When I started my Private Pilot Training Plan, I aimed to complete the first stage of my training and get to the milestone of my first solo before November, when the weather traditionally turns ugly here in the Seattle area.

I was about a month off; the demands of work kept my training to about one flight a week, underneath my targeted average. But I did my best to make every lesson count, keeping a detailed Workup Log with findings, data, areas to improve and achievements.

In due course I was required to take and pass various tests to ready for solo:

  • Pre-Solo Aeronautical Knowledge Test
  • Cessna 152 Knowledge Test
  • Stage 1 Oral Exam

And of course - get enough flight time and experience to be ready to demonstrate the necessary skills. At the end of November, it paid off - after a little over 20 hours in the air in 18 flights, my instructor put me in for the Stage 1 checkride to prepare me for my solo flight. I used my simulator to train for the checkride (and came up with a real vs sim comparison).

On November 18th, I took my stage 1 checkride from Boeing Field and passed - and was immediately treated to my first solo that same day, with my second solo three days later, at Tacoma Narrows Airport.

I was able to record the second solo:

It’s only one step along the longer road to get my private pilot certification, but it is a milestone, and an unforgettable experience to be up in the air on my own.

As we move onto the cross-country stage of my training, there are many more opportunities to use the simulator to advance my knowledge and reinforce my lessons. Watch for more adventures coming soon!