On Wednesday I became eligible for solo flight because I turned 16. Last weekend, as I wrote about in my last post, I had a good lesson and learned a whole lot. There was a scheduled plan for me to solo on my 16th birthday, but mother nature had some other plans. Even though I am pretty much ready to solo, and my instructor is confident, we have to wait to get the right weather (at least 1,500 foot ceilings, low winds, and 3sm visibility). In addition, my instructor will be going up with me right before I fly to make sure I’m all good to go. I might need another lesson on two before I solo, which I understand.

Weather forecast when I had a flight planned for Wednesday afternoon… not good!

As of now, I have 4.4 hours under my belt, which isn’t many at all for a first solo. I’m glad my instructor thinks I’m up to it and thinks I’m ready (or very close) to soloing.

Soloing on my 16th Birthday would have been nice, but sadly I can’t control the weather, so I had to reschedule. On Wednesday, I ended up rescheduling for this morning between 9-11am. I had the worst feeling when I woke up this morning and saw snow from my window. I think today was the first time in my life that I’ve seen snow and responded negatively! I was excited for today because the forecast was looking great. When I checked yesterday, there was a prediction for 3,100 – 6,500 foot ceilings with visibility over 6 miles (perfect for my low flying solo). I’ve now really come to see how poor weather predictions can be sometimes. By the time the scheduled time rolled around there was an overcast ceiling at 800 feet with snow and rain. What you do as a pilot is often dictated by the weather, so I’m really learning how to be patient and wait for the right day.

So now, two times, my plan to solo has been cancelled due to weather, oh well… I have now rescheduled the time slot for Monday morning from 9-11am. As of now, the forecast looks excellent (0% chance of precipitation, over 12,000 foot ceilings, and low winds). I have definitely learned that I shouldn’t get my hopes up for the weather, so I am approaching Monday with some skepticism.

If I get the chance to solo on Monday I’m going to try to use my GoPro Hero 3 camera to record the flight if everything works out!

Good Forecast for Monday… Crossing my Fingers!

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8 Responses

  1. APC

    I had forgotten how closely I watched the weather when I was learning to fly. I’m sorry things didn’t work out on your birthday, but it sounds like mother nature may cooperate on Monday. I’ll wish you “good luck” because “break a leg” just doesn’t sound appropriate:)

  2. adhawkins

    It’s good that you’re getting used to weather cancellations so early on. I fly in the UK, and I certainly had my fair share of them during my training!

    4.4 hours sounds an awful low figure for first solo (but then, you’re a lot younger than I was when I trained!).

    Good to read of someone with so much enthusiasm for aviation. Best of luck with the rest of your training.


    • Swayne Martin

      Thanks so much for reading Andy! I know right, 4.4 hours is so little time… I know that my instructor wouldn’t have let me solo then if he wasn’t 100% ready, which is why I wasn’t too nervous. 🙂

      Glad you are here with me on the blog! Hope you enjoy reading and seeing some fun videos!

      Swayne Martin
      Martins Aviation
      Twitter: @MartinsAviation

    • adhawkins

      If you’re interested in what might be to come during your training (albeit with a very UK specific slant) then I documented my entire PPL training (and the flights since gaining my license) at my own blog.

      It’s here if you want to take a look



  3. Peter Anderson

    How are you soloing after only 4.4 hours?! I’m at 5 currently and probably won’t solo until around 16-22 or so. With my instruction we only really focus on 2-3 different tasks/situations at a time. I’m also learning out of a Charlie class airport with quite a bit of traffic, so maybe that’s why. But man, only 4 hours. I’m learning a lot with every lesson but thats pretty low it seems.

    • Swayne Martin

      It was pretty quick for sure! I trained at a non-towered field and did all of the required pre-solo maneuvers and lessons. After flying with three different instructors, they all signed me off as ready to go. Don’t worry about how much time it takes though – there’s no “right” time.

  4. David Wong

    Hi Again Swayne,

    I noticed that you only had flight lessons once a week, taking a year to get your PPL. Was there a specific reason for that? Did it help you “soak” in the lessons and give you more time to prepare for next one? I ask because most pilots/CFIs tell me to fly 2-3 times a week.. they say you learn faster by flying more often. For me, more than 2 a week right now (I just started) feels too much for me. I don’t feel it soaks in when I do more. What do you think?



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