No matter how many flights you take during training, your first solo flight is a memory second to none. The memory of rising from the runway as the true pilot in command with a vacant instructor seat next to you will last a lifetime. If your solo flight is approaching there are questions that are sure to be on your mind. Let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions and answers about this big milestone.
Is There a Pre-Solo Written Test
Yes, and you can find it described in Federal Aviation Regulation 61.87. This regulation breaks down the solo requirements for student pilots. Your instructor must administer the exam and go over it with you and review all incorrect answers.
How Will You Know You’re Ready?
Your instructor will keep you informed. When your time is near, you will practice with your instructor who will evaluate more and teach less. Don’t be shocked if your instructor announces you’re ready before you feel like you are. If you trust your instructor’s judgment, have faith in your abilities.
How Much Wind is too Much?
Your instructor will supervise your early solo flights and make sure you only fly on days with light winds and excellent visibility. These safety precautions will include ceiling, visibility standards, total wind, and maximum crosswind components.
Good Advice for a Solo Flight
The most important thing to remember is if you do not like how a landing approach is developing, the best thing to do is go around. Landing is only an option. Your instructor will be pleased with your safety first decision.
How do I Log Solo Flight Time?
You will log it as pilot in command (PIC). FAR 61.51(e)(4) states, “A student pilot may log pilot-in-command time when the student pilot (i) is the sole occupant of the aircraft; (ii) Has a solo flight endorsement as required; and (iii) is undergoing training for a pilot certificate or rating.” All of your applicable solo time should be logged the same way.
What Should You Wear
Comfortable clothing and footwear are recommended. But on your first solo flight don’t wear a shirt you plan to wear again. If you’re not familiar with the shirttail tradition for newly soloed student pilots, ask about it before your big day to find out why this advice matters.