A momentous thing happened today – I flew solo for the first time!!! (Yes, that news is exciting enough that it warrants three exclamation marks.)
The normal motorglider I’ve been learning in was offline, so I did my first solo in a motorglider I hadn’t even flown before. Luckily it was actually nicer than my normal one, and the controls were all identical.
We did five take-offs and landings first, during which I successfully managed a simulated field landing and an approach and landing with no airbrakes (so that I would know how to do this if they failed for some reason).
On the penultimate circuit I said to Lee “shall we just do two more including this one and then call it a day?” and he agreed, but after we landed and were about to go up again he asked if I wanted to do a solo one. My initial response was “No!!!” and then “well… ok then”.
Here’s a pic Lee took after he hopped out and I was about to take off on my own for the very first time. Scary stuff!!
The aeroplane handled very differently flying by myself, because it was so much lighter, and it took off much quicker. Take-off went fine and I climbed to about 1000ft off the end of the runway. I took the power down a bit and relaxed enough to take the photo below and this video. I hate “selfies” but there’s not a lot of choice for recording one’s first solo flight!
The bit I was most apprehensive about was, of course, the landing. The thought that if anything went wrong I just had to deal with it on my own, without Lee sitting next to me, was scary to say the least. Also, with just my weight in the plane it was harder to actually get it to land. But I managed it fine – it wasn’t my prettiest of landings, but it was safe and I didn’t break the plane or myself! Taxying was another worry – what if I accidentally hit a parked plane! But that was fine too. Here’s one Lee took of me coming off the runway to park.
The expression on my face says it all: elation, relief, pleased as Punch!
Me and my fantastic instructor!
And finally, it was time to enter my first solo flight in my log book, recording the Captain as “Self” rather than my instructor for the first time! So thrilled!