First Solo Flights

Dear Aviators,

I am sure that for all of us pilots out there, the first solo flight means a lot, and it becomes one of our most important days in our lives! So i decided to post this thread and ask if you can share your memories and any video from that day!

For instance i will never forget when the Head of Training ripped my T-Shirt in half as soon as i exited the aircraft! =)

Here is my First Solo Flight:

Looking forward for your shares!

16th birthday, nothing really out of the usual as far as the flight went. Got my shirt cut and hung up along with all those who soloed before me, that night the building burned down so I never got it back.

John in Saudi

P.S. video didn’t exist in those days.

Like John and some others on here I soloed on my 16th birthday. I remember being equal parts ecstatic, terrified and awestruck. Got the tail of my CAP uniform shirt cut off and hung in the squadron CO’s office.

Aircraft was a WWII surplus PT-17 without radios or an electrical system.

Video? Film had barely been invented. :laughing:

Good luck and enjoy.


My first solo flight was in Big Timber, Montana shortly after my 16th birthday in 1949. I began lessons in a Cessna 120, but soloed in a Cessna 140. I still remember my thought when the little plane left the ground (there were no runways, just a big field) more quickly than usual: now I’ll have to land this thing all by myself! Such a thought certainly focussed my attention on what my instructor had taught me. There was no cereemony afterwards, just the pride of accomplishment.

I got a late start- First solo 27 years old. J-3, actually left the pattern and rejoined do to traffic (and I had no radio). My CFI wasn’t happy about that.

14 years later I’m a god like ATP :smiling_imp:

1 month before my 17th birthday. 4:50 hours total time. San Jose “Municipal” airport. Takeoff and I’m number 6 to land! Smoggy day, a bit hard to locate all the traffic. Last landing had to land long because of a PSA 727 in between the runways with his exhaust blowing over the threshold.

Flight instructors last name Falcon. Fond memories. :slight_smile:

My first solo was the summer of 1960 at Highland Park Airport in Dallas, Texas in an Aeronca 7FC… I was 23 years old. One of happiest days of my life!

I had 2 first solos! They were in a Robinson 22. As I walked into the hangar, my instructor was leaning into the bubble, and totally ignored me as I said hello - I even asked him if he felt ok, he looked so distracted. After flying a bit, we landed, and he said “One day, I won’t be here with you… (loooooong pause) …I’d like today to be that day.” Then he just got out. I was so frightened and surprised that I just about begged him not to leave me. Then I brought up the fact that I don’t weigh enough to fly it solo, thinking that would get me out of it. He opened his seat to show me that he had put 25lbs of dumbells there, which is why he looked so distracted in the hanger - I’d walked in on his scheme. Then he just turned around and walked away, never looking back. I was to hover taxi 10 feet, land, pick up, hover taxi 10 feet, land, pick up… I finally made the 300 feet back to the hanger after what seemed like miles.

My first actual flight solo was a few days later - I’d had two days of ‘hover taxi 10 feet - land -pick up’ until I was so bored (which was his plan) that I finally flew to the runway and took off. As I entered the pattern, he radioed “That’s my girl.” I was so upset with him then, but he has become a great friend. We own an R44 together, and are picking up an R22 next week.

Was 23 years old in the Air Force at Osan AB, Korea. Soloed in a Cessna 150L with sharks teeth on the cowl. Did the requirements while in the pattern with 2 go-arounds due to a C-130 and a DC-8 landing. Never ever will for get it…a great day!

I did mine earlier this month. It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. Nothing like that moment when you line up on the center line, take a deep breath, and push that throttle forward.

I wore my gopro during my third solo and got a solid video out of it.

How’s this one grab you. I was 61 years old! Same basic deal, did some practice then he got out and said give me 3 touch and goes. Said he’d be watching with a portable and call if I needed. Won’t ever forget. I have maybe 20 solo hours in the mountains of Western NC but never finished to get my certificate. Too expensive but mainly fulfilled a life long dream!

I was 14 when I solo’d in a glider, using a winch launch. Once the operator starts reeling in the winch you’re going up whether you like it or not. :smiley:

Hopefully this adds some humor…in 2007 I was a controller at Santa Monica airport (SMO). I was working local when a C172 came to the airport and did some touch and goes. After a little while, the aircraft landed and parked across the runway from the tower, and someone got out of the plane. A few minutes later the aircraft called ground and taxiied to the runway. The ground controller told me the pilot said it was his first solo.

I cleared the aircraft for takeoff. He flew a normal pattern and I cleared him to land. He touched down and immediately veered to the left, on one wheel, off the runway. The whole airport is paved, fortunately. There was another C172 on the parallel taxiway that had just landed and was taxiing back, so I kept it on my frequency. I shouted “stop! stop! Cessna xxx stop!”. “Yeah, we see him”.

The airplane came down onto all three main gear and stopped at a 45 degree angle relative to the row of airplanes it drove Into. He stopped right between 2 airplanes without hitting * anything *.

I said “Cessna xxxx, are you okay?”. He responded “I think so”. The instructor was sprinting across the ramp to the airplane. They sat there for a good 30 minutes, then flew away.

I think that poor guy probably quit after that.

Okay, what are the oldest?

Hey I am going to be taking my flight school in february. I will be doing my 20 hours of ground time and the 10 hours of flight time. But it is awhile away and I want to know what to start working on. What do you suggest I start learning now so In february ill be ready to pass the exam and class and get my solo? What do you get quizzed on and what does the solo consist of? Thanks alot

Only 13 and logging log book hours…
Need to wait 3 more years.
I fly the Cessna 172.


That doesn’t sound quite right to me.

(edit: Just noticed this was a nonsense post to spam some useless product.)

First solo, 37 years ago (just realized how long ago that is!) no real problems. Second solo, now that was interesting, south of the air field, out over the beach, summer time. I’m flying along fat dumb and happy, unaware what’s about to happen. Sudden severe thunder storm comes down from the north, no warning at all. It gets pitch black, I’m talking night time black. Did I mention I had never landed in the dark before, not to mention severe wind. I head back th the field, my instructor heads for the tower, he’s about to lay an egg. Contact the tower, let them know my situation, they give me a clear shot in. Flying a Cessna 150, I’m not sure about my depth perception at night so I figure lets try not to put her down short of the runway, lets land a little further down the runway than normal, turned out to be a good idea. I land (not my best but everything is in one piece, especially me), never really was scared. Taxi back to the flight school, my instructor gets a ride back to, “greet me”. I will never forget the look on his face, he was white as a ghost, scared the hell out of him! Everything after that day was a piece of cake.

16th birthday, 700’ ceiling and rain on a 50’ wide runway. I don’t remember the first half of my first lap around the pattern, realized it was real when I was abeam the numbers. Fun times.

Yikes! :open_mouth:

So you flew the pattern at 200’ AGL… or was it at 699’ AGL in Class B airspace or under SVFR? Any of those scenarios sound kinda sketchy to me LOL.