What happens after your first solo flight?

What happens after your first solo flight?

What happens after your first solo flight?

Your first solo flight is an exhilarating, exciting, nerve racking and just downright amazing experience from which you walk away feeling accomplished and awesome.

But now there is that somewhat awkward period between having flown solo and being able to competently handle an aircraft, and having your Pilot Licence. You’re obviously able to fly an aircraft, as your Instructor wouldn’t have put their head on the chopping block if they didn’t trust you and your ability enough to bring back the aeroplane. But now comes the fun part where you get to hone in and perfect those core skills, as well as start learning advanced techniques and practices reserved for those that persevere past their first solo flight.

Generally speaking, we can break down what happens between your first solo flight, and actually getting your Recreational Pilot Licence:

GOAL: First Training Area Solo


You would’ve completed your first solo flight in the airport circuit area, and your next goal is to move on from doing circuits and into the bigger, more open training area. You should already be familiar with this space having flown here with your Instructor previously, so you would know that it generally has less traffic, giving you more room to practice.

But, like many things, practice makes perfect. So before your first training area solo, you’ll generally have another 2 lessons of circuit solos to build up your confidence and competencies.

After this, your Instructor will jump back on board and you’ll begin learning a more advanced training syllabus, these lessons should include:

  • Practice forced landings
  • Steep turns
  • Advanced stalling
  • Precautionary search and landing
  • Instrument flying (only if you’re on a GA syllabus though!)

These are generally done out in the training area so you’re even more familiar with the area before your first solo, and each subject is normally allocated to 1 lesson. So, roughly 4/5 lessons dual with your Instructor after solo circuits.

Presuming everything is going well, you’re ready for your Pre area solo check flight! This is similar to your Pre solo check flight, where the Instructor will assess your confidence and skill as to whether you are eligible to complete your first area solo.

If so – then next lesson you’ll be sent to the training area to complete your first area solo, another great achievement as you’ve got much more responsibility under your belt. As you are required to travel further than just a standard circuit flight, your training area solo will tend to go for a little longer than a standard lesson.

GOAL: Pre Licence Check Flight


Now that you’ve completed your first training area solo, you’ll have to head back out again for another lesson or two to build your competencies and practice what you’ve been taught. Usually only 1 extra training area solo is required, but depending on your current skill level and confidence, more may be required.

During this additional lesson, often referred to as consolidation, you will be preparing and proving to your Instructor that you are ready to go for you Flight Test. You’ve been taught everything you need to know, it’s just a matter of raising your skill set to the standard of a qualified Recreational Pilot.

Once your Instructor believes you are competent enough to conduct your flight test, you will have a Pre Licence check flight. During this lesson you will replicate the inclusions of a formal Flight Test and practice as if it were the real deal. Should you ace this, you’ll be put forward to complete your actual Flight Test.

GOAL: Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL)


It’s the last hurdle! You’ve successfully completed your Pre Licence check flight, and your Instructor believes you have all the theoretical and practical skills down pat to be able to pass.

Your RPL Flight Test will be conducted by either your Flying Schools Chief Flying Instructor (CFI), or an outside designated testing officer – this varies from school to school and whether you are flying an RA or GA syllabus. You must be up to speed on all theoretical elements of your training, as you will be tested on this throughout the duration of your flight, as well as on the ground. The actual flight itself will be conducted in both the airport circuit area and training area as well.

You will be asked to complete a variety of actions that will test and prove your ability as a Pilot, including but not limited to forced landings, advanced stalling and emergency circuits. Ensure that you are completing your flight test in a familiar aircraft, and in good weather conditions – you don’t want to be caught unaware in any situation and should put your best foot forward in every way.

Upon successful completion of the flight test you will be rewarded with your Recreational Pilot Licence!

So don’t fall off the radar after you’ve completed your first solo flight, you’re only halfway there. And even though we’re ‘cup half full’ kind of people, a half full cup doesn’t really cut it in aviation. We definitely recommend filling your cup and getting your RPL!

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