Before you know it, you’ll be ready to fly solo. Sound scary? Well, it’s not, because you will be prepared. Your instructor will ensure that you meet all training requirements. He or she will administer a pre-solo written examination developed especially for you. You will receive special training just before you solo and then your instructor will “turn you loose.” You will probably have a touch of trepidation subdued by the knowledge that your instructor believes in you. You will be thrilled!
My first solo flight was July 10, 1980, at Evergreen Airport, Vancouver, Washington. That’s when I began to learn to fly. Until that point, student pilots have one goal: to solo. After that the goal moves to passing the tests and getting their flight certificate. SPIs know this and work toward getting the solo out of the way as soon as it’s safely practicable so the student will be ready to extend learning.
Your instructor will prepare you for solo flying and continue to teach you new piloting skills. Solo flying will be combined with learning new skills such as how to take off and land on short or unpaved (soft) airfields, and how to navigate away from your home airport on a cross-country trip. Skills include required training for your checkride: takeoffs and landings (normal, short field, soft field, emergency), ground-reference maneuvers (turns around a point, S-turns, etc.), emergency preparedness (stalls, slow flight, unusual attitude recovery, etc.) and other fun stuff.