My First Solo

Hey all!

It’s been a big day today. I turn 16, and am finally legally allowed to solo. After almost 70 hours of flight training, I’ve been waiting for this day since I started flying 4 years ago.

A Lucky Break

Before I take my first solo, I go up and do 3 patterns with my instructor in the aircraft. At the time, HPN was using runway 29 for patterns, while wind was 110@9. A direct tailwind. I told my instructor I wouldn’t be soloing with those winds, and we landed and exited the aircraft.

Before we landed, I asked the tower if they had plans to change runways. They gave no direct response, leaving me with a “stand by”.

With an hour left in the lesson slot, I dialed up the HPN ATIS number to learn they had just switched to runway 11 for patterns!

We quickly headed out, and did 3 more touch and goes before I dropped my instructor off at the ramp and was good to go.

As a solo pilot, I was not allowed to perform touch and goes. I was performing full stop & taxi back landings.

An Audience

I was lucky to have my parents and sibling spectating for the big flight! A generous ramp worker was kind enough to get them (and my instructor) a golf cart to drive them to the edge of the ramp, right next to runway 11.

They spectated my solo and grabbed many amazing photos.

On to the photos!

I don’t have a GoPro so was unable to get photos of me in the aircraft, but as mentioned above my family was taking hundreds of photos throughout the flight.

Waiting for the all clear from my instructor. This was the scariest part… waiting on the ramp before departing.

I spent the time grabbing a few photos.

I still hadn’t truly processed that there wasn’t anyone next to me!

Past the point of no return! I lift off of runway 11.

I didn’t get any photos of the first pattern. Here’s me about to touch down for the second landing.

After a greaser of a landing, here I am heading back to 11 on taxiway Kilo for my final pattern.

After an uneventful departure, I’m back on a short final for runway 11. Don’t worry, this nose-down attitude is perfectly fine.

After the final landing complete, it was time to head back to the ramp.

With the golf cart serving as a follow me car, I parked and got out of the aircraft, greeted by my instructor and family.

Yes, I blurred myself and my instructor out. My self confidence isn’t quite there yet…

Here’s the logbook entry! I couldn’t crop it much more so there’s some extra stuff below it.

I’ve been waiting for this day for so long, and it’s finally here. I’m so fortunate that I have a supportive family and flight school that are here to help.

Honestly, this wasn’t as terrifying as I expected. Once I was on the runway, the adrenaline kicked in and I was just focused. Didn’t think about a single other thing.

Now that I’m safe and sound on the ground, the mental exhaustion has hit me and I’m able to just relax.

I’m heading back up solo on Wednesday, so I have that to look forward to as well!

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this. It’s been an eventful day and I’m so ecstatic that this all worked out.

Being able to solo on my birthday is something I’ll hold on to for ever.

Questions are welcome!


Congratulations! I think I speak for everyone on the IFC when I say we’re very proud of you, Will!



I can’t wait until November, I’ll be flying solo from day 1 for sure! 😀

Hope you enjoyed the experience, and let it carry you to your dream career.


Congratulations Will! I’m sure this is a day you will remember for the rest of your life. This is just the beginning and the sky is literally the limit!


Congratulations! This is definitely one of those days you’ll remember for the rest of your life

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Congratulations Will 🎉🎊🎈🎁
Have another virtual cake 🎂

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Congratulations, Will! A big step for a student pilot, the first solo. ;)

Happy birthday bud!

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Congrats Will or shall we call you “man without a face” ? (Also happy birthday)


Congratulations Will and Happy Birthday! 🎂


That’s awesome! Happy birthday, and that is a huge accomplishment!

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Congratulations Will you are very lucky! And happy cake day!

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Congratulations Will! You’ll remember that forever! And of course, happy birthday!

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Posting a topic like this during your cake day is fantastic! Best wishes after all and good luck with your future career. Even though I am 17 years old and turning 18 this Christmas, I will still have to wait two more years so I could finish school. I hope you have a great day today. 🥳

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Congrats, Will!!

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That’s awesome man! Congratulations! 👏🏼🎉🎉

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Wow, congratulations!!! Happy birthday too 🎉

I have a couple of questions if you don’t mind.

1). When did you start ground school and was it online or in person? How much did it cost? I’m trying to convince my parents that I can start but they just don’t understand.

2). Did you have to finish ground school before you could fly?

3). What brand are those shoes? 😂

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Wow what an amazing day fo you Will! Congratulations and Happy Birthday too! 🎉

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Massive congratulations to you 🥳🥳 I hope to start my flight training soon!


Firstly, thanks for all the warm words! It truly means a lot.

I’ll address the questions now!

I use an online ground school provided by my flight school. I technically started it back in 2017, but basically crammed the required parts into my free time over the past week. I’m a master procrastinator.

The school with the flight school, so I’m not so sure how much it cost.

Yes and no.

To start lessons with an instructor, I did not have to finish.

There was a certain section I had to make it up to before I was allowed to solo, though.

I’m only half-way through ground school.

Old Nike shoes. I need new ones for sure.

Once again, thanks for the warm wishes!


Wow congrats man! 🙌🏽

That’s a big accomplishment!