This month in solos: July 2012

The 24-hour news cycle is a blessing and a curse for general aviation. A curse, because now anybody who has ever had a gear-up, an emergency landing, or even a “hard landing” is likely to find themselves the subject of breathless-bordering-on-sensational coverage. A blessing, because the happy events of general aviation–like solos and certificates–are now finding their way into the mainstream media more often. From time to time we’ll post the good stories so that we, too, can celebrate the successes. Congratulations to all!

  • Ashley Peniston of Chillicothe, Missouri, soloed a Cessna 172 on July 17. According to the Chillicothe News, Ashley was the first female to solo at Chillicothe Municipal Airport since 2000. (!) She did get her shirt-tail cut (there’s a great photo with her instructor, Mike Langwell). Note to the Constitution-Tribune: It’s yoke, not “yolk.” Ashley and her husband, Bob, are both pilots. Bob soloed on Feb. 25.
  • CAP Cadets Matthew Angelo and Jack Nordell soloed in July. Both are from Canon City, N.M. According to the Pueblo Chieftain, Angelo flew at Fort Pickett, Va., and Nordell flew at Shawnee, Okla. A photo shows the cadets in CAP uniform, holding their cut shirt tails.
  • Robert Pinksten of Nashua, N.H., soloed a helicopter on July 2. The Nashua Telegraph was quick to crown Robert “Youngest in New England to Pilot Helicopter Solo,” but we’re also happy to give Robert his props, since you don’t see teens soloing helicopters every day. We also love it when media solemnly inform readers that the soloing youngster will be flying an aircraft before he is driving a car. —Jill W. Tallman

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  • Mike Herrera

    I am near solo in my flight training and I have a question. I know that you may not land at another airport after you solo unless you have been endorsed by your FI but when you do get the endorcment for another airport am I able to land and shut down for a brief time and then return to my airport of instruction?

  • Jill Tallman

    Hi Mike, and good luck on your upcoming solo! As far as your endorsement to fly to another airport, you should be fine to stop at the airport and shut down. I’d review hot-start procedures in the pilot’s operating handbook if you plan to do that.–Jill

  • Randall

    Hi Jill,

    Hey, here’s another question for you. I’m coming up to solo soon. My POH checklists (172M, 1971) seem really inadequate for pre-flight. For example, there’s no idle check, no wing sump check, no brake check, to cite a few.

    But I’m required by the FAA to use those checklists, right? One solution is doing the checklist and adding in the extra steps myself, maybe?


  • jtallman

    Hi Randall,
    The checklists for older aircraft are a lot shorter than the ones we see for more modern airplanes. That said, there’s no reason you can’t make your own checklist (using the POH as your starting point) and customizing it to include the things you mention. Show it to your flight instructor before you start using it. He or she might have some additional suggestions. –Jill