We asked our Instagram followers to tell us their stories from their first solos. We sent each participant a free Flight Outfitters t-shirt to replace the one cut off their back. We’ve had some amazing entries. Read a few stories below.
Solo Aircraft: Cessna 172P!
“I normally fly only twice a week, and by the middle of March my CFI started talking to me about my first solo. I didn’t think I was ready, but am normally very hard on myself and a strict perfectionist. She was very confident I would pass my pre-solo stage check. I, on the other hand, didn’t feel I was ready, and used the week leading up to my stage check chair flying every day and re-studying areas I was weak in. The stage check came and I passed, the check instructor noting my depth of knowledge and procedural skill at relatively low hours. I solo’d the next day at my class D airport on April 1st under my normal CFI’s supervision, with 18 hours under my belt. Despite telling ATC I was a student pilot on my first solo, they changed my runway and pattern direction twice during my 3 landings (I’m not sure if they forgot I was a student pilot, or because it was a busy day). Luckily I was able to adhere to all amended instructions and did my 3 required landings without much drama, even though the landings weren’t to my strict, perfectionist standards.
After taxiing to the ramp, my CFI congratulated me and asked me how it went, and me being my best critic, stated how it went ok, but was really disappointed as I felt they weren’t my best landings. My CFI gave me a funny look and said, “yeah, because everybody can fly a plane and land it by themselves” which reminded me to feel good about my accomplishments. She cut my shirt per tradition and drew on it (quoting the multiple ATC instructions during my solo), and the shirt tail hangs proudly framed in my room, next to all the aviation posters I’ve had since I was a kid. I am currently on the tail end of my PPL training with cross country flights and getting ready for my checkride which means I am at a busy part of my training, and even though I’ve done a number of solo flights since my first one, it will remain as one of the most challenging things I have ever accomplished in my entire life. The 7-year-old version of me, hoping to fly one day, would be proud.”
Solo Aircraft: Cessna 172P
“After waiting for two long weeks for the crazy wind of texas to calm down the weather was finally good enough at 6 am for my first solo flight. I was nervous about doing it but I knew I was ready since I was about 40 hours into training at this point. Me and my instructor went up for 30 min just to knock the rust off of my landings and then we taxied back to the ramp and he hopped out. It’s a strange feeling flying by yourself for the first time, I felt more free than ever before but you also have the realization that your instructor is not sitting next to you to save you if you make any mistakes. Im at a towered airport and that morning was the busiest I’ve ever seen the airport it was almost a two hour flight and I only did 4 landings.”
Solo Aircraft: Cessna 152
“The first time flying crossed my mind, I was 16, and I attended an airshow where the Thunderbirds were performing. However, I took a different path initially following high school. I majored in Wildlife Biology. But, I wasn’t entirely convinced that it was what I wanted. Something always felt like it wasn’t a good fit for me. So, after taking a discovery flight last year and having an awesome friend take me up in a warbird at EAA AirVenture 2021, I realized that 16 year old me already knew what I wanted to do and I couldn’t ignore her anymore. I am now a junior at Purdue University, majoring in Aviation Management. I started working towards my PPL in March of this year at Purdue Aviation. I’m also currently enlisted as an aircraft armament systems specialist, so I plan to commission after I graduate. I have aspirations to be a fighter pilot for the Air Force one day.”
There’s still time to enter:
From now til June 20th, fill out the form linked in our bio on Instagram to submit your solo story and picture for a FREE Flight Outfitters T-shirt to replace the one that was cut off your back.
✅must be following us @flightoutfitters
✅must submit within 30 days of your solo
Note: this does not encourage students to take photos during critical phases of flight. You may submit the photo taken AFTER your solo!
*ends June 20th