Finally Soloed!

Today was the day! Liani and the kids came with me to Raleigh Executive Jetport (KTTA) for my 8am flight. I took Richard up for a couple of times around the pattern and landing and then he stepped out of the plane. I took off and landed 3 times for my official solo. The winds were starting to pick up and the pattern was pretty bumpy but I brought the plane down safely, although the last landing was a bit of a carrier landing (look it up on YouTube if you are confused what a carrier landing looks like).

Anyway, afterward, Richard (with the kids) cut off my shirttail.

According to Wikipedia, “In American aviation lore, the traditional removal of a new pilot’s shirt tail is a sign of the instructor’s new confidence in his student after successful completion of the 1st solo flight. In the days of tandem trainers, the student sat in the front seat, with the instructor behind. As there were often no radios in these early days of aviation, the instructor would tug on the student pilot’s shirttail to get his attention, and then yell in his ear. A successful first solo flight is an indication that the student can fly without the instructor (“instructor-less” flight). Hence, there is no longer a need for the shirt tail, and it is cut off by the (often) proud instructor, and sometimes displayed as a trophy.”

Here is what it looks like:


Today was also airplane washing and cookout day at Wings of Carolina Flying Club.  Liani got her hands dirty helping to wash and wax a Mooney.


Up next for me is another solo in the practice area to work on my maneuvers (steep turns, stalls, etc…) and start cross country flights with Richard.  Seems so far to go but happy in the moment.


About to Solo!

Got to spend 2.5 hours today in the air with Richard.  This makes a total of 6.6 hours so far on the Hobbs Meter.  If you ever rent an airplane, this little clock measures the amount of time the engine is running and that equals your rental time.  If you train out of a larger airport like Raleigh-Durham (RDU), you get to pay to wait in line to take-off behind Southwest and Delta.  Luckily, there is no waiting at Sanford Executive Jetport (KTTA).

During our flight, we worked on stalls, S-turns, all kinds of landings and take-offs (short-field, soft-field, engine-out, normal), and spiral descents to simulate engine-out landings.  The spiral descent was a new experience as we climbed to 3,000 feet, cut power and circled our “landing point” in a 45-55 degree bank (reach 60 degrees and you are required to wear a parachute) at 60 knots of airspeed.  You lose about 500 feet of altitude for every 360 degree circle around the point.  That is quite the elevator ride!

People are asking me what type of aircraft am I talking about in regards to mission aviation.  Here is a link to Zenith Aircraft and the Zenith CH750  (  This is what I am talking about.  This airplane is able to carry two people and take-off and land in a football field!  Talk about opening up the ability for missionaries to reach remote locations!

Zenith CH750 - perfect for helping pilots get the Word out
Zenith CH750 – perfect for helping pilots get the Word out