Solo Evaluation Passed!
The day has finally come, as of 1 PM today, I have passed all my instructional evaluations and tomorrow I get to fly solo (just me, myself, and I – no instructor on board). Now, this doesn’t mean I have officially receive my private pilot’s license just yet, it is part of the certification process for student pilots to fly on their own (solo flights) for a total of 10 hrs before they take the federal examination (check ride). However, as all pilots will attest, tomorrow is probably even more important than the check ride day as it means that I have finally accomplished my goal of preparing myself for flight. All the long hours in the plane (almost 60 hrs in 5 weeks) and countless hours in self study has led me to solo flight.
Today alone was a 7 hr day with pre-flight and weather briefings, followed by ground evaluation in the morning, then 4 hr flight and then a 30 min debrief after the flight. It was a grueling adventure but we covered just about all possible scenarios that a solo pilot would encounter and I was happy to be able to perform to standards on every one. Probably the most challenging tasks were the simulated engine out landings that I had to do without power, essentially bringing the airplane down from altitude (5500 ft), selecting an airport within gliding distance and approaching and landing the airplane all without any power application. Unfortunately, my landing wasn’t the greatest on that one, but I did bring the airplane down safely saving the lives of myself and my passenger and keeping the plane in one piece.
For tomorrow’s flight, I will however only be staying in the Gateway airport traffic pattern (flying loops around the airport) for about an hour on my own completing about 5 full stop landings on my own, but none the less, its a major milestone. If everything goes well tomorrow, then on Thursday I will be journeying on my first of three solo cross country (> 100 miles) flights, covering the same route I took today and on my three previous dual cross country flights.
The adventure continues, but a tomorrow marks a major milestone and I just hope it goes better for me than it did for Mickey Mouse…