Welcome Guest. Sign in or Signup

5 Answers

When after first solo should a student pilot venture to the practice area?

Asked by: 5915 views ,
Student Pilot

So first solo includes CFI on the ground watching student do full stop landings at the primary airpiort. First solo complete. What do people recommend for allowing/encouraging the student to fly from primary airport to the practice area (not including other airports)? Is there any rule of thumb to communicate with the student that people use like "have fun soloing all week staying here and then when you have done 2 hours go head out and back...". I know a little off question but my instructor years ago allowed me to solo with a gentlemens agreement of, dont leave the airport until I am back from vacation.... something like that.

Ace Any FAA Written Test!
Actual FAA Questions / Free Lifetime Updates
The best explanations in the business
Fast, efficient study.
Pass Your Checkride With Confidence!
FAA Practical Test prep that reflects actual checkrides.
Any checkride: Airplane, Helicopter, Glider, etc.
Written and maintained by actual pilot examiners and master CFIs.
The World's Most Trusted eLogbook
Be Organized, Current, Professional, and Safe.
Highly customizable - for student pilots through pros.
Free Transition Service for users of other eLogs.
Our sincere thanks to pilots such as yourself who support AskACFI while helping themselves by using the awesome PC, Mac, iPhone/iPad, and Android aviation apps of our sponsors.

5 Answers

  1. Casey Hansen on Oct 05, 2011

    I think it varies with each student’s comfort level and skill level, but typically I give them a couple solo sessions in the pattern (at least) to get their confidence level up, then I start having them venture out into the practice area with specific instructions for what to practice. I make sure they are comfortable with pattern entry, working with other traffic in the area, etc. before setting them free as well.
    As for maneuvers while they’re in the practice area – I’m careful to make sure they are up-to-par with whatever they’ll be practicing.

    0 Votes Thumb up 0 Votes Thumb down 0 Votes

  2. Jim Foley on Oct 06, 2011

    As Casey said, it will vary with each student and how comfortable the instructor is with the students ability.  For myself, I soloed at around 5pm, and was wheels-up doing manouvers in the practice area by 8am the next day.  Just depends on what your abilities and knowledge is.

    0 Votes Thumb up 0 Votes Thumb down 0 Votes

  3. Matthew Beyer on Oct 06, 2011

    Thanks, this helps. Sorta related, any usual rule of thumb for when student pilot can switch from full stop landings to touch and goes? I know its subjective, but if anyone has any typical markers or rule of thumb… Thanks again

    0 Votes Thumb up 0 Votes Thumb down 0 Votes

  4. Matthew Waugh on Oct 06, 2011

    So with respect to the practice area – it depends. I operated out of a Class C airport, by the time they’d solo’ed at a satellite airport they were MORE than ready to venture into the practice area on their own. However if it’s a “quickie” solo, where you dotted the i’s and t’s and then spent all the time in the pattern getting to solo, probably need some more airwork before you let them do ANYTHING except bang around the pattern.
    I NEVER let solo students do touch and goes. We do them when I’m with them as a speed up mechanism (although we do a full stop every 2-4 landings) but on their own no touch and goes – it’s just one more complexity a student pilot doesn’t need.

    0 Votes Thumb up 0 Votes Thumb down 0 Votes

  5. Brian on Oct 06, 2011

    I was required, and subsequently require, 2 pattern solo’s (though I’m alright with one) and the ability to take me home twice in a row without instruction. This stems from my training where we had our solo, then a stage check with optional second solo, followed by two lessons to tidy up our navigation to and from the practice area, and finally a solo to the practice area. Me personally, I did 3 takeoffs and landings on my solo flight, did not solo on my stage exam, and 3 days and 2 flight hours later I solo’ed to the practice area. 
    As for what maneuvers to allow, also very VERY student dependent. I did power off stalls during my first solo to the practice area. Power on stalls my second. So I’d done both power on and power off stalls with under 2.5 hours solo time. However, I requested my instructor allow me to practice these and was not afraid to let go of the airplane and let it fly, knowing darn well that my inputs could cause more harm than good.
    A little background on me: I had hundreds of hours flying and building RC’s before stepping foot in a real plane. The flight concepts are all the same, in particular, stall recovery — let go of the controls, chop the throttle, and the plane will always recover from any stall, even an uncoordinated one. So long as your reaction is pre developed spin and you don’t panic, but wait for the aircraft to settle. My instructor had seen my inate action to remove the throttle and relax controls the instant a wing would drop from my very first power on stall.
    All that said, I’ve yet to have a student react intuitively to this and as such have not recommended any stall practice so early. So the end answer is..it depends. I’d say you’re far better to set minimums and let your students meet them: such as requiring 2 successful navigations back to home base without your input before allowing the first practice area solo. Some students will do that immediately, others will take a half a dozen pattern solo’s before it happens. At the very least, this approach gives you standards and sets an achievable goal for your students! 

    0 Votes Thumb up 0 Votes Thumb down 0 Votes

The following terms have been auto-detected the question above and any answers or discussion provided. Click on a term to see its definition from the Dauntless Aviation JargonBuster Glossary.

Answer Question

Our sincere thanks to all who contribute constructively to this forum in answering flight training questions. If you are a flight instructor or represent a flight school / FBO offering flight instruction, you are welcome to include links to your site and related contact information as it pertains to offering local flight instruction in a specific geographic area. Additionally, direct links to FAA and related official government sources of information are welcome. However we thank you for your understanding that links to other sites or text that may be construed as explicit or implicit advertising of other business, sites, or goods/services are not permitted even if such links nominally are relevant to the question asked.