4. LESSON 32 - FIRST SOLO
- Keep a good lookout
- Stay calm and enjoy the flight!
HOW IS YOUR TRAINING GOING SO FAR?
The goal of flight training is not just to get you to your first solo flight, but also to make you a safe, confident and, if you wish, licensed pilot. Throughout all your pre-solo training you’ve been working towards operating independently of your instructor, gaining both flying and decision-making skills. You’ve been trained to deal with eventualities like launch failures and problem circuits, until you’re ready to handle any situation in which you may find yourself when flying close to the airfield.
When your instructor is confident that you’re ready, he or she will brief you to make your first solo flight, usually in the same two-seater glider that you’ve used for training (but only in ideal weather, so don’t be disheartened if you can’t fly solo at the first opportunity).
As the rear seat is now empty, the glider will be lighter; your instructor will brief you on what difference this makes. If necessary, ballast weights may be fitted to ensure that the glider’s CG is right. Your instructor will also help you get ready by securing the rear seat straps, stowing any loose articles and locking the rear canopy (if applicable). You should learn how to make these preparations for your future solo flights.
Stay calm, and take all the time you need to prepare. This is not the time for friends to crowd round - you can celebrate with them later! Your instructor will be close by if you have questions.
Your first solo will be short, simple, and one of the safest flights you’ll ever make - just a well-flown launch, circuit and landing, just like recent dual flights. Listen carefully to the briefing - it will be short - and follow it to the letter. Don’t forget to look out.
This flight is a special moment you will remember forever: enjoy!
The final pre-flight briefing before the solo flight ...
... and then the first launch without a flight instructor.
Your first solo flight is a moment that you will never forget. On your own, using the skills you have learned.
Your first solo landing. Concentration ... You did it!
Congratulations! Your first solo flight is the greatest achievement of your gliding career. You can do what people have dreamt of since the beginning of time.
You can fly!
Now you’re solo! Congratulations, going solo is a huge achievement and one you will always remember. However, the journey has only just begun! If appropriate, your instructor may invite you to make a couple more solo flights on the same day, to consolidate your flying. There will be plenty more two-seater training over the coming days, as you continue to develop your skills, along with more solos, soaring flights, and eventually conversion to other launch methods and glider types. Remember that until you have your licence you are always flying under supervision, even when solo, so you must always get instructor approval before every flight. For now, though, enjoy the celebrations; you only ever have one first solo!
This completes your pre-solo training journey in this book (although rereading previous lessons should also help your advanced training towards licence standard). There are many resources available to guide your postsolo training, so ask your instructor what you should study next.
Enjoy the next exciting phase of your flying training journey!