Jump to content

Scared to solo.


Recommended Posts

I have about 10hrs of flying and just started hovering. The thought of flying solo really scares me. I really enjoy the challenge of flying but I wonder if I will be ready. I keep thinking I might make a really bad mistake and it would cost me my life. Is it normal to feel this way with only 10hrs of flying time? :o

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is perfectly normal to feel some anxiety in the days and weeks (and minutes) leading up to your first solo. However, you have 10 hours now. You didn't say what you were flying, but if it's a R22 than you have AT LEAST 10 hours to go before you can solo. Most school's insurance companies won't allow you to solo before 20 hours if it isn't a Robinson.

 

More importantly, your instructor WILL NOT send you solo unless he/she is confident that you can safely fly the helicopter alone.

 

My advice to you is this: Don't worry about it! You will not be soloing for a while, and will learn a LOT in those 10 hours. Also, talk to your instructor about your fear. He/she needs to know you are afraid, and what you are afraid of, so that he/she can help build your confidence in those areas.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have about 10hrs of flying and just started hovering. The thought of flying solo really scares me. I really enjoy the challenge of flying but I wonder if I will be ready. I keep thinking I might make a really bad mistake and it would cost me my life. Is it normal to feel this way with only 10hrs of flying time? :o

Your CFI isn't going to let you solo until he/she thinks you are ready. Will you have butterflies in your stomach? Probably. But when you get the helo to a hover and do some patterns, that will go away, and you'll have a moment that will be a very pleasant memory! Just be patient and wait for it to come...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have about 20 hours in an Enstrom 280 and I still don't feel ready to solo. I have just within the last few hours gotten to where I feel (and my instructor tells me) I can pick it up, fly around the pattern, and land it. Not pretty yet but I can do it. I had my lesson yesterday and one approach he still had to back me up on the cyclic once. This is one of the hardest things I have ever tried to learn so don't feel like a failure if you don't pick it up right away. The school I fly at requires a steep approach into a confined area with high wires on three sides and a landing on a cart. That's what scares me. :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have about 10hrs of flying and just started hovering. The thought of flying solo really scares me. I really enjoy the challenge of flying but I wonder if I will be ready. I keep thinking I might make a really bad mistake and it would cost me my life. Is it normal to feel this way with only 10hrs of flying time? :o

 

Rotorchic,

 

We all understand how you feel. I’ll try and explain it the way it is for me.

Today I expected to do my first solo . (No BS..today) I have around 32 hours in a Schweizer. This morning my CFI (the only one I have flown with since the start of my lessons) and I did nothing but patterns, if I recall we did about 6 or 7 with an autorotations thrown in and a few hovering autorotations too (nice little surprises he dishes out often). I was fresh, the weather was great, it was sunny, my mind was clear and sharp. Perfect day in Ormond Beach, Florida. Just a smattering of a breeze. My CFI told me at lunch that we would fly a few more normal approaches and then another instructor would do one or two normal approaches with me then I would be turned loose to solo. Between lunch and the afternoon flight, I was called into my work (only a mile from airport), to fix a computer. I was there for an hour or so, went back to the airfield and flew again with my CFI. After two or three normal approaches, we taxied back to the ramp and the other CFI rode with me. We did 2 normal approaches and 2 autorotations. On the way back to the ramp, I was tired and didn't feel like I wanted to fly anymore. I know that sounds weird, but I was tired. I was excited about going solo, but just didn’t feel like it was right. I decided that I would wait till the next opportunity to fly.

 

Now about how I felt...

I was geeked up to solo. All the previous week I went to bed thinking about flying alone and getting past that very important part of my training. I woke up each day this week with the same thoughts on my mind. I tried to make sense out of identifying the feeling I had when thinking about it. Was I nervous? Excited? Scared? I don't know, but I tried to think about how great it was going to be to conquer all those feelings and embrace new ones as a result of marching past that very exciting milestone in my life. I was excited for sure. I can't tell you how it feels to solo the first time (yet), but I can tell you with what I believe to be an accurate statement... we all experience some nervous excitement when doing things for the first time (one good thing about helicopter training, there are a TON of "exciting first times")

 

First autorotation.

First unassisted normal approach.

First time hovering.

First really good pick up.

First really good set down

First time experiencing ground resonance

 

The list goes on and on....

 

I also took some other things into consideration before deciding not to solo today. I was worried that I would be letting my CFI down, but that feeling went away when I thought about how important it was to be safe and how he had preached safety over and over. Large helpings of autorotations, hovering autorotations, etc. Over and over. I don’t mind doing them because I WANT to be safe. I WANT to be able to do autorotations proficiently so that I will be safe. And so does he. He must be ready to let me go and I must be ready. I felt like I was too tired and fatigued. It was just a long day. It was a good decision for me.

Now for my opinionated point to all this drivel.....

 

The feelings will change. Fear will become excitement. Excitement will become joy. You will experience an endless supply of mixed up feelings while in training, most of all you will find that those uneasy feeling will go away with time as your training progresses. You've got 10 hours! That's great. The hovering is going good, you will probably look back in 10-15 more hours and barely remember your hovering troubles. You will get confident and all will be ok. I was the same way.

 

I got lucky. The place I train at has a great family of instructors. My CFI has kept me safe through all my training so far. I have made mistakes (big and small), yet he keeps on puttin it on me, drilling me with questions, study study study. Just about every explanation for everything we do in flying is related to safety. Autorotations, messy hovering, watch your airspeed, watch your RPMs. I have a great deal of respect and admiration for him, and all the others that share their learnings with me.

 

I get past those feeling by visualizing myself laughing and smiling afterwards.

 

What is it that Yoda said...

 

Do or do not... there is no try

 

007_yoda_a.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My first solo-in a plane-scared the crap outta me. Two words: Relax.

 

I'm still scared to solo in the helo. It's normal, just like taking your driving test. That which I failed twice, mind you.

 

Try Valium? :)

 

I still get tense when landing. Getting better though. Breathe, relax, and sing a little ditty or commercial jingle. Hot dogs are good.

 

Making sense? No way! Just like flying.

 

On second thought, never mind.

 

Time to bake cookies. Now, where did I put those chocolate chips?

 

Later

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bristol, you have me all confused now ! You talk about overcoming all these internal feelings..but...have you solo'd yet !!!!!!!!!!!!!! ?????

 

What are you confused about?

I was describing how I have felt up to this point in my training.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks to all for their responses to my concerns. I will just continue to fly and having fun instead of worrying about things I don't need to at this time. Bristol I wish you alot of luck with your first solo, I hope you get a chance to do it soon. I feel overjoyed that there is so many nice responses. :D :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you are not worried by your first solo the CFI should be.

Aprehension is a good thing, it,s worst to be over confidant .

I remember doing an auto, the CFI saying shut down, we had a chat and he got, out as I unstraped he said where are you going? take her round on your own and walked away, S*** ON my OWN!! started up and all I could think about was "on my own S*** ."

Went through the start up in a cold sweat, asked to clear to dead side and spent 15 minutes hovering and doing boxes, trying to get up the nerve to go for it, the radio comes to life and the CFI is saying how about the circuit before fuel runs out, I thought well it,s still in one peice so lets go, got clearance colective forward, translational lift, and away 300 ft and the stick starts to vibe!! getting worse call tower now at 500ft do a 180 and take power off and land Phew. ( blade tape lifted )

I did it as the CFI had trained me, did not think just went into auto mode and reacted as trained.

The moral is the CFI will not send you out untill he is sure the ship is coming back in one lump.

PS

The thing that was more off putting was the left skid low and how much quicker it lifted due to the weight

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello All,

I wanted to chime in on the discussion concerning the nervousness prior to the first solo. I am due to solo this Sunday and actually look forward to it. I understand full well the nervousness involved and shared by others and completely agree that a certain element of fear or at least awareness is key to being a pilot for some years.

 

For me, soloing is a welcome change because I personally feel that I am ready for this critical milestone. What I find a bit daunting is getting over the FAA minimums and whatnot of when people should be soloing and expected to get their license. I am not sure if my instructor is the best out there, but I am comfortable in my pace of learning where just enough skills and repetitions are invoked where I am building confidence but also challenged too.

 

Yesterday I had what our school calls a "pre-solo" checkride; which equate to flying with a different instructor. The number one thing I noticed was the difference in weight and approach. My normal instructor is someone is of similar weight and always has his hands within inches of the controls during difficult manuveurs. Although he rarely touches them, I still know at a point where he can be there. I notice it most on the pedals though. Yesterday, a taller and heavier instructor with considerably more hours sat in the left seat. He kept his hands firmly in his lap, feet nowhere near the pedals and sat quiet just letting me fly.

 

The pickup was aweful as was the immediate takeoff through ETL. He calmly told me to relax and trust expect to be expected to do what my current instructor allows. This was a key point for me. He was a passenger more than an instructor. After a short amount of time, I was back in my element and actually was better off because I performing the same manuevers and actually got into some confined spaces I had never been too. What was happening was the transitition from rote memorization to application of skills.

 

I understand the nerves all new pilot students have. To be honest, I find the toughest is after an hour to 1.9 training flight - having to set down in front of a crowd of people watching in front of the hanger the most difficult. I guess you never realize how fatigued you get concentrating and handling the controls.

 

Good luck to all. Remember, hours are hours. Go at your own pace. Be safe.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest 13snoopy
It is perfectly normal to feel some anxiety in the days and weeks (and minutes) leading up to your first solo. However, you have 10 hours now. You didn't say what you were flying, but if it's a R22 than you have AT LEAST 10 hours to go before you can solo. Most school's insurance companies won't allow you to solo before 20 hours if it isn't a Robinson.

 

More importantly, your instructor WILL NOT send you solo unless he/she is confident that you can safely fly the helicopter alone.

 

My advice to you is this: Don't worry about it! You will not be soloing for a while, and will learn a LOT in those 10 hours. Also, talk to your instructor about your fear. He/she needs to know you are afraid, and what you are afraid of, so that he/she can help build your confidence in those areas.

You are incorrrect. You must have at least 20 hours dual instruction before you can solo in the R22 in the U.S.A.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

don't know how it works in your area, but at my school the first solo was only a "hover solo". Never made it to the "active" runway area. Just went to grassy area and hovered around. You pick it up, taxi over a bit, and hover for 30 minutes, then come back and set it down. It was pretty simple. The second solo was a "pattern solo".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

don't know how it works in your area, but at my school the first solo was only a "hover solo". Never made it to the "active" runway area. Just went to grassy area and hovered around. You pick it up, taxi over a bit, and hover for 30 minutes, then come back and set it down. It was pretty simple. The second solo was a "pattern solo".

 

 

Interesting, I have never heard of this, all solo's I know of ( including 2 of my own 20 years apart !) were in the pattern. Seems like a good idea though, hovering is the toughest part for most, and you usually wont get killed 3 feet off the ground ( yes, it can happen !). How many others started off with a hover solo ??

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It sounds similar to my first solo. The instructor got out at the end of a taxi way and had me do a pickup turn 90 degrees set down and then pickup 90 degrees until I completed a full circle and then I hovered up and down the taxiway and picked him back up and called it a day. A couple of cold beers afterwards helped calm the nerves.

 

ironranger

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
I have about 10hrs of flying and just started hovering. The thought of flying solo really scares me. I really enjoy the challenge of flying but I wonder if I will be ready. I keep thinking I might make a really bad mistake and it would cost me my life. Is it normal to feel this way with only 10hrs of flying time? :o

 

Hello,

I am going to echo the other comments about comfort levels in soloing. The truth is you will need a minimum of about 20 hrs before you can solo anyhow, but that is for the R22. Soloing is definitely a huge milestone in your flight training. My solo started out with several pick-ups and set downs, an airtaxi down the runway and eventually 2 full patterns. The difference is we were working at an uncontrolled airport. This is key because at that time there was nobody in the pattern. The thing I will never forget was how quickly the R22 got up and going. My instructor did add some ballast to the aircraft, but it still was very noticable as is the fact that you must adjust your glidepath and approach to less weight.

 

But, your instructor will not and should not send you until you are ultimately ready to do so. It is not only a safety precaution for you, but also punting a helicopter with a student doesn't bode well for his/her career. But, I can tell you and most will agree with me, that first solo is truly something special. It is very liberating and a decent payoff to the enormous expense. Since that time, my confidence has improved and now I look forward to my facing my solo cross country requirements.

 

Relax and solo when you are ready to.

 

Good luck.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You are incorrrect. You must have at least 20 hours dual instruction before you can solo in the R22 in the U.S.A.

 

Hey Snoopy, re-read PhotoFlyers response. PhotoFlyer mentions that rotorchic currently has 10 hours of flight time and the she will need an addtional 10 hours of flight time if in a Robbie before even being allowed to solo.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...