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My first solo flight - Teodora Grama
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My first solo flight

One might have thought that today was going to be a day just like any other day. 0530AM start, prepare my morning protein shake, shower, get dressed, get my sleepy bottom to the airport, quick briefing, aircraft walk around and then dual flying. But no … today was different. The start was probably a bit earlier, but that’s not why today was different. I was wide awake with excitement at 0500AM – today was solo-flying day! After 17 hours of flying with an instructor on the right hand side (out of which 2 were on the Zlin 142 doing upset training recovery – I will write about that too, soon), today we were going to have what’s called a checkride. A practical flight test with a more senior instructor, other than the one that you have flown with, following which we would either be cleared, or not, to fly our first solo.

 

I was the first of the day to do my check ride, to determine if I was qualified to fly solo. The instructor doing the assessment was going to be the head of flight training at Trener Kft. – no pressure, right? So here’s how it goes: We get in the plane, he quickly runs me through what we will be doing, then we’re off. Plan was to do 5 visual circuits with him and then, if he felt happy about my flying, I would do 2 visual circuits solo. Was I nervous? Not so much about being assessed, no, it was the anticipation of the moment that I have yearning for – my first-ever solo flight. The flight that every pilot remembers, like it was yesterday, for the rest of their careers.

 

I was ready! The checkride went smoothly, I felt good about the way I was handling the aircraft. When I thought I was on my 4th circuit, the instructor tells me that we will stop after the next landing. I became nervous, I knew we had to do 5 and I thought I was doing really well. ‘Maybe I made a huge mistake, maybe I won’t pass today’ I thought very briefly to myself. ‘No, impossible. Oh well, I’ll just see what he says when we land.’ We taxi to the parking area, he turns to me, smiles and says ‘OK, now you’ll go on your own for 2 circuits. Pilot in command!’. Everyone from the airport was outside, smiling, as the instructor was getting out; one wink from my instructor as he’s closing the door. ‘PL-S taxiing to holding point runway 18’. At the holding point, I go through the flows (steps) out loud as if the instructor was there with me. I line up on the runway, one final look inside the cockpit to make sure everything is configured properly, then I slowly add full thrust. The TB-10 was now climbing like a homesick angel! The difference in load was definitely noticeable. I didn’t have much time to think about the fact that I was alone in the plane. It was only on

The TB-10 was now climbing like a homesick angel! The difference in load was definitely noticeable. I didn’t have much time to think about the fact that I was alone in the plane. It was only on downwind leg, when we have less workload, that I realised: ‘WOOOHOOOOO!’ I scream from the top of my lungs. ‘Oh, sh#@, I’d better be careful and not press the ‘Transmit’ button whilst I’m screaming or I might make everyone ears bleed. There is no possible way to describe that feeling – I felt happy, I felt sad that my dad isn’t with us anymore to see his little girl, now all grown up, flying solo. I felt proud and brave. I felt hopeful and optimistic for the future. But most of all, I felt thankful. To God, to family, to friends, to my instructors. For helping me get here. To all of you – thank you!

 

The flight school rules say that the first solo cannot be filmed. But they let me film my second solo. Don’t be harsh to judge, I am still working on being more precise, maintaining runway centreline on take offs and landings, flaring, etc. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did 🙂

 

 

Remember, always keep the blue side up!

Until next time fellow aviatiors!

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