Solo with virtually no ground instruction

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by jconway2002, May 4, 2012.

  1. jconway2002

    jconway2002 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I am expected to solo tomorrow, however I am nervous. I am nervous because my instructor (who I enjoy, and has been instructing since the 70s) has made virtually no mention of ground school to me. I have taken it upon myself to find a syllabus close the the Jeppesen syllabus, and read along after the lessons. I have never looked at the FAR/AIM or Cessna 152 POH until forced to when given my presolo exam to fill out.

    I know I can fly the airplane, but I am worried I don't know enough of the technical stuff. What was your experience like with ground school up to soloing?
     
  2. kimberlyanne546

    kimberlyanne546 Final Approach

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    By the time I solo'd I had 40 hours of flying and probably double or triple that in ground. We would brief and debrief all flights. I had seen the POH many times and almost completed the Kings Course for the knowlege exam.
     
  3. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Touchdown! Greaser!

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    When I went for my private, we did about zero classroom work the whole time. It was all discussions in the plane.

    Don't worry, you'll be fine. If he signs you off, it's because he believes you're ready. Trust him.
     
  4. Old Geek

    Old Geek Pattern Altitude

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    Take a look at FAR 61.87 Solo requirements for student pilots.

    http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/tex...iv8&view=text&node=14:2.0.1.1.2.3.1.4&idno=14

    And in particular this:

    (b) Aeronautical knowledge. A student pilot must demonstrate satisfactory aeronautical knowledge on a knowledge test that meets the requirements of this paragraph:
    (1) The test must address the student pilot's knowledge of—
    (i) Applicable sections of parts 61 and 91 of this chapter;
    (ii) Airspace rules and procedures for the airport where the solo flight will be performed; and
    (iii) Flight characteristics and operational limitations for the make and model of aircraft to be flown.
    (2) The student's authorized instructor must—
    (i) Administer the test; and
    (ii) At the conclusion of the test, review all incorrect answers with the student before authorizing that student to conduct a solo flight.
     
  5. jconway2002

    jconway2002 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Thanks for the replies. Your replies couldnt be any more different. I guess it goes to show that there is more than one way to learn.
     
  6. kimberlyanne546

    kimberlyanne546 Final Approach

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    Trust me, of the now 5 CFI's I've flown with, I could not agree with you more.

    They are all very different in the way they teach, so I can only imagine the way they solo their primary students is different as well.
     
  7. jhausch

    jhausch Cleared for Takeoff

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    +1

    Sometimes the discussions where near the plane. Sometimes they were in a restaurant.

    (I did not feel I was ready either. When he got out and told me to take it around the patch alone I told him, "Umm, I feel like there is a lot I don't know." He said, "it'll be fine" and it was. :)
     
  8. jconway2002

    jconway2002 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Ha! This puts me at ease... :)
     
  9. poadeleted20

    poadeleted20 Deleted

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    I commend you for your intiative. I wish all my trainees were like you.

    My experience 40-some years ago isn't really relevant, because things were done differently (and in my opinion, not as well) back then. My practice as an instructor is that at your stage, there should be at least 30 minutes of ground training prior to every flight, at least 15 minutes of post-flight debrief after every flight, and clear homework assignments prior to the next flight.

    So, you might want to talk with your instructor about your expectations (which in my opinion are more than reasonable and quite appropriate), and how those expectations can be better met. If that doesn't work, I think you might want to consider finding an instructor who is more focused on the total learning experience than just on getting in the airplane and flying.
     
  10. kimberlyanne546

    kimberlyanne546 Final Approach

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    This sounds about right. I remember he would always meet with me before and after each flight, and tell me what to read about in the book before my next flight ("homework"). This changed some as we neared the end of my training, which was more review of the previous stuff.
     
  11. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Does anyone read this space anymore?
    Comments placed in other thread...
     
  12. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Touchdown! Greaser!

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    There is a lot you don't know. This is true today and will be true long after. Accept it, and you will find peace. :)

    I do agree with Ron that if you feel that you want more time spent on ground school that you should speak up. For me, I was happy not getting it, so it worked out well. With my students, it varies. I have some students who are great at self-study and prefer that (like me), so we spend less time on ground school. Others want me to guide them more directly, so we spend more. Neither one is the "right" or "wrong" way to do it, just different styles for different people.
     
  13. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Truth is for solo you don't need any of that crap, you only need physical control of the aircraft through the pattern for three laps, that's it. You are responsible for your own learning though. There are plenty of books to read and everything covered on every FAA test is information provided to you free in PDF form on the website under publications, read the titles and start working your way through the FAA bank of knowledge.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2012
  14. jconway2002

    jconway2002 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Thanks everyone for your input. I am nervous enough about the solo, and thinking I am totally not ready doesnt help. As nervous as I am, I know that tomorrow is going to go great.

    I have been studying on my own, but its hard for me to tell if I know enough at this point. I think from this point, I will make it a point to ask for some homework after each lesson.
     
  15. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    As I said, you have 2 separate issues. The problem you have is with the latter because the results of this pre solo exam show you failing poorly. Not a worry, this is just a little stage check to you to gauge the effort you need to put forth. I bet you've spent less than 20 minutes with the POH since you started, you need about 20 more hours total. You need about 400 hrs of reading towards a PP and only 100 of that can be associated with the written exam study.

    Use this as a basic metric for the amount of effort you will need to put forth learning this craft. You need 10:1 study to fly and you need 3 lessons a week to get through the PP most cost efficiently for most people. That means you need to look at flight training as a second job, not a hobby; you haven't earned hobby yet.;)

    If you feel you need a more structured ground school environment look around, they are available independent of your CFI. It really comes down to what you're paying and what he's getting paid.

    If you are paying $25 for instruction as on the hobbs, you are getting what you pay for; it's fair enough if you like the instructor and plane. Outside of that, need more info to make the call.

    If you don't like, maybe talk to them about the cost of providing a more structured environment and compare with costs and programs elsewhere.

    As for solo, if you feel you are in control of the airplane, just make sure you have some fuel and go.
     
  16. rottydaddy

    rottydaddy En-Route

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    Pretty hard to go wrong studying on your own (if you choose the right material), but I will chime in that you needn't sweat it for the first solo. Don't let your extra reading distract you from what you know you will have to do for that first solo (which is really very simple).
    At this point in your training, I think good debriefings with your CFI are way more relevant than "ground school" as in "classroom stuff".

    Fact of the matter is, a good CFI will only sign off a student for solo if that student has effectively already made a few circuits on their own, in the sense that the instructor didn't have to touch anything or say anything. I'm not an instructor, but if I was, that would be one of my requirements.

    Whether or not that is the case with you and your CFI, he definitely wouldn't sign you off if you didn't just seem ready for the simple practical exercise of the first solo hops, where the theory and regs (and most other ground stuff) are not going to be of much use anyway.

    FWIW, to prepare yourself specifically for the solo, I'd recommend chair flying. Just sit and mentally go through a series of takeoffs, patterns, landings... say everything aloud, and use whatever written checklist you've been using. Picture the whole thing in your mind, in real time. Picture each solo landing just like the best landings you've made so far (there must be a few really good ones, yes?)
    Also review your emergency procedures, and runway and taxiway markings (as they apply to the airport you will solo at). Also ask yourself things like "if the wind changes up and I have to land the other way or on another runway, what do I do?" If you're not sure about anything like that, ask the instructor. Take it from me, you don't want to wait for him to tell you... because he might forget to. :D

    And most of all, remember that you've basically already done the solo, with the CFI just sort of along for the ride. When you take off, you'll feel real nervous glancing over at that empty seat, but I can almost guarantee that after the first landing, as long as the airplane is still flyable, you'll be thinking "what do I need that clown for? I'm in command!!" :D

    It's a great feeling, a HUGE confidence-builder, and you don't have to be some sort of "natural-born flyer" to experience it.

    Just don't get carried away with that feeling, and you'll do fine. :D
    Good luck! :)
     
  17. numl0ck

    numl0ck Line Up and Wait

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    :yeahthat:

    I wouldn't worry about the lack of ground school. Knowing how to taxi (including crossing active runways), use the radio and look out for other traffic is about all the ground school you need for solo.

    As someone who soloed 3 days ago, I was completely shocked when my instructor jumped out of the plane and said to do a few more laps. But on taxi out, I reminded myself of the what rottydaddy said above (and how I had just make 5 unassisted landings) and let muscle memory (that means your hands, feet AND brain) do the rest.
     
  18. PBristolJr

    PBristolJr Line Up and Wait

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    I had a total of 2 hours ground instruction when I took my check-ride and was told by the DPE it was one of the top 10 check rides he's given out of 700. I read a lot of books and studied like hell for the written. Books are a lot cheaper than ground instruction, but if you don't "get it" from the book then by all means ask for ground.
     
  19. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    For PP I had no formal ground, but before and after every flight we had a brief/debrief session on my over all learning to make sure I was covering the required knowledge. I was never charged for this time, I was billed everything on Hobbs paying the instructor $25 direct; the flight school did not touch instructor pay.

    BTW, I have nothing to hold against a classroom ground setting. I have been through several and have found them beneficial.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2012
  20. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    120 hours of instruction before solo? No offense, Kimberly, but IMHO you were used by some unscrupulous CFI's to make their boat payments.

    To put this in perspective, I had 6.3 hours of flight instruction when I solo'd, and zero hours of ground school. IMHO you were ripped off...royally.

    As to the OP, relax, everything is fine. FARs don't keep the airplane in the air -- your skill does. More book learning can come after you've shown that you know how to handle the controls.
     
  21. jconway2002

    jconway2002 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Thanks everyone! Well the day has come and gone, and I didnt get to solo. My CFI reviewed my exam, and discussed a couple of the questions with me, but by the time he was finished we were running out of time before the next person had the plane. We put .9 on the hobbs today, and somewhere near the end he asked me how I would feeling flying it alone, and all I could say is "i dunno". Ha! Well, the good news is that my nerves about soloing are gone...now I just want to get it over with.
     
  22. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You'll do fine. Just be ready for rocket-like performance when that right seat isn't held down with all that extra ballast. :lol:

    And don't forget to get/let him cut your shirt tail. (Suggestion: Wear a shirt you don't care about!) Then have him put the aircraft type, tail number, date, and his autograph on it.

    18 years later, my shirt tail is still one of my prize possessions, and it hangs proudly on the hangar wall next to my wife's and son's solo flight shirt tails! :)
     
  23. KSCessnaDriver

    KSCessnaDriver Pattern Altitude

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    And 40 hours of flight time, airplane owner needed a payment too. I soloed at 10 hours, in the midst of a 141 ground school course, so I didn't really do ground instruction, with my CFI, per se.
     
  24. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    You do not know any of that to be factual to the presented situation. Some people will take a long time if not forced to progress as well. Then there is machine aptitude and their general confidence; the system isn't much into forcing someone to solo who exhibits and/or states confidence issues. There are people who think things have to be perfect and fully under control in order to be ok. My girl Janet years ago had over 100 hrs before she soloed because she kept talking her instructors out of it. I finally told her she wasn't gettin' none till she soloed.:D
     
  25. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Wow! $10,000 to solo? Or more?
     
  26. onwards

    onwards Pattern Altitude

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    I had around 30 hours flying at solo, and had read 2/3rds of the Jeppesen book by that time enough that I could answer all the questions at the end of the chapters correctly. Most of my ground with my instructor was before and after flights, but there was quite a bit of it - I'd say about 30 hours total on top of the flying (so an extra hour ground for each hour flying more or less).

    I had to go through two exams - a written one about flying, the plane, and the airport, and an oral one from my instructor - before it was even a possibility. It still didn't happen immediately, but maybe a week after I passed both he stepped out the first time and let me go out on my own.

    My second solo was to the practice area, and my third solo was my long cross-country. Things started going very rapidly after that first one. In many ways, once you get to solo stage, you're already a pilot - you're flying the plane by yourself, after all. So I would expect that you should in theory be reasonably knowledgeable by then. I can't imagine him letting you do it otherwise!
     
  27. Meanee

    Meanee Line Up and Wait

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    My CFI didn't give me a formal ground school. I told him that I am studying books, and he made himself available for any question I may have (at no charge). But he did not want to hear anything about solo until I had my FAA written done. So without any ground school from CFI, I was able to get 92 on a written. Solo was soon after.
     
  28. poadeleted20

    poadeleted20 Deleted

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    Henning is wrong. The regulations specify the training required before solo, and as Henning would know if he were a CFI, "physical control of the aircraft through the pattern for three laps" is nowhere near sufficient.

    To a certain extent I agree, but your instructor holds the ultimate responsibility to the FAA for making sure your training meets the legal requirements before you solo.
     
  29. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Back in those days when we had a 150 available for $42hr wet it was more like $6500, but yeah....:eek:
     
  30. bobmrg

    bobmrg Pattern Altitude

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    First, there is a fine distinction between ground school and ground training. Ground school is not required by Part 61 (I'm guessing that you are not at a Part 141 school). However, FAR 61.105 says that you must receive and log ground training...this is the pre- and post-flight briefings that your instructor is responsible for. That is a pre-checkride requirement, though, not a pre-solo requirement. Your instructor is required to give you a pre-solo written exam; its contents are listed in 61.87. FAR 61.189 tells your instructor what he is supposed to do....make sure that he is compliant, because you are his boss.

    Bob Gardner