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Feature Article: What to expect on your first solo
Solo preparation began on the first flight. Now, the FARs require
specific paper work, study, and testing. Student skill and knowledge
for the flight must meet safety requirements. The instructor will
impose limits of visibility and wind conditions. The extent of
the testing of FARs and aircraft knowledge will vary but FARs
say the depth must be enough to determine competency. Airport
and radio procedures must be covered for all anticipated solo
situations. The words, "student pilot," now become part
of the aircraft identification whenever the full aircraft identification
is appropriate. i.e. "Cessna 6185K student pilot"
The day of possible solo is significant both to student and
instructor. Psychological conditioning begins during the post
flight discussions several flights before actual solo. The parameters
of acceptable flying conditions is based primarily on safety considerations.
This needs to be clearly understood by the student. Unsafe solo
conditions turns the planned dual/solo lesson into a dual only.
The teaching accountability of the flight instructor is exceeded
in no other field and equaled in only a few.
The pre-solo discussion is used to confirm that all required
papers are, if not completed, available. An oral review of the
conditions requiring slow flight and the short approach should
be included. The dual is limited by agreement. The instructor
expects that the student will complete at least three safe landings
and a go- around in the first half hour of closed traffic. If
this is not accomplished then the remainder of the flight time
will be to review or refine landing skills in dual. The reason
for this is that extending the dual time beyond the half hour
creates student fatigue that might jeopardize solo safety. One
way to judge the intellectual and emotional load of a student
on any pre-solo flight is to see if he can handle the landing
process while conversing about some unrelated subject just as
he would in an automobile. It's nice to know that the student
has some capacity left for emergencies when the instructor gets
If all goes well, the student solo proceeds. The student is
expected to make two touch and go's a full stop in solo flight.
A go around does not count. The instructor will be in the tower
to monitor the flight and advise ATC of the student's capability
to handle an unexpected situation. On occasion, the instructor
may authorize an extension of the solo flight.
Last Modified February 26, ©2021 TAGE.COM