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  • Solos

    Originally posted by Richard Duxbury
    and first solo
    Dux, just thinkin' here - I'd always thought that you could ony "solo" once?

    best, randy

  • #2
    The George HW Bush thread got a bit off track, so I thought I would start a new one just on the topic of solos.

    By First Solo, I mean not just your very first one, but other category/class solos, or special types.

    My first ever solo was a Grumman/Gulfstream AA-5B Tiger off a 2000 foot strip. It was a bit anticlimactic, as I had been ready to solo for several lessons, but my instructor was about to leave that school, and would not sign me off. The airport changed hands, and the new instructor soloed me the first flight with him. I do remember looking over at the seat beside me on downwind and getting a BIG grin seeing it EMPTY.

    First jet solo was the T-37. Again, I had been ready to solo for several flights, but the USAF syllabus, you soloed when you got the ride that was to solo. I was the first in my class to solo. Did the mandatory 3 TO/landing with my instructor, then he had me taxi over to near the Runway Supervisory Unit, and shut down the right engine. He climbed out and fastened up the belts and waved me off. I did about 9 patterns on my own. Mainly what I remember was the Supervisor of Flying decided to cold to be thrown into the solo tank, as it had a 2 inch sheet of ice on it. So a couple of my WONDERFUL classmates spent over an hour breaking up and removing all the ice. So THEN they could throw me into the, literally, ICE COLD solo tank.

    First glider solo, I went with a instructor from Laughlin in his 7KCAB over to the glider field near San Antonio. I forget if it was the first or second time I flew there, the instructor asked if I had soloed. I said not in gliders. He said no problem, then he asked, "have you ever done a simulated rope break?" Nope. "Oh, let's take one more flight to make sure you are ready to solo." Hmm, I wonder what will happen on this one?????? So yes, one each simulated rope break, and then I soloed.

    One more, A-10. There are no two seaters. There was a simulator, but students were not allowed to fly it. So we got a cockpit procedures trainer check out. The CPT looked like the real thing, but all the gauges were pictures. But all the moving things moved. So you went over the pre-start, start, pre-takeoff, after landing, and shutdown checklists, also all the boldface emergency procedures. Then you went out and did the same thing in an aircraft, actually starting it up, while your instructor stood on the ladder. If that went well, the next day you had your first flight. The instructor flew the chase position (loose wingtip formation), and we joked, that he was there to tell the crash trucks where the crash site was. Not a big deal, very straightforward aircraft to fly.


    • #3
      I wanted to start a new thread about Solos, but it got tacked on to this one, but was not popping up as recent. So posting to it to bump it.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Terry Carraway View Post
        I wanted to start a new thread about Solos, but it got tacked on to this one, but was not popping up as recent. So posting to it to bump it.
        Odd - Maybe Mike can move it.

        My first solos are much fewer and (I guess) equally not exciting. My very first solo was an early morning affair at Flying Cloud airport in a Cessna C152. It was a sunny, summer morning. Pretty calm air, as I recall. Like many, the two things I remember are that plane sure seemed bigger with no one sitting next to me, and it had more "get up and go" without the instructor.

        My only other solo of note was in a glider. Also uneventful, but fun.


        • #5
          A different type of solo was when I made A/C in Vietnam and especially when I was flying guns. A new type of responsibility. I wish I could have said it was uneventful.

          Grace and Peace,
          48th AHC 1971-72


          • #6
            I'll never forget my first solo! It was in a C152 at KFCM. Maybe the same one John flew.....N93564 which I affectionately called the PuttPutt. My instructor had asked me a few days earlier if I wanted him to get out so I could fly alone, and I said "no, thanks, not today". I don't know why, but the thought scared the beejezus out of me at that moment (probably because I'm not a natural pilot.....).

            Then, on the Fourth of July he asked the same question, and I told him to yes, get his butt out of the plane! After I launched my first thought was "There's nobody in here with me" and then "Oh s**t, I have to land it now". I did three awesome laps in the pattern, even with the first landing being kind of a t**d (again, probably because I'm not a natural pilot.....). It was so much fun I almost didn't come back in. The Tower complimented me on my radio work and landings (confirming the well-known issues with parallax and the view from the KFCM Tower...). So, July 4, 2019 will mark the 19th anniversary of that flight - I've always loved the Fourth, and soloing that day makes it even more fun!
            Not a natural pilot.....