The problem has been many of my flights get cancelled due to weather, plane problems, etc, and when you fly 1-2 times per month you get rusty and have to keep relearning things. Last week I got to do almost a dozen touch and goes, and this week I was doing well so after three touch and goes, my instructor endorsed me to do fly solo, hopped out of the plane, and told me to do three takeoffs and landings (to a full stop) by myself.
The landings were a bit shaky but no blood was spilled! I think the highlights of the three times around the airport pattern were:
- When I was waiting for permission to pull on to the runway and takeoff, a big jet pulled up right behind me.
- Before my first landing, air traffic control cleared me to do a touch and go, even though I had previously told them I was going to perform a landing to a full stop with a taxi-back to the runway. It's not that often I have to correct their mistake, but I did it while getting ready for my first solo landing.
- During my wait to take off a second time, air traffic control asked me if I was able to expedite my take off (i.e., "do not delay"). I told them "unable, student pilot" because I didn't want extra pressure to rush while soloing my first time and air traffic control did not seem concerned. I think they realized I was soloing for the first time and were trying not to overburden me.
- When I was going to start my approach for my third and final landing, it turned out there were two other planes with priority ahead of me to land. Air traffic control asked me if I would prefer to make a left 360 or just continue straight downwind and delay my turns towards final approach until the coast was clear. I was very glad they asked this because I much prefer doing the left 360 (literally you just go in a circle one time to burn some time) to extending my downwind which makes the landing less routine.
- I wish someone was videotaping my final landing because it probably looked ridiculous (twisting in all sorts of directions to get lined up in the final moments even though there was almost no wind whatsoever lol). No damage to the plane or pilot though!
Now that I'm endorsed to fly solo, I will start working with the instructor on learning to fly to/at other airports, and hopefully soon solo those situations as well. Once I'm endorsed to fly to and from all the nearby airports by myself we will start working on 'cross country' where we fly to further away airports, and that will be a whole different beast.
As always, share any thoughts or questions about flight training.
edit: here is a rough diagram of the route I took for each loop around the airport.