View Full Version : First solo done - not happy, please advise..

19th Jul 2001, 20:07
Hello everyone, I'm new to this board, (and have just had this message accidentally scrubbed out, so apologies if it appears in any other guise).

I did my first solo 5 days ago, and far from being the brilliant experience that most people find it, for me it was disappointing. The flying part was OK, but on landing, I applied the brake too soon, causing the aircraft to judder violently. I only just managed to stop it going off the runway.

I obviously feel I could have done better, but strangely, no one has mentioned this, so I don't know if they noticed it or not.

Regardless though, I feel I've let myself down, and wondered if anybody else has been unhappy with their first solo, or indeed, if anyone has any comments or advice.


Invalid Delete
19th Jul 2001, 20:15
Don't worry about it. Only be pissed off with yourself if you crash.

19th Jul 2001, 20:17
Don't be too hard on yourself. You took off and landed safely. Something might have happened e.g, the wind !!!!. :confused:

A7E Driver
19th Jul 2001, 20:31
Agree with the others. Everyone makes lots of mistakes early in the game. Hopefully you have learned something and won't mke the same ones next time. Congrats on surviving --- and welcome to the club.

itchy kitchin
19th Jul 2001, 20:33
Don't worry about it at all! I don't think anybody does a perfect first solo. It's a fantastic achievment. Well done!

:D :D

19th Jul 2001, 20:41
It could have been nosewheel shimmy that caused the judder, maybe you hadn't seen it before because the aircraft behaved slightly differently with your 170 lbs of instructor out of the plane.

Concentrate on everything you did right, instead of flogging yourself for this little error. It may not be perfect but you always remember your first ;) We always learn best from our errors anyway (hopefully not too serious).

Get back on the horse ASAP and consolidate with more positive experiences and discuss this with your instructor. You shouldn't have the feeling that this is out of your control and you need some tips on how to handle it if it happens again. If it was nosewheel shimmy (caused by worn thingmy-bobs on the nose wheel) you can relieve it by applying a little back pressure on the yoke to take the weight off the nose wheel.

Have fun!

19th Jul 2001, 23:26
Oleo's right, I once had such a bad shimmy that I thought the engine would fall off.
Try using this philosophy, "its not the mountain you just missed you have to get worried about, learn from it , look ahead to avoid it happening again." In some knackered old crates you cant avoid shimmy once the elevator has run out of puff, you just got to live with it and A defect it before it hurts sombody.

20th Jul 2001, 01:42
Thanks for your replies, thinking about it, it probably was wheel shimmy, but I didn't react quickly enough to stop it. Like mentioned, hopefully I'll learn from this when I get back in the air!

Simon W
20th Jul 2001, 02:09
First of all, congratulations on doing your first solo! Don't worry about these little errors, I had a similar thing happen only the other day. Any landing when you don't damage yourself, the plane or other people is a good landing.



20th Jul 2001, 02:15

Not everyone feels their first solo was a fantastic experience. In my case I was so anxious to get my licence and go off flying on my own that I was just glad it was over so that we could get on to doing some cross countries, and I was a bit embarrassed by all the fuss. Your own personality comes into this quite a lot. You realise you didn't do everything as well as maybe you could, which is fine. But don't be too hard on yourself - remember, the good landing is the one you walk away from.

20th Jul 2001, 03:02
As the age old aviators quote goes:

"Any landing is a good landing if you can walk away from it".

Or something like that.

Well done mate.

"Ayline 221 airbourne"

20th Jul 2001, 03:06

Take the advice of the others here - congratulate yourself on your first solo. I'm a PPL with 65 hrs, flew yesterday, nice landing but followed by a major nosewheel shimmy. Scared the crap out of my mate sitting next to me. Just pull back a little to releive the weight next time!

and once again, well done!!

JT8 :)

20th Jul 2001, 03:15
Dont worry about it even with hundreds of hours I still scare myself shitless everyday. Not let it put you off flying. As your hours build up so will your confidence and your ability to deal with the situation. Never think that you know it all because it will bit back. I once did and scared myself so bad I couldn't fly for a week. A healthy fear and a few mistakes are a good thing to keep your flying to the highest of standards.

up and at 'em

20th Jul 2001, 03:32
Don't worry about it. I made one iffy landing first solo, but others were ok. Hey, you saved it !! There's plenty of time to work on it and improve. I have six solo hours in gliders and believe me, I have improved a LOT in that time.

Keep at it. The solo stuff just gets better and better and better.

Send Clowns
20th Jul 2001, 03:47
Congratulations on first solo. Good luck with your future flying! ;)


Delta Wun-Wun
20th Jul 2001, 04:49
You took off in an aeroplane and flew a circuit all on your own with no one in it but you!?!?
Loads of people dream of what you have done...well done join the club. :cool:
Don`t feel disappointed you recognised something that could be improved on,either with the aircraft or your skills.We are all learning,don`t beat yourself up about it.Something to aim for next time. :)

20th Jul 2001, 05:04
A girl on my UAS crashed on her first solo. She was OK, but I doubt that it was the experience that she had been hoping for, especially since the bent prop was hung on the wall in the crewroom!

Seriously, everyone has some landings that they would rather forget; you were just unlucky enough to have it happen on your first go. Concentrate on what you did right and learn from your mistakes. You never stop learning in this game...

20th Jul 2001, 05:18
Of course you can do better - and in future you will.

Whatever the cause, it is hard to imagine being under as much stress or anxiety as on your first solo ever again. Everything is different, scary, and daunting - the first time.

Pretty soon, whether flying solo or with the instructor, something will click and you will be "at one" with the aircraft.

Someone else posted: if you can walk away etc etc well if the plane can be used again, you did just fine!

Blue Skies

20th Jul 2001, 10:00
well done on your solo. great replies. i have been flying for a lot of years, fourth airline. some days the airplane lands beautifully and i don't seem to have to do a thing and other days all the effort in the world and there's still a clunk. i have flown with excellent pilots with the same experience. i put it down to the aviation humility god, the one that helps us keep our egoes in check. he'll visit often and just be glad that it's all part of the learning experience which never stops. aviation is one of those things which the more you know the more you realise you don't know. humility makes a great pilot

20th Jul 2001, 16:00
Well done..

Your a perfectionist who has decided
that early braking is not a good idea..

Heels on the floor until ready for
gentle braking next time..

It a learning experience...

20th Jul 2001, 17:08
Did the same thing myself on my first solo.
Too much forward pressure on the controls on landing, corrected the swerve with rudder and the left wheel came up slightly which led to my doing some "S" shapes on the rollout for a while. Frightened me a bit but I learnt what happened, why it happened and how to correct/prevent it again. They're the lessons which are the most valuable.

Carry on flying G_String, youre doing fine.


Jimmy Mack
20th Jul 2001, 17:49
Show me someone who hasn't made a mistake and I'll show you someone who hasn't experienced anything in life!

You made a mistake, have learned something from it, but most importantly having done your first solo, you can now officially class yourself as a pilot!

Well done...keep going!

Genghis the Engineer
20th Jul 2001, 17:53
Learn from it the next time.

A first solo which ends on the right airfield, and with the aeroplane being re-useable, was a good one. Well done, don't worry, keep learning.


20th Jul 2001, 20:35

I've just nearly killed my self driving to work (Woke up behind the wheel staring down the barrels of a Petrol tankers back axle :eek: ).
I'm just glad to be alive and looking forward to my next nose wheel shimmy!

p.s. The Tomahawk I've been flying treats both students and instructors alike to a nice shimmy most every flight - I thought it was normal :D

21st Jul 2001, 01:14
I'll add my congrats on your first solo. For many, it's a personal triumph, for some it's just one more hoop to jump through. To feel that yours wasn't the technical tour-de-forde you'd have liked is far from unusual.
There may be a number of explanations for what you experienced. One of the things you must learn about aviation is that the flying is the only bit you need to do on your own, For all other parts of your aviation career you will have access to the excellent advice of those paid to teach you. If you have, or think you have, a problem then you must discuss it with your instructor. He or she can reassure you if that particular aircraft has a known problem, or a quirk exacerbated by a bit of coarse handling, or guide you if in fact you did something incorrectly. Describe the event fully to your instructor and allow them to use their experience to help you. That's what they're there for.
I've taught many, many like you. The ones I worried about most were the ones that kept it all to themselves in the hope that it would all work out alright. Solos are for learning from, but you must admit the problems if you want to find the solutions.
Best of luck.

21st Jul 2001, 04:23
Once again everyone, thanks a lot for all your replies. I certainly feel a lot better about things after reading them - some brilliant advice, and words of wisdom.

Much appreciated

21st Jul 2001, 18:18

You did pretty well to even notice things like that. My first solo was a complete daze and if anything had gone wrong I think I'd have been in a heap of [email protected]<hidden> Finestkind, keep it up and you'll be fine....

The Greener Grass
22nd Jul 2001, 22:21
G String. I really wouldn't worry too much about the first solo landing. It may actually have done you some good to realise that there is always scope for improvement.

My first solo went really well, and I walked away quite confident. The next (dual) lesson with a different instructor I managed to park the a/c on the runway in a very firm manner several times.

That made me realise that you can do a good landing without really appreciating exactly how you would replicate it. That is where the experience bit comes in. Also of course no two landings are the same, as demonstrated by high hour pilots getting caught out from time to time.

23rd Jul 2001, 12:14
G-String. I think you're right on track by being concerned and thoughtful about it. The day you stop thinking about information being presented to you whilst flying, things like a lowering cloudbase ahead, unusual engine noise, less-than-usual performance on takeoff roll etc etc is the day a person becomes less safe. No question or concern is a foolish one in aviation, no matter how "uncool" you might feel by raising it.

Keep it up, and enjoy the rest of your PPL training! I really enjoyed the nav exercises. Finally going somewhere!

Jimmy Mack
23rd Jul 2001, 15:53
Anyway, the landing couldn't have been that bad, or the tower would have said....

"Congratulations...you landed at time 51, 52, 53 and 54" !!!!

23rd Jul 2001, 19:11
Congrats on the Solo. The problem with things like this is the variables or possibilities of things that could happen are endless…I was told after a very scary incedent, where the oleo broke and the shimmy was so bad it shook the doors open on a 150… if you are alive your training was good, if you saved the aircraft your training was great.


6th Aug 2001, 04:39
i didn't think my first solo was so great when i did it either
i took me a few hours to get to it
and so i just felt that i should have done it already and so i didn't like appreciate or enjoy it as much as i probably should have :(

Kermit 180
6th Aug 2001, 08:27
Going solo is a huge achievement for anyone. It really doesnt matter how long it takes, if you really wanted to do it, it would have been great to eventually go. At least you didnt fly to Cuba by accident like that Pizza guy.Well done.

Kermie :D

6th Aug 2001, 11:01
Don't feel bad, I did three landings on my first solo flight and let's just say the wings were NOT paralell with the ground for a good bit of the time while I was on the runway!

I only have about 8 solo hours. I did my first solo after 10 hours of dual instruction.

I have developed this bad habit of clutching the empty right seat with my right hand during rough solo landings (instead of keeping it on the throttle where it should be)! I need to kick this habit before the instructor gets back in the airplane with me.

Seriously, when I feel the airplane swerving like it's about to tip over on the runway, it's easy for me to panic. I'm just glad the 172 I'm using has high wings. Even though the runway is 100 ft wide, on occasion I feel like I'm about to go off the side!

6th Aug 2001, 14:44
dingducky, that was basically my problem too. I was comparing myself with people who'd done it so much quicker than I had. And were doing it better, or so it seemed. Then of course there were those who'd learned in places with 3 km runways with displaced thresholds and no obstacles, while I had to land on 800 metres, 18 ft wide, between hills which caused turbulence, with a main road on the undershoot. But I didn't understand all the ramifications at the time, so it didn't seem to me like an achievement All I could do was criticise myself and want to get on and get my PPL. Nothin wrong with being ambitious and/or self-critical, but you're allowed to enjoy the steps along the way too.

And think about it - we can fly!! How many people EVER manage to do that? It's an achievement no matter what.

6th Aug 2001, 16:05

Obviously you stuffed it up completely! If I were you I'd give up flying, and take to the bottle! Drink yourself silly and that way you'll be able to get over the humiliation of your FAILURE!!! :D :D :D

Edited for absolutely TRASHY spelling; I think I'll take to the bottle again...

[ 06 August 2001: Message edited by: 126.9 ]

spider from mars
6th Aug 2001, 16:25
G String;
Boy your post brings back memories. I did my first solo 21yrs ago. I also got a shimmy; however I wasn't able to keep it on the runway. Got over it though (stuff happens). Good thing too; now Im left seat on a B727.
Remember: Anything that doesn't kill you makes you stronger. ;)

6th Aug 2001, 16:58
G_string, congratulations are the order of the day. A wheel shimmy isn't the end of the world, a 150 that I was flying solo shimmied so badly that I thought the engine and prop was going to shake off! The problem is most likely to be due to a really worn out aircraft. I found the cure was to ease off on the brakes and pull the yoke full back. Only pull the yoke back when your are firmly on the ground otherwise the nose may come up off the ground again. It's flying the junk that makes you appreciate a quality airplane once you fly one. Much better than learning on a new one in my opinion.

No consolation, but worse things will probably happen to you, that's the thrill of flying!

6th Aug 2001, 17:42
Well done G string,

Provided you touch down in the first third of the R/W, try not to go straight for the brakes. Let the nose settle, and just stabilise the aircraft (along the centreline). Once the aircraft is under control, lightly apply the brakes until adequate braking is achieved. If the wheels do 'lock-up' let off (the brakes)! and re-apply. If the aircraft floats way down the r/w before touch-down, and things start to look tight, just Go Around.

I too used to JUMP on the brakes the second the nose-wheel touched down. (Used to the braking sensation you get with reverse-thrust on jets)!

Don't even think about packing it in! You have overcome the first major step. Now build on that and practice as much as you can.

Good luck, and enjoy! :D

6th Aug 2001, 18:18
Well done G-STRING!

As you’ll probably realise by now, you’ve (a) done something that most people can only dream of – i.e. gone solo, and (b) parked the aircraft with 3 wheels still attached, i.e. gone solo successfully. I’ve got a whole 2 hours of P1, and I’d cheerfully settle for getting it down in one piece – finesse will come later.

A BA146 FO recently mentioned to me that his very first commercial job was on the F27, and in a whole year he managed 1 landing that he was happy with, so I suppose its all relative . . .

Oh yes, and on the subject of first solos, I managed no less than 3 bounce-induced go-arounds before I remembered how to land (to be met by a hugely relieved instructor). As the cliché goes, any landing you can walk away from . . .

Midland Maniac
6th Aug 2001, 19:21
hey g-string,

Don't worry about it!!! a guy that was training at Birmingham Airport had an AIRPROX on his first solo, and he picked himself up and got on with it.

If you are embarking on an aviation career, you need to learn the motto '**** Happens!'. Just learn from it....because that is what makes you a better pilot.

I am sure you will be ok....make up for it when you do your first solo nav!!!

Happy Flying!!!!!!!

6th Aug 2001, 21:23

With an alias like that, your threads are bound to be well visited! Like this one.

Human Factor
6th Aug 2001, 23:23
Well done and remember:

1. A good landing is one you can walk away from.

2. A great landing is one where you can use the aeroplane again.


7th Aug 2001, 16:26
Again, thanks to everyone who have taken the time to give advice.

I've now completed 4 hours solo, and &lt;thankfully&gt; appear to have learnt from my shimmy! As stated quite a few times on here, it was a matter of getting my confidence back - you all helped me with that with your advice - cheers

126 - glad you like the name - guess the gender!

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