Oh my gosh, soloing is like nothing else on Earth!

This morning I arrived at Aspen Flying Club at 5:30am as the sun was rising. It was a beautiful morning to fly.

Sunrise at KAPA

Sunrise at KAPA

My regular plane, 9DD, has been in maintenance, so I flew yet another new 172S to me, 537SP. She doesn’t have quite the fun gadgets to play with, but she’s still a Cessna. I had butterflies as I performed the preflight inspection. I mean, this was it! I had proven to the Chief Instructor Pilot that I could fly, now I had to show it to myself.

KAPA was pretty quite this morning around 6am as I did 5 touch and goes with Brian, my instructor. He told me on the 4th touch and go, that we would do one more then drop him off. However, the next landing was pretty awesome, so he had me do a full stop then.

What a feeling it is, to watch your instructor who has been sitting in the right seat for 20 or so hours, hop out of the plane, shut the door and wave good luck! It’s hard to put in to words, it’s a bit like at 15 when you finally get your drivers license. Times a billion since you’re leaving the ground. Exhilarating!

Pilot in Command, Hurricane, as I taxi to Alpha for 17L departure

Pilot in Command, Hurricane, as I taxi to Alpha for 17L departure

The plane feels so empty and lighter. It’s just me, my brain (noted because of the internal conversations going on) and 7SP cruising through the morning air at Centennial Airport.

First take off!

First take off!

For my first landing, my site picture, i.e., how my view of the runway was looking to me; was spot on. I talked myself through everything. Even breathing! Mostly this is what you would here as I came in for touch down, “wait, wait, wait, wait, wait…” until the wheels just kiss the ground. Then it’s full power and off I go again!

A beautiful touch down if I may say so myself ;-)

A beautiful touch down if I may say so myself ๐Ÿ˜‰

I was so elated I called the tower, “Centennial Tower, Cessna 7SP: WOO HOO!!” The tower responded, “Seven Sierra Papa, say again?”. I was so worried I had made a huge mistake sharing my excitement. That I’d be reprimanded and never let to fly again. They know I’m a student pilot out on solo and it felt like aeons until they responded again, “7SP Roger WooHoo!”. I got a virtual hi-five from the Tower ๐Ÿ™‚ย I completed six touch and goes before I felt like stopping and did 0.9 hours as Pilot In Command. I did it! I am officially part of The Club!

When I finally called it quits (let’s face it, once you’ve got wings, why stop flying?) I picked up my instructor again and we taxied back to Aspen Flying Club hangars. After parking 7SP and locking up, the initiation to The Club begins…

Tradition has it, that the new Pilot in Command has the back of their shirt cut off and turned in to a memorable piece of cloth:

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I also earned a certificate of first solo and my first write off in my log book as Pilot in Command. Woooo hooooo!!!!!!

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