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Thread: Remember the Day you Solo'ed? Share Your Memory With Us

  1. #41

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    Soloed on 16th birthday 1959 in a J-3 at Waukesha, Wisconsin where I had already worked as a lineboy for two years. Was pretty routine until second time around the patch an airport bum in a PT 19 flew up close to me on downwind leg and did an aileron roll right next to me! I was lucky to have excellent instructors harland sedgwick, Dale Crites, and Bill Kohler. 30 Years later I would be back to run the FBO there and B airport manager....
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  2. #42

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    I soloed when I was 16, on 7-31-1970, less than 2 weeks from being 17. I was taking lessons in Cessna 150's at Northland Aviation at Anoka County airport, ANE. For some reason for which I can't remember, I show 2 separate lessons that morning, my log book shows the first one was maneuvers and the second one as touch and go's. I know I was having problems with cross winds and later that day I came back and we went up to Forrest Lake airport, which had a grass runway that was more aligned into the wind and did some practice there before he soloed me.
    It was the first time I flew off grass and at that particular airport too. I do remember that on downwind I lost sight of the runway for a second or two because it blended into the other grass fields surrounding the strip.
    When we got back I got a congratulations from some guy in the office, they never did the shirt tail thing.
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  3. #43
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    An overcast day in January 1958 in an Aeronca Champ. It leaped off the ground without the instructor, and I remember looking in the back seat seeing it empty while on down wind. When I was taxing back for a second trip around the pattern, someone in a T-6 buzzed low overhead so I parked the plane not wanting to be in the air with him around. The following week my instructor wasn't available so another went up with me. At the end he said I'll show you how to get down in a hurry and he promptly entered a multi turn spin. Scared the bleep out of me. When I told my instructor what had been done he spent some time teaching me spins with a total time of 10 hours in my log. I have never seen nor even heard of that other instructor since.

    Interestingly, many years later a fellow showed up at my seaplane base with that very same Champ on floats. He let me take it for a flight. Boy, what a dog with only an A-65 for power. He later went through the ice with it while on skis. Hmm, I wonder where that plane is today?

    EDIT PS,
    I'll add to this story something which I have found amusing. I earned my Private during the summer between grades 11 and 12. While in the 11th grade there was a science fair where we had to produce an entry in order to pass physics. So I whipped up a quickie autopilot demonstration with an old string pull gyro on a gimbal on a piece of scrap wood with a moving elevator at the back. The judges, one of whom was the superintendent of schools were so fascinated that I had soloed an airplane that they awarded me the first grand prize of the entire fair. What a joke, there were other projects which were far more worthy than mine. I lost a lot of respect for educators after that.
    Last edited by skywagon8a; 03-22-2017 at 02:05 PM.
    N1PA
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  4. #44
    Cub Builder's Avatar
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    Clinton County Airport, Plattsburgh, NY Feb or Mar of 1976, Cessna 150 while stationed at Plattsburgh AFB. I got my pilot's license as a gift to myself for my 20th birthday. I don't recall anything especially exciting about it other than being a check-mark on the road towards a lifetime of fun in aviation. Later that year after I had my ticket I got about 45 minutes of tailwheel instruction in a Champ from a family friend before he turned me loose with his Champ. That was much more exciting to me than my first solo.

    -Cub Builder
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  5. #45

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    I soloed last fall on the 29th of October at the Mack airstrip West of Grand Junction Co in my SuperCub. at the age of 54. I have been around small planes all of my life however never had the time or the finances to take flight lessons. I have a very patient instructor who did not push me to solo before I had gained the confidence and skill needed to safely solo. It was a non event with three decent takeoff and landings.
    Two weeks later I flew my first solo cross country from Grand Junction to Cortez. The highlight for that flight was meeting up with my 75 year young dad flying his J-5 along the way back home. He was thrilled to be a part of my first cross country flight. His first cross country flight would have been in 1972 from Homer to Anchorage with him assisting in a rescue along the way, but that is another story.Click image for larger version. 

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  6. #46
    Chesney's Avatar
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    Nine months ago, KMGJ.


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  7. #47
    40m's Avatar
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    10-3-73 DXR, Danbury CT. Worked as a line boy at Danbury Airways, aways arranged for a 1968 Cherokee 140 62U to be available. I kept it clean and polished nice green and white. Great instructor Bobby Wilson, promised me a ride in his nicely restored Ryan PT-22, moved on before I got the chance.

    From Genesis: "And God promised men that good and obedient wives would be
    found in all corners of the earth."

    Then he made the earth round... and He laughed and laughed and laughed!

  8. #48
    Eddie Foy's Avatar
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    Does this count?

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    Eddie Foy
    "Put out my hand and touched the face of God"
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  9. #49
    Farmboy's Avatar
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    Ha! That's perfect Eddie. The A-10 cannon always reminds me of comic book heroes like Nick Fury with the cigar sticking out of the side of his mouth.


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  10. #50
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 40m View Post
    Great instructor Bobby Wilson, promised me a ride in his nicely restored Ryan PT-22, moved on before I got the chance.
    I'm sorry that you missed your ride in a fantastic airplane. This reminds me of a story. Early in my career I worked for a couple of old timers who taught me a lot about aviation. Part of my regular activities was to take the old station wagon pulling a trailer to various locations to retrieve airplanes, mostly wrecks. I averaged one a month for several years. One of these trips was to Linden NJ where there was a PT-22 sitting forlorn out in the weather without two rear landing wires. I hauled it home to GBR where we recovered the wings and threw on a coat of Dulux. Then I was given the assignment of test flying it. The situation was you fixed it you fly it. It didn't matter whether or not I had ever flown whatever it was before, I did it. That PT-22 was one of the most fun airplanes that I had flown. Built like the proverbial brick outhouse. My boss paid $800 for it.
    If you ever get another chance to fly in a PT-22, grab it and enjoy. Ta-Pocit-Ta, Ta-Pocit-Ta, Ta-Pocit-Ta, Ta-Pocit-Ta. Love that Kinner sound!
    N1PA
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  11. #51
    Tom3holer's Avatar
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    The old Chief Pilot at Air New England had one in the early 70's. One day he offered my a ride after a DC-3 training session. The most memorable thing was the sound of that engine...I can still recall it like it was yesterday.
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  12. #52
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 40m View Post
    10-3-73 DXR, Danbury CT. Worked as a line boy at Danbury Airways, aways arranged for a 1968 Cherokee 140 62U to be available. I kept it clean and polished nice green and white. Great instructor Bobby Wilson, promised me a ride in his nicely restored Ryan PT-22, moved on before I got the chance.
    I have another Danbury story which can be told another day. I had an engine failure in a 250 Comanche when directly overhead. Luck was shining on me that day.
    N1PA

  13. #53
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    It is still the most memorable day of all of my flying... It was New Years Eve, 2012. I had 12.1 hours of dual since the beginning of Dec and was struggling to get flying time in. Dec in Alaska is not the ideal time to be learning to fly I guess. On that particular day the weather was spectacular. Pretty sunny, dead calm and fairly mild temps from the previous few days. When we landed at Willow my instructor said he was having problems with his headset and needed me to pull of the strip for a second. He got out and pulled his headset out and said to just take it for a spin while he tries to figure it out... Takeoff was incredibly short compared to all the previous, but I am not sure if I have ever been more nervous in my life than my first landing by myself... 3 landings later he waived me back over and said, "Take me back to Wasilla, my job is done for now..." It was a pretty surreal flight home that day!



    This was the takeoff from Wasilla with the instructor in the back for the last time for a little while...



    And this was a whole lot lighter takeoff a short time later!



    650 hours later there are only a few experiences that have come close to it!
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  14. #54

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    Does anyone know why instructors often limit the initial solo to 3 takeoffs and landings? Same thing happened when I recently soloed in Gyro. I thought it was good time to end on successful solo experience. Felt good for next dual lesson knowing I could solo.

  15. #55
    WanaBNACub's Avatar
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    We were already at 1.5 hours by the time I did my 3 and we made it back. I dont think they are limited to 3 though.

  16. #56
    CubCruiser's Avatar
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    I was 36 when I soloed...Have tried to make up for lost time by flying 300 hours a year since.

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    Daryl Hickman, CFI
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  17. #57
    Cub Special Ed's Avatar
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    If you dont wreck 1st landing you were lucky. If you didnt wreck on your 2nd landing it was just a coinsidence. If you didnt wreck on 3d landing you probably had a handle on things. Just my opinion.
    "There are 3 kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves." Will Rogers

  18. #58
    CubCruiser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavePA11 View Post
    Does anyone know why instructors often limit the initial solo to 3 takeoffs and landings? Same thing happened when I recently soloed in Gyro. I thought it was good time to end on successful solo experience. Felt good for next dual lesson knowing I could solo.
    The first student I soloed as a CFI, I told him to go do three touch and goes. He took me literally and did three touch and goes, which resulted in the need for a fourth landing...I have been more careful with my words ever since.
    Daryl Hickman, CFI
    N87DH American Super Legend HP
    N4987H Piper PA-11S Cub Special

  19. #59
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    If I remember right, the date was Sunday, November7, 1976. I had gotten up early and headed to the airport to meet my flight instructor. When I got to the airport, Tom told me to pull N40858 out of the hanger. N40858 was a red and white 1974 Piper Warrior. I did a preflight and then Tom and I crawled in, started the engine and taxied to 31 for take-off.

    We left the pattern and went out and practiced stalls and slow flight. After a half hour or so Tom had me head back to the airport and we did a couple of touch and go landings. After the last landing we taxied back to the FBO. As I shut down the engine, Tom asked to see my student pilot license, I handed it over to him and he pulled out his pen and wrote something on the back. He handed it back to me and opened the door and crawled out. Tom stuck his head back in the cabin and told me to go make 3 full stop landings and then shut the door.

    My heart started to race. I was about to solo. I taxied to 31, did the engine run-up and made a radio call, “Pierre radio,Warrior 40858 taking off on 31 for first solo. Will be touch and go.” Pierre radio responded, “Warrior 40858, inbound traffic is Western 737”. Holy crap, I am on my first solo and I will have to share the pattern with a big jet! Suddenly, over the radio I hear, “Warrior 40858, inbound Western 737 will circle until you have completed your solo. Congratulations and good luck.”

    My heart was still racing as I applied power and started the takeoff roll. I was surprised at how fast the Warrior accelerated and left the ground without Tom sitting beside me. My first thought was, “Wow, I am flying by myself, and the airplane is flying better!”
    The rest of the flight is a blur in my memory. I am sure that I have never had a bigger smile on my face. It is a day I will never forget. I have often wondered if the passengers on that Western flight ever found out what caused their delay on that beautiful Sunday morning.

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