Birgit’s flying diary: My first solo “I just checked my instruments, focused on my controls and started slowly raising the collective…”

Birgit’s flying diary: My first solo “I just checked my instruments, focused on my controls and started slowly raising the collective…”

I was actually not prepared for it at all… I thought.

I started my flight training in the beginning of April 2014, after having decided to do a full-time training from Private to Commercial License, Instrument rating and Flight Instructor rating. So, I was at the airfield every day, sometimes flying twice a day. It was a big school in the North West of the United States and usually you had to sit in the pilot lounge for 2 hours or more, just to catch a spot in the circuit of the airfield…

So, my instructor decided to fly away to the next little airfield, just to have a bit of peace and quiet for hover practicing and flying circuits. I remember how he kept on telling me how different the controls feel, if a person leaves the aircraft and the weight and balance changes. I didn’t really understand what he was trying to prepare me for.

So, after 30 hours of training, it was the 3rd of May, after having done 3 circuits, he told me to land on the runway. I felt ok with taking off and landing at that point, but I didn’t know that he would leave me to do it on my own. So, he just told me to do the same thing, what we just had done and he would have a radio with him, so I could talk to him – and after reminding me, how different it will feel on the controls, he just stepped out of the cockpit.

I was too nervous to say something. So, I just checked my instruments, focused on my controls and started slowly raising the collective. What a surprise, the helicopter really jumped up, compared to the normal feeling of a takeoff! He was right, it felt very different.

The circuits went well, I was feeling confident, that I could do this and I started feeling a bit of pride, that I was able to do that on my own. The landing was also a bit more tricky, because I am such a light person, I first thought, that I will never going to get back on the ground.. but after lowering the collective even more, the helicopter finally started moving downwards.. and landing was strange, because the skids touched down first on the heels, but I was back from where I started!

And as you can imagine, the rest of the day, I couldn’t stop that smile on my face, what an experience!

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