I did my very first SOLO Flight ever! Yesterday, it was a beautiful morning! I woke up and was feeling great. I went to the airport, did my preflight check, and with my instructor pretending to be dumb, I took off out of Honolulu and headed to Kalaeloa Airport.
I handled the radios, and all the frequency changes. I took my mid flight information, and contacted the tower at Kalaeloa requesting Stop and Go landings. I was cleared into the airspace, and did TWO perfect touch and go landings. Then my instructor asked me to come to a complete stop on my third. The tower cleared me to do so, and so I landed again. Perfectly. What an excellent feeling.
My instructor told me, he was getting out of the plane and he needed me to taxi to the tower. So I did that while he gave me all kinds of last minute instructions, and my heart raced. When he got out of the plane, I latched the doors, checked my instruments again, and contacted Kalaeloa Ground requesting a taxi for takeoff. Ground cleared me to taxi and hold at runway 4 Left. As I started to taxi away by myself, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of extreme excitement. I was the Pilot in Command of a plane, and I was going to fly it!
I taxied to the runway and switched to the Tower frequency. They cleared me to take off from runway 4 Left. I taxied into position, checked my instruments one more time, and then put full throttle to the plane. I sailed down the runway, and at the right speed, I rotated the plane up, and I soared away from the Earth. It was such an amazing feeling of freedom. I radioed the Tower, requesting to stay in the pattern for touch and goes, and was cleared.
I climbed to 800 feet, which is the standard pattern elevation in Hawaii, and made my turns perfectly. As I came “abeam” (parallel) of my landing point, I applied carburetor heat, pulled the throttle to 1500 RPM’s, put in 10 degrees of flaps, and let the plane begin to descend at 500 feet per minute. As I turned onto my base leg, I radioed the Tower, “Kalaeloa Tower, Cessna Zero-Seven-Delta, turning base.” The Tower cleared me for a touch and go on runway 4 Left. I responded, “Cleared for Touch and Go, Runway 4 Left. Cessna Zero-Seven-Delta.”
As I continued on my base leg, I put in 20 degrees of flaps, and watched my airspeed slow to 70 knots. I continued to descend, now at 750 feet per minute. As I came to the end of my base leg, I made the turn to the Final leg of the descent. I lined myself up perfectly with the centerline of the runway, and put in the full 40 degrees of flaps. I maintained my speed at 65 knots, and pointed the nose at the numbers on the runway.
As I came above the numbers I began to level out the plane, and decrease my speed to allow me to sink slowly to the ground. I pitched the nose up an inch at a time, and walked the throttle back so slowly, that when I touched down on the main landing gear, I didn’t even know it. And just as slowly, I lowered the nose, into a perfect landing! I whooped an hollered in the plane, as I cleaned it up for another take off. Trim for takeoff, flaps up, carb heat off, look around, and full throttle again. And I soared into the sky again, to make several more touch and go landings before finally picking up my beaming instructor.
The feeling of flying is one I have sought for all my life, and I finally was doing it. An absolutely indescribable feeling of peace and joy.
When we returned to Honolulu, I landed the plane again, and we taxied to the hanger where the flight school is. I did the post flight check with a huge smile on my face, and got out of the plane to the applause of the other instructors. They took my picture next to the plane, and then they attacked me with a pair of scissors. In a tradition in the aviation industry for taking a first solo flight, the backs of students shirts are cut out. This not only allows the instructor to write the information for the solo flight on the shirt as a memento, but it is a symbolic representation of the freeing of the students wings. I got my wings yesterday, and in order for them to unfold completely, they had to cut the back of my shirt out. Of course, they did give me another shirt to wear home.
Anyway, when I get the pictures I will send them to everyone. Right now I’m just so excited. Today I fly to Lana`i and Moloka`i with my instructor. I have not been cleared to fly solo out of Bravo airspace yet. That’s the airspace around international airports. But I’m expecting to be cleared to solo out of Honolulu within the week. Now that will be a blast!! Tomorrow I rest my wings.