The day of your solo will certainly be a day of remembrance. The radios, the flight
controls, everything is under your control. Your instructor has signed you off feeling
more than confident that you can operate the airplane in a safe manner.
The best time for a solo is usually early, before the winds start to kick and while all the
other pilots are still asleep. Your instructor will most likely want you to demonstrate a
few landings with little or no help from him or her. You know you’ve done well when your
instructor asks for a full stop landing.
After properly endorsing your logbook and signing your medical, you’re on your way to
pilot in command time.
A typical solo consists of 3 take offs and landings, although it doesn’t seem like much,
every student I have soloed is usually drenched in sweat. A high pressure but rewarding
After your solo your instructor will usually perform and old aviation tradition, the shirt cutting. Back
in the old day before radios, pilots would learn in an aircraft with tandem seating (one
behind the other) Since the two pilots couldn’t communicate very well the instructor
(sitting in the back seat) would tug either on the right or left side of the students shirt
indicating which direction to turn back to the airport.
When the student could find the airport and land by themselves the instructor would
“cut” their students shirt tail indicating they no longer needed the instructor for the
Stay cool, calm, and collected, your solo is not as difficult as it’s played out to be. Just
remember confidence not cockiness there is a fine line between the to.
For those who have already had their shirt cut what do you remember most about your
solo and what tips might you have for others?
Or to view a students perspective on your first solo flight check out Different Perspectives: Your First Solo