What happens after First Solo? Do I have ‘freedom of the skies’?

Going FIRST SOLO in your flying career is a tremendous milestone – the exhilaration, the fear – [and that's only the instructor!]. Everyone who has experienced FIRST SOLO will remember every second, let alone every minute but what happens next?

Do you now have ‘freedom of the skies’ as I thought when I went first solo? Instead of doing one circuit, as possibly instructed, I kept going round and round until the weather looked threatening! Ooh was my name mud when I landed? The CFI thought I had been doing circuits for so long I didn’t know how to stop!

So ‘No’, you don’t have freedom of the skies. The instructor has sent you solo because s/he has recognised your competence on ONE occasion.

Therefore, the instructor will go with you next flight [Advice: make it as soon as possible] just to confirm that the standard is there again and will get out giving you the chance to do more circuits by yourself.

Each time you fly when the circumstances are different:- different circuit, wind amount or direction, or if you haven’t flown for a while, the instructor will fly with you to check that you are happy with these differences before sending you solo again.

It always amazes me how much improvement is made at this stage. The solo student has to take ALL the responsibility for ALL the decisions up there so it shouldn’t be surprising really.

As the pilot you can initiate your own individual [but hopefully] minor experiments without that pesky other person interfering! The instructor is there to note trends in your flying. S/he can point things out and expand your syllabus.

The next stage is to go out of the circuit, maintain accurate flight and come back in, landing successfully.  The length of time out of the circuit will be lengthened until it is time to go on cross countries to a different airfield, first with the instructor and then on your two qualifying solo cross countries. Here again is exhilaration and  fear for both you and your instructor! All this will make up your qualifying minimum of 10 hours solo [ NPPL UK].

So then on to the GST – General Skills Test……….

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