“Nothing will ever equal that moment of exhilaration which filled my whole being when I felt myself flying away from the earth. It was not mere pleasure; it was perfect bliss…”
–Professor Jacques Alexandre Cesare Charles
“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”
Well, I guess you may have figured out that I had my first solo flight in a Cessna 172 yesterday! It was wonderful! I dreamed it, I achieved it and nobody can ever take it away from me. Now, on to soft field landings and cross country training. That first cross country (3 full stops at different airports, at least 50 miles apart) by myself will be huge! A good pilot never stops learning and I still have a long way to go, but the first solo has now been accomplished. YAY!!!!!
Flying Over Oklahoma
Four 4″ x 6″ Watercolor & Acrylic Postcards
I painted this in November, 2009, from a sketch I did, looking out an airplane window on my way to Port Townsend, Washington for an acrylic workshop. I painted it in my hotel room, while I was there. I thought it would be appropriate for today’s post.
Professor Jacques Alexandre Cesar Charles wrote this after the first free flight in a manned hydrogen balloon, December 1, 1783. Note: The exact adjective used by Professor Charles to describe the emotions is not “exhilaration” but “bilarite”, which can be translated exactly as ecstasy, exhilaration, joy and/or excitement.
In American aviation lore, the traditional removal of a new pilot’s shirt tail is a sign of the instructor’s new confidence in his student after successful completion of the 1st solo flight. In the days of tandem trainers, the student sat in the front seat, with the instructor behind. As there were often no radios in these early days of aviation, the instructor would tug on the student pilot’s shirttail to get his attention, and then yell in his ear. A successful first solo flight is an indication that the student can fly without the instructor (“instructor-less” flight). Hence, there is no longer a need for the shirt tail, and it is cut off by the (often) proud instructor, and sometimes displayed as a trophy.