must agree I think it was one of the best feelings you can possibly have.
Below you can see the video of my last full stop landing during my SOLO flight including the neck slapping, ass-kicking, but not the free shower with the hose.
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