Right, then!

So, in every student pilots life, there’s a time when he/she will be told to solo. This is more directly known as “Flying the plane without the guy.” (If your instructor happens to be a guy).

Welp, that time, for me, was this evening. After a noted aborted attempt (see here) I had one more non eventful lesson, and then this evenings lesson.

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I’d been monitoring metars all day, watching the wind slowly climb (as it does in The Bay Area), thinking that I was going to have just another hour in the pattern. About the fifth lap, my instructor asked how I felt about soloing in 17 kt winds, and I responded that I’d prefer there to be a few less knots. Then I said “Say I had already soloed; what winds would you let me out in?” He responded: 15 kts. As if on cue, KPAO tower came on and said “Winds 310 at 15.” I had to ask “Did you tell her to say that?” Regardless, I knew that I was there and this was about to happen.

I dropped him off on the apron, he gave me a few instructions and off I went. Surprisingly, it was not in the least terrifying.  In fact, it was like the prior 15 or so hours of flight. One time I was a little high on final; once I was a little low. All landings were fairly decent. It was emptier in the cabin, and quieter. “You noticed I wasn’t there criticizing you?” “Well, I noticed, but I knew you were on the ground silently judging me.” That got a laugh. In the end, it was three take offs and three landings to a full stop. 0.4 hours as pilot in command of a Piper Warrior II, N81020. And that’s that. Now, I have another lesson to polish some maneuvers, and then a phase check with another instructor...then I can go out for limited practice.

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He took pictures: