February 14, 2011

I’M RIDIN SOLO! That’s right, I finally solo’ed. On February 9, 2011, my instructor and I headed up to Flagler airport, which I frequently visit, so it was a bit easier to feel comfortable.

Once we had the airport in sight and contacted Tower, we entered the traffic pattern. We did 3 touch-n-go’s, which are when we land and then take off right afterwards (hence the term touch-n-go). Once we did a couple of those, just to confirm that I make good landings, we asked for a full stop landing and then taxied over to the ramp. She signed my flight certificate endorsing me to fly solo. She then went over and sat and I started up my might Cessna 172S and taxied over to the runway. I performed my before take-off “run-up” and my before take-off checklists. After my final items, and clearance from tower, I made my way on to the runway and added full power. Once I was moving, checked my instruments, “Engine instruments in the green”, checked my airspeed, “airspeed alive”, and at 55kts or about 64mph I called out “Vr, Rotate” and pulled back on the yoke and I took off. It was seriously one of the most amazing feelings I’ve had. Having being stuck on landings and failing to past my check ride, this was awesome. I was supposed to solo around December 10th or so, but it finally arrived. Once I reached about 100ft or so below traffic pattern altitude, I turned crosswind (perpendicular to the runway after takeoff). I then reached traffic pattern altitude and then turned downwind, flying parallel to the runway. I glanced out of my window and caught sight of my instructor on the ground. I cannot express how exhilarating this experience was and how liberating it is. You are so used to looking to your right and seeing another person there. To know that you are the only person in this aircraft at 1000ft is one of the best feelings in the world and probably since school started and I took off for the very first time on my discovery flight. I can look back and see how much progress I’ve made and although I’ve had my ups and downs, this experience tops it all.

If you’ve read my journals up to this point, you’ve definitely heard about my downs and how disappointed you feel sometimes, but in all honestly, those are in the past and I barely remember them. I highly encourage you to check out my video where I’ll show some footage and pictures of my solo and talk about it a bit more. (http://www.youtube.com/thatriddleguy) In other news, the Budweiser shootout is going on in Daytona and if you leave campus, well, be prepared. Traffic is a lot worse than usual and the streets are crowded with people trying to get to the track. There are people tailgating on the side of the roads where people who own property sell parking at the most random places – but whatever pays the bills.

Classes are going well and I’ve had a couple tests lately and done pretty well on them. I had my first test in Flight Physiology, which is a really an awesome course, and I received an 88%. Professor Moren graded the test within an hour and posted them online. I love when teachers do this; it is highly different then High School, where you would normally wait a week or two to get your grade.

Small note is that my friend is coming down on Tuesday morning to visit for a week and I am so excited for him to get down here. We met through mutual friends and chatted for a bit but then lately we started talking more and more and realized that we get along extremely well, so I invited him down for a week. Other than that, Embry-Riddle is still exceeding my expectations. Also, the Accepted Students event is April 16th and I highly encourage you to come because I came last year and it seriously was an awesome time to finally meet the people I will be having classes with and the people that I saw on Facebook but yet to meet in person. Here’s the link if you would like to register (http://www.erau.edu/db/admissions/form_preview.html) I’m going to go enjoy this 70’s and sunny weather! Over and out!

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About Alex

**Minor:** Applied Meteorology **Career Goals:** To become a pilot for a major airline, hopefully one day Southwest Airlines. **Why I chose Embry-Riddle:** I was born in the United Kingdom and moved to the United States when I was six, traveling between the countries I became a frequent flier. Ever since walking into that cockpit when I was 5, I always dreamed about becoming an airline pilot. One day, I searched online for the best school to become a pilot. Result: Embry-Riddle.

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