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My first Solo Flight

It was Tuesday November, 7th 2007 (my 14th birthday!) I made my first solo flight. It was one of the most exciting things I have ever done. When I arrived at The Moriarty Municipal Airport (0E0) at around 8:45am with my dad and my mom it wasn't long before my instructor, Stan Roeske rolled in. Immediately after he got out of his car he greeted me with "Happy Birthday". I nervously replied "Thanks". We then walked into the Albuquerque Soaring Club's Clubhouse, an old huge grey hangar. When we arrived in the clubhouse we looked at the wind gage. It was reading a cross-wind at a speed of about 2 knots. This made me a little uneasy knowing that if it increased to much more I wouldn’t be able to fly. After the weather check Stan and I walked over to the white board inside the hangar and he began a lecture on landing patterns. The whole time I was trying my hardest to pay attention, but I was way too excited about flying. After the lecture that seemed to go on for hours was finally over I walked over to the filing cabinet and grabbed the Schweitzer 2-33 preflight checklist. Next, I walked into the part of the hangar that housed my ride. My ride of course was a Schweitzer 2-33 painted red and white with the words “Spirit of Santilli” written on the nose in black letters. After a quick but thorough inspection I was ready to pull it out of the hangar. My parents assisted me in the process. When the glider was out of the hangar we hooked it up to my instructor’s truck. The journey from the clubhouse to the runway is about half a mile. When we finally arrived the tow plane was waiting at the runway for us. The tow pilot climbed out of his tow plane, and came over to me and shook my hand. After the short meeting with the tow pilot Stan and I positioned the glider on the runway as the tow plane started its engine and positioned into place as well. Stan called the tow plane on the radio telling him we wanted a pattern tow. The next thing I knew I was being pulled down the runway, and took off moments after that. We lifted off perfectly and stayed about 5 feet off the runway until the tow plane joined us in the air. We continued on our flight as Stan reminded me to call out the altitudes in the case that we have a rope break. We circled around to the left of the airport we were about 1,400 ft. above then runway. I then looked around for traffic, and pulled the big yellow and made a climbing right turn as I watched the tow plane disappear. I then flew over to the water towers (Moriarty’s IP), and entered a left downwind traffic pattern for runway 26. We were flying a perfect landing pattern. We finally touched down, it was the smoothest landing I had ever done with out the instructor’s assistance. When we landed the tow plane was waiting for us, and within a matter of minutes we were back in the air. This flight was almost identical to the last flight. The landing was even smoother that the last flight. The next thing I knew Stan opened his door, and came up to me and took my license to sign. At that moment I was in shock it just hit me that I was going to fly all alone without any help. Both my parents both had cameras to document this mark of history in my life. As the wing runner picked up my wing I felt a major adrenaline rush. When the slack was out of the towline and I signaled with my rudder that I was ready for takeoff the tow plane accelerated very quickly. The nose jerked up due to the lack of weight, and as I struggled to keep the nose down I also had to keep the wings level and steer it with the rudder pedals. After a few seconds my nose was back in position, and I took off shortly after that. When the tow plane took off I could see the runway disappear quickly below me. I stayed on tow for a while then I released at around 9,200 ft., and I was soaring. It was a great feeling to be independent and free to do what I want without the instructor criticizing me. I circled the airport looking down at Moriarty and the runway. I circled many times before I headed over to the water tower to start my approach. I was at a perfect altitude and a perfect airspeed as I glided smoothly down to the runway. When I landed I continued roll so I was closer the tow plane. I finally came to a complete stop, and I could see my parents and my instructor come running over to me. They came over and congratulated me. I took one more flight after my first solo then we put the plane back in the hangar. When we were in the hangar we had to sign a few papers, and cut up an old shirt to hang on the wall. When all this was over we left to go back to Albuquerque.

Posted: 11/29/2007 By: Kevin Bielek

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