An important milestone for EPST’ers Luc Visser, Florian Wever and Guus Schrameijer: they were allowed to fly solo for the first time. They all got green light from their instructor and landed their plane safely. Once on the ground, they shared their euphoria with fellow EPST students, who were waiting for them with a large bucket of soapy water to wet the solo pilot.
With the first stripe on their suits, the three pilots look back on this unforgettable moment. How did they experience their first solo?
Luc Visser: “As a little boy I already watched videos of students going solo for the first time”
Luc had to prove himself before going solo: his instructor was not authorized to send him out solo a few days earlier, so he had to show that he was ready with the Head of Training in the cockpit for a check flight. After a good landing, the head of training got out convinced and Luc was allowed to go alone. How was that? “It was especially exciting when the Head of Training was still sitting next to me and said that if I landed well I could fly alone. When that was done, I actually felt quite relaxed. We did a radio check on the walkie-talkie and then I realized I couldn’t go back. I don’t remember much, for example that I was flying downwind and looked next to me. Then I realized it was really happening. It was short, only 5 minutes.”
Once he parked the plane, it was time for the ceremony afterwards. “I remember that better. As a little boy I used to watch videos on YouTube of students going solo for the first time and then going into the pool or being drenched and now it was me! Celebrating that moment together with fellow EPST students made it extra special.’’
On the left picture Guus and the right photo Florian.
Florian Wever: “Once on the ground you feel like the king of the world”
“When everything in the air is going nice and smooth during the traffic patterns, you feel that your first solo is coming. At a certain point, after the last check flight, the instructor tells you that you can finally take it to the air.” Especially the minutes before that first flight felt exciting for Florian. “The instructor gets out and wishes you luck. Then the hood closes and there you are, all alone. You do the final checks, talk to air traffic control and then turn onto the runway. Those few seconds on the track feel exciting, but that tension dissipates as soon as you start rolling.”
What was that like once in the air? “Awesome! You just don’t have time to think about it, because you have to do a lot of things right away. The landing is very exciting, especially because everyone on the ground is watching. Once on the ground you feel like the king of the world and you are greeted by everyone with a nice first solo tradition. It’s a great experience!”
Guus: “A big step towards the final goal. Very cool.”
“My first solo flight was a moment I will never forget. You work towards it for a long time and I feel it is a big step towards fulfilling a dream.” Guus also felt some tension when the moment came. “When the instructor got out and told me I could do it myself, I felt a sense of tension. But once I put the throttle to full power, it was a matter of doing my job and making sure I could make it a great success.” Due to an unknown object on the runway, Guus had to make an extra round before he could initiate his full stop landing.
Guus enjoys it, but he mainly has his eyes set on what is yet to come. “I can definitely enjoy my first solo flight. It has been the basis for the even more beautiful flights that I have performed since and that are still to come. It has been an important step towards something bigger and it helps me to see the end goal getting closer and closer. That is very cool.”