First solo soon nervousness and questions

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by AndrewB, Jul 10, 2020.

  1. AndrewB

    AndrewB Filing Flight Plan

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    Hello everyone,
    I've been training and am currently around 11 hours (though that doesn't really matter) and 32 landings
    Anyways, the last few lessons have been spent on takeoffs and landings. I seem to be doing Ok with everything until the last 50 feet of altitude.. I don't quite know when to level off, and then start the flare. My timing is off, but everything else is good.

    Anyways, I was told I'll be taking my pre-solo exam early next week. (Naturally I assume that means solo is soon) But that makes me nervous, because I'm not very good with landings yet.
    I know all (or pretty much all) the info on the exam, so passing it will be a breeze.

    Do CFIs sometimes have people take the pre solo exam well before their actual solo?

    Or am I possibly going to solo not long after figuring out landings? For instance, if I finally figure out landings in lesson A, does that mean that lesson B is practicing landings, and lesson C is solo?


    Just wanted to get some opinions, and maybe to hear some calming words so that I can relax LOL



    Thanks everyone!
     
  2. Nsconductor

    Nsconductor Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Trust your CFI. He will know when your ready. If you disagree, don’t solo.

    Look at the end of the runway, not where you think you are going to land :)


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
     
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  3. dwalt

    dwalt Pre-takeoff checklist

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    There are going to be people who pop up on this thread and say that if you’re nervous you shouldn’t be flying and you’re not cut out for this. Ignore them.

    It’s perfectly normal to be nervous, but like the guy above said, your CFI will know when you’re ready and you should trust him/her. After your first lap around the pattern, it will be like any other flight, and when you’re back on the ground you’ll be on cloud nine.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  4. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    Trust your cfi. Relax.
     
  5. SixPapaCharlie

    SixPapaCharlie May the force be with you

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    You'll be fine. None of our first solos were all that pretty.
     
  6. SC777

    SC777 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    You’ll probably solo soon if your CFI is having you take the test. But he won’t send you out by yourself unless he’s sure you’re ready. You’ll be fine. Focus on nailing your airspeed, look to the end of the runway, trying NOT to land the airplane. Let the excess energy bleed off, don’t rush it. You probably have more time and runway than you realize. Good luck and have fun!
     
  7. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    hhhmmm, I don’t recall ever hearing anyone say that to a pre solo student on here.
     
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  8. dmspilot

    dmspilot En-Route

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    The exam is a box that must be checked before solo, it doesn't necessarily mean you are going to solo right after you complete it.

    You will learn the timing of the flare with practice. Your instructor will solo you when you are ready. Good luck.
     
  9. kath

    kath Cleared for Takeoff

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    The pre-solo test isn't a "pass or fail" thing with high stakes. It's more like a "have-we-covered-the-important-stuff" conversation starter. Can come anytime.

    You'll know that solo getting close when your CFI starts talking less and less in the plane, and is just watching you. Not looking for perfect patterns and perfect landings every time, but for patterns and landings that are safe and reliable and consistent. You may hear strange periods of prolonged silence from the right seat, or perhaps (if you've got a chatty one) random stories about a trip to Utah instead of the usual berating about too much rudder or not enough. If your CFI lazily breaks out a Sudoku puzzle in flight, or tells you to start wearing old T-shirts that you wouldn't mind destroying, then you know you're getting really close.
     
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  10. SToL

    SToL Line Up and Wait

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    Easier said than done, but just try to relax, and enjoy it. You only get to do your first solo once!
     
  11. rtk11

    rtk11 Pattern Altitude

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    Same as all the other advice... relax and enjoy the training. You won't know when you'll solo, but your CFI will. When you're ready and he feels confident that you have good control of the aircraft and you can demonstrate to your CFI that you can repeatedly land the aircraft safely, he'll surprise you by jumping out (while on the ground... stopped) and telling you to go do 3 laps around the pattern.

    Don't sweat it now. Your CFI wants you to be safe. Well, he/she probably wants the plane back in usable condition too. But still, don't stress yourself. Enjoy the lessons!
     
  12. TrueCourse

    TrueCourse Pre-Flight

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    You should have some general level of confidence about your performance on landings but as a new pilot don’t expect it to feel perfect. There is a certain level of nervousness that goes with it.

    “I don't quite know when to level off, and then start the flare”. Your CFI will figure this out, but feel free to verbally tell your instructor what you are thinking.
     
  13. AndrewB

    AndrewB Filing Flight Plan

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    Wow, that was a lot of replies quickly!

    Thanks everyone for the advice, calming words and clarification.

    Much appreciated!

    I’ll keep you all posted on how my training goes and when my first solo happens.


    Thanks
     
  14. Daleandee

    Daleandee Pre-takeoff checklist

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    As another stated ... when your instructor doesn't have much to say and never has to touch a control or remind you of things to do in the pattern you will be getting close to solo. When you finally get to your solo you will find that you've been over the maneuvers (climb, climbing turn, level flight at cruise power, descending, descending turns, flaps use, slow flight, etc) enough that it will feel very natural.

    My biggest surprise was how spirited the airplane was without that heavy duty instructor in the other seat. But he'll most likely still be in your ear on the radio. Relax and enjoy the experience!
     
  15. AndrewB

    AndrewB Filing Flight Plan

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    Come to think of it, he doesn’t touch the controls at all unless he’s demonstrating something or takes over at about 30 feet off the ground.

    One of my patterns was spent with no talking at all, so I guess that’s a good sign.
     
  16. smv

    smv Cleared for Takeoff

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    Please clarify what you mean by this. Is he doing this on every landing?
     
  17. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 Pattern Altitude

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    Perfectly normal part of the process. As a CFI I will get the pre solo written out of the way, so it isn't a hold up if we get to that point flying. Doesn't mean I'm getting out of the plane in the next few laps. Landing is the toughest thing to learn for nearly everyone. I could teach a cat to start, take off, and fly around in an hour or two. Its the getting back on the ground safely that takes a little more time.
     
  18. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Cleared for Takeoff

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    Lots of good responses already to the OP...not much to add other than "what they said." Re/ the post I quoted...I was not in radio contact w my CFI during my solo, at least not to my knowledge, although it's certainly possible he was monitoring my calls on a portable from the ground. Never crossed my mind...is that usually what is done? Also, my solo day wasn't planned.. I had passed the pre-solo test, but wasn't told when I would be soloing. A few lessons after the test we flew to a local small field, one of several we'd been using for training, and my CFI told me to land to a full stop and taxi to the ramp. He hopped out and said go have some fun..three takeoffs and landings. I felt nothing other than joy and excitement ...until the first time I turned left downwind. A huge rush of nerves hit me..."Holy crap, there is NO safety blanket...I, and only I, am able get this plane back on the ground." Was way too high the first time...plane didn't sink near as fast without my 230lb CFI abord..and had to go around. That made me slightly mad and focused me..the next three landings all went great and that solo experience is way up there on my best-times-of-my-life list. Should have worn a cheaper shirt....
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2020
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  19. Daleandee

    Daleandee Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Well ... perhaps I should have stated that differently. My instructor wasn't talking on the radio but, yes, most will have a handheld with them and monitor the frequency in the event the student (oops, I meant "LEARNER") has a reason to speak with them. I felt very comfortable on my solo as I had done all these things many times. It is a wonderful experience ...
     
  20. TommyG

    TommyG Cleared for Takeoff

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    As a CFI, the less I talk the better, unless I start talking about things to distract you on final.
     
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  21. AndrewB

    AndrewB Filing Flight Plan

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    No. He only does it if the approach isn’t very stable.. maybe 1 out 4 or 5 landings this happens.
    Usually, he’ll tell me how to correct it and not touch the controls.

    Such as,”You leveled it off a little early, keep it coming down.... and.. flare it!”
     
  22. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Mine were glorious. Angels were singing, rainbows were everywhere, tower complimented me. Ok, maybe tower said, “Good job”, only because I didn’t leave parts all over the runway... but still...




    Like others have said, your CFI will know when you are ready.
     
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  23. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    Handhelds were expensive when I soloed, so I was on my own. The wind shifted and picked up on my third landing, instructor told me afterward he was sweating when that happened, but I handled it. It was 30 years ago and I remember it like yesterday.
     
  24. NoBShere

    NoBShere Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I’ll add that a little “nerves” is healthy. It means you respect the situation and show responsibility. Btw, don’t be surprised if the nerves disappear when you enter the runway or when push the throttle in for takeoff.
     
  25. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    Then the "Oh crap, I need to do this" feeling starts.
     
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  26. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Heh - I didn’t feel the nerves until I turned base and realized I was doing this the first time with an empty right seat. I told myself, “Self, it’s all yours now.”
     
  27. NoBShere

    NoBShere Pre-takeoff checklist

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    when should we tell him that he will start talking to himself a lot which leads to developing multiple personalities?
     
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  28. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Only one at a time, otherwise it isn’t solo.
     
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  29. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Cleared for Takeoff

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    You ALWAYS have a copilot, if willing to accept the help.... :)
     
  30. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

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    I have ~8000 hours and when I’m learning new skill sets I get nervous. There are two reasons for this in my opinion: I’m human and I’m smart enough to know I can screw it up (and what the consequences are for screwing up).

    The only pilots I’ve met that were never nervous or felt apprehensive In new settings were straight up stupid.

    relish your intelligence

    now go buy yourself a blue sweater and practice some self affirmation because you are good enough, smart enough and people like you.
     
  31. masloki

    masloki Line Up and Wait

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    For flaring hints, also make an extra observation before you lift-off and look down the runway for that sight picture. Note the runway edges.

    My first solo landing (attempt) was a go around - more air time without the CFI weighing the 152 down :cool:
     
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  32. Marshall Alexander

    Marshall Alexander Filing Flight Plan

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    My first solo was December 1976. I had to go around on my first one.
     
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  33. mandm

    mandm Filing Flight Plan

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    I’m sure that everyone’s experience will vary. I was given the pre-solo exam pretty early. I still had quite a few lessons after I turned it in. I also had some questions and looked up a few things online as well. From what I remember I did my first solo after about 25hours of dual and the weather was perfect with no crosswind. At that time I remember that I still didn’t understand crosswinds landings fully and it was one of my weaknesses. One day we focused only on traffic patterns and landings and after I did about 8 of them good, my CFI asked me if he can get out of the plane. I had an idea what he meant but it was a surprise so we went back to the hangar and he got out. I did 3 T/O & L solo. I just focused on airspeed and altitude for the most part and my CFI told the tower so they look out for you. On the next lesson, I wasn’t doing as good so I did not Solo, then I started soloing regularly after that and went into my xc and xc solo. You get better and start to get the hang of it but it is all you so follow what you learned. Weather is a huge factor so if you have crosswinds and feel weak in those, ask your CFI to practice crosswind landings. If you are not comfortable with a landing, do a go around. Focus on yourself first, then communicate with tower after you have control of the plane.
     
  34. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Pattern Altitude

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  35. PlasticCigar

    PlasticCigar Pre-takeoff checklist

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    My first solo was in a glider because I wasn’t old enough to solo in a powered plane. I would have been nervous except I don’t know I was soloing until I turned around to ask my instructor “are you ready?”, heard an echo, and saw him outside the glider signaling the tow plane to go. That bastard had snuck out when I was doing the pre-takeoff checklist!

    I won’t repeat what I said at the time but the point is your CFI knows better than you do when it’s time to solo. If you’re nervous about it, totally fair to bring that up.

    Best landing advice I ever got was to always put your seat in the same position and pick a reference point outside (maybe 2-3 fingers above the top of the glare shield) and memorize the sight picture. When you get close to the runway, start your flare and just keep the end of the runway in exactly that spot. Should grease it on (almost) every time.
     
  36. bobmrg

    bobmrg En-Route

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    I cheated, in a way. Gastineau Channel in Juneau is fairly wide and floats are forgiving. By the time i switch to wheels at Paine Field I was an old hand at flying solo.
     
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  37. Jeff Szlauko

    Jeff Szlauko Pre-Flight

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    As many have said, it's normal to be nervous. In fact, I'd be more concerned if you weren't nervous!

    My CFI was pretty much telling me that I would most likely be soloing in my next lesson, so I was nervous approaching that lesson. After about 3 touch and go's, he says "OK, give me one more", which I did.
    Once we landed, he took over the controls and said he was going to taxi just off the taxiway. He then asked to see some paperwork, got out of the plane, jokingly said "Don't crash", and also told me to do as many touch and go's as I wanted. He said only three are required, but added that I might as well get in as much experience as I could.

    I figured I would just get the three done and get it over with. The scariest part was lifting off for the first time with nobody sitting next to me, at which point I thought "OK, now I have no choice but to land this thing!"

    First landing was OK. The next one a bit better. After the third, I felt that I can do better, and I kept going.
    Surprisingly, I was enjoying the heck out of it! Almost became a game within myself, as after each landing I thought "Oh, I can do better than that!"
    After ten touch and go's, I finally landed and taxied back in.

    One of the most rewarding things that one can do!

    You'll do fine. As others have said, your CFI wouldn't be allowing you to do it if he didn't feel you are ready.

    The next huge rewarding event will be your first cross-country solo! To me, that was even more rewarding, as there is just something about having a destination, and accomplishing the trip alone.

    Good luck.
     
  38. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    Can't add anything to what's already been said other than it's okay to be nervous. Nervous is normal.