Ex 14 : Your First Solo Flight
Before your instructor can even consider sending you for your first solo flight, you have to have your Student Pilot License, (SPL), AND have covered and be competent at all the exercises 1 to 13E.
Student Pilot License
In order to get your SPL, you will have to have written a test, predominantly on airlaw and some principles of flight, and have written a technical exam on the aircraft you are training in. Your valid medical, a certified copy of your ID, and two passport sized photgraphs with your name, ID number and signature on the back, (as well as the appropriate CAA fee) will
have to have been sent to the SACAA for processing. You will have received back two A4 pages, one your SPL with your license number - remember to sign it in the TWO signature areas to make it valid - and a File Copy listing the aircraft you may fly solo on with the appropriate training and authorisation. Your instructor will have sent the appropriate application form to CAA
This is not so tough, as the technical exam is open book. It is designed to have you read through and process the information in your Pilot Operating Handbook. Don't just look for the answers, read the book! It is vital to help you understand your aircraft.
First Solo Flight
You will not be sent on your first solo flight until your instructor is confident that you are consistently able to take off, fly a circuit and land in a safe manner without his/her assistance,are situationally aware, would manage any emergencies if they were to occur, know all your checks, and can cope with the radio work.
You will be signed out twice in the Flight Authorisation Book. Once Dual, once Solo.
There is no guarantee you will be sent solo during your first solo flight check ride, but the odds are stacked in your favour. Now it is up to you. The instructor will assess your flying for a minimum of three circuits. If all goes well and he/she believes you will bring the aircraft back in one piece, you will be sent solo.
When you experience your first solo flight you will notice a few things:
Your instructor may not be next to you, but he/she will still be in your head
Your aircraft will accelerate faster and lift off sooner
You will climb at a much better rate of climb and reach your circuit altitude sooner
You will probably have to reduce the power a little bit more than you have been to descend on slope
You will have a fleeting moment of panic when you intelectualise that your instructor is on the ground
You will land with a sense of achievement and joy that is truly exhilarating.
You will complete only one circuit (unless you had to do a go-around), for your first solo flight.
Your next few training sessions will be consolidation which means that you are not out of the
circuit yet. The next time you fly, you will do circuits and landings again, at least three. If
these are consistent, as they should be by now, your instructor will hop out and send you on your way to
do circuits and landings on your own.
You will do about four or five sessions like this, never more than one session a day, until you have built up 3 hours of solo flight time. Then it is time to adventure back to the GFA to learn the next new lesson, probably "Steep Turns". The main point though, is for your instructor to be sure your radio work and homing skills are adequate to get you to the GFA and back without incident. If your radio work is not up to scratch, you will be doing more dual trips.
Go from Ex 14, First Solo Flight, back to the Lesson Briefings Overview