Jeff Ferreira's First SoloRecently Jeff Ferreira, a student of mine made his first solo. He'd been ready for sometime, but events had conspired to delay the great day for what seemed like an eternity. Anyway, on this cold morning Jeff's big day finally arrived.
We had originally planned to have Jeff do his first solo at Longmont, as the absence of ATC communication would reduce the workload slightly, but Jeff is very comfortable with ATC and there wasn't much other traffic, so we decided to fly at Jeffco (home base) instead. The Jeffco tower controllers kindly invited me to join them in the tower for the best view.
Jeff and I did three stop and goes together first, to ensure that both Jeff and the airplane were in good form, then I filled out his various endorsements to authorize his solo and sent him on his way. I went up to the tower cab to watch, and was rewarded with Jeff's excellent performance. Three practically perfect stop and goes, landing right on the touchdown zone markers each time. George, the tower controller at the time even commented on the landings, and additionally noted that Jeff's radio work was very good.
Afterwards, I joined Jeff in the airplane on the ramp, and we taxied back to the hangar and then headed out to work, we weren't quite late, but it was getting close. By lunchtime, the smile had not even begun to fade from Jeff's face when I called by at his cube and cut the shirt of his back. After that, we went out for lunch together (thanks Jeff, I didn't mean for you to pay, but I appreciate your generosity :)
A first solo is always an unforgettable experience, both for the student, and for the instructor. Jeff's was picture perfect, which can only add to the joy of the experience, and we're both greatly looking forward to the next of his lessons--the cross-country phase.
Here's Jeff's first takeoff seen from the tower. You can see the radar screen at the left, and the top of controller George's head. Unfortunately, although the tower cab was nice and warm, it's not the best vantage point for taking photos if you don't have a good telephoto lens.
Here's Jeff and me doing the time-honored shirt-tail cutting ceremony. You can see the grin will take a while to fade from Jeff's face.