For the first time you are all alone in an airplane. Now you can take off and land yourself, with your instructor and your class watching from down below. The first solo flight is one of the absolute highlights in your flight training, and every EPST student looks forward to this moment.
Preparing for the first solo flight
Together with the instructor, you will prepare for the first flight alone when you have about 15 hours of flying time. You fly so-called ‘traffic patterns’. Time after time you take off and land again, we call those repetitions touch and goes. If the instructor thinks you are ready for your first flight alone, he will exit the airplane. That magical moment is here: you are all by yourself in the cockpit.
How did EPST students experience their first solo flight?
What goes through your mind in that moment? EPST students Kees, Bram and Wesley tell us how they experienced their first solo flight.
Kees (photo above) thought it was above all a special event. When the instructor told him he was ready, he felt confident. “I was supposed to make two touch-and-goes and one full stop landing. As soon as you are flying, the tension goes away and you focus on your task.” He looked forward to this moment for a long time and looks back on it with a positive feeling.
Bram (photo below): “It went really fast! After one check flight, the instructor exited the airplane. I taxied to the holding point so I could do my checks. I was so focused on flying that I didn’t really have time to be nervous. When it was quiet for a while I looked to the right and saw no one next to me. That was a very cool feeling!” According to Bram, the landing was something special. “There were quite a few classmates along the runway to assess my landing. Luckily it went well! Once back, almost all classmates were waiting for me to throw buckets of soapy water over me. Cold, but super fun!”
Wesley (photo below) also looks back on his first solo flight with a big smile. Despite the many practices, he felt the tension: “I did the first circuit with my instructor, who then got out and told me that I still had to fly 3 myself. At that moment I realized that I really had to do it myself, without help or directions. That was quite exciting.” Once in the air, the tension disappeared: there was not enough time to think about it for a long time.
A moment to remember
That first time flying alone is a moment to look forward to, according to the EPST students. It’s something you’ll never forget. “Afterwards I watched the videos of my solo at least 10 times. It was a very nice experience and I will probably think about it often.”