The step that gets most folks’ attention is the solo flight. It’s usually just a few takeoffs and landings at your home airport, but it’s significant in that it’s the first time you fly by yourself. Once your instructor endorses your logbook and your student certificate for solo flight you can legally fly by yourself — as long as you don’t do anything you’re not endorsed for, such as fly into controlled airspace or fly a cross-country trip yet.
For your instructor, your solo flight also has significance because it’s your first payoff for the effort you both have been putting in to your learning to fly. Your instructor now has your heightened attention and you’re ready to learn at a new level. To get to the point of soloing, most instructors give you training in additional flight maneuvers, ground-reference maneuvers, and airport operations. Some give you rudimentary training in these skills, let you solo, and then bring you back down for additional dual (with instructor) training. Others teach as many of these skills as you’re willing to learn before turning you loose with your first solo. Let’s take a look at what you’ll probably be learning before you get to solo.
Your airplane could sound different to you on your first solo flight. What you hear is the silence of not hearing your instructor “nagging” at you. It’s a wonderful silence, so enjoy it while you can!