How To Know When You’re Ready To Fly By Yourself
You’ll never forget your first solo flight. For many pilots, the experience ranks right up there with getting married and the birth of their first child in terms of all-time favorite memories. It’s an accomplishment to be proud of, it’s a confidence-builder and, well, it’s just good ole’ fashioned fun!
During their first solo flight, students will typically fly a few patterned loops to gain some confidence in the air (without an instructor in the passenger seat). They’ll also need to successfully land the plane by themselves, which is considered one of the more difficult things about flying. During this time, minor mistakes are nothing to worry about. In fact, they’re a good thing, because, as the saying goes, you’re only as good as your last mistake! Here are some of the signs that you are ready to fly by yourself.
Minimum Required Ground Training
When it comes to flying a plane, preparation is not something you want to gloss over. And, even if you did want to skip over it, you couldn’t because The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has set several minimum requirements that a student must meet before being allowed to fly solo.
Specific institutions may, in addition to the FAA’s requirements, have some more restrictive conditions of their own. But, at the least, a flight-student must meet the following training requirements before taking part in a solo flight according to FAR Part 61:
A student pilot must pass an aeronautical knowledge test based on topics in Part 61 and Part 91 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs). Basic airspace regulations and rules specific to the pilot’s home airbase and the plane itself are all typically included on the test. The test will be reviewed by the flight instructor, who will correct any wrong answers and go over them with the student before the solo flight occurs.
Minimum Required Flight Training
Technically there are no minimum hour requirements necessary before a student does their first solo flight. But there are a number of maneuvers that the student must be able to complete. Usually these maneuvers take between twenty and thirty hours to learn effectively, but some can do it fifteen or even as few as ten hours.
The maneuvers that students must know before their first solo flight include (but are not limited to):
- Traffic patterns
- Stall entries
- Emergency procedures
- Go-arounds and more
After having completed the aforementioned requirements, your flight instructor will choose a day with good weather to go up for a few landings. For the first several takeoffs your instructor will go up with you to sure your landings are good. After you’ve done this a few times, you’ll drop your instructor off and try it for yourself. Your first solo flight is a confidence booster. And it’s important to relax and remember all that you’ve learned. Remember, you can do this. Good luck!
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