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I soloed today, and it was great!

It all clicked into place. Things made sense and came easily. It’s a good thing too, since I was there for a total of 7 hours. The weather was dead calm, clear, and only slightly chilly all day. It started with a regular lesson that was a refresher and warm-up for a pre-solo progress check with a senior instructor. The stall recoveries went well with a less aggressive technique. As usual, doing less was better than doing more. I got to be creative in picking out a forced landing field and did a decent job of circling down to line up for an uphill landing on a big green open field. I did 3 decent landings at a non-towered airport and one back at home base. We went through all of the pre-solo written tests and quizzes, and my instructor declared me ready to solo before the progress check. He had an open time slot late in the day, so we scheduled that time for my first solo under the assumption that the progress check would go well.

The progress check started with the expected thorough grilling on ground school content. I got stumped on a tricky airspace class requirements question and couldn’t remember much of the lost-comm diagnosis stuff, but otherwise it went well. The flight portion went very well right up to the end when the tower requested that we expedite a touch-and-go, so I landed, opened the throttle, closed the carb heat, and raised the flaps in very quick succession in that order. The senior instructor really didn’t like that order or the rapid sequence of events, but otherwise seemed pleased. So, with 16 hours in my log book I felt ready to solo and convinced two instructors that I was ready.

The first solo flight was a piece of cake. It consisted of 3 laps around the traffic pattern with a full stop after each one. I just did what I usually do and things worked out the way they usually do. I never got nervous, scared, or tensed up. I got a “congratulations” from the tower controller after my first solo landing, which was very nice. I flared a little high and dropped the last foot or so every time when I ran out of airspeed, but it was subtle enough that it looked smooth to my instructor, who watched it all and monitored the radio. And of course he cut off the back of my shirt and signed it. Tradition, don’t ya know.
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