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Old 03-03-2012, 02:45 PM   #1  
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Default Solo flying with student pilot cert.

Hey guys I have a quick question for ya:

In order for me to fly solo, is my instructor required to be at the airport while I am flying?

I own my own plane and there is no provision in my insurance policy about that.

It lists no such restriction in the FAR's and from what I have read it looks like I after i recieve the proper training and endorsements I am only limited by these restrictions:

(l) Limitations on student pilots operating an aircraft in solo flight. A student pilot may not operate an aircraft in solo flight unless that student pilot has received:
(1) An endorsement from an authorized instructor on his or her student pilot certificate for the specific make and model aircraft to be flown; and
(2) An endorsement in the student's logbook for the specific make and model aircraft to be flown by an authorized instructor, who gave the training within the 90 days preceding the date of the flight.
(m) Limitations on student pilots operating an aircraft in solo flight at night. A student pilot may not operate an aircraft in solo flight at night unless that student pilot has received:
(1) Flight training at night on night flying procedures that includes takeoffs, approaches, landings, and go-arounds at night at the airport where the solo flight will be conducted;
(2) Navigation training at night in the vicinity of the airport where the solo flight will be conducted; and
(3) An endorsement in the student's logbook for the specific make and model aircraft to be flown for night solo flight by an authorized instructor who gave the training within the 90-day period preceding the date of the flight.

What do you guys think?
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Old 03-03-2012, 03:07 PM   #2  
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When I sign off students for their first solo, I usually jump out of the airplane and watch them do their first 3 landings. It's more of a motivational thing, than anything else. I want to see the look on their faces when they successfully complete their first solo. It's rewarding as a CFI.

When I was a new flight instructor, I only allowed my students to solo IF I was at the airport. I wanted to check the METARs, TAFs, radar and look outside, just to be sure that it was safe for them to go. It's not that I didn't trust my students, I didn't trust their experience level.

Now after 2000 hours as a CFI, after the first solo, I only ask my students to text me before they go up, and text me after they land. This is not required by any regulations, but it's just something that I do... to prevent some random phone call from my Chief Flight Instructor or the flight school owner, or the tower. IN CASE anything happens, at least I know who was flying, since I have multiple pre-private students with solo endorsements.

To answer your question - No, your instructor is not required to be at the airport as per regulations, however, IF your Flight Instructor only wants you to solo while he/she is at the airport, then it's his/her prerogative. I understand that this may not be in the regulations, but when it's the CFIs signature on the line, he/she gets to make the rules regarding crosswind components, ceilings, etc. Your instructor may not be comfortable letting you solo unless he is at the airport to check the weather conditions himself. Since it is his ticket on the line when you solo, as a student, you should respect what he is or is not comfortable with. If you can't, then your option is to find another CFI to sign you off to solo.
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Old 03-03-2012, 03:20 PM   #3  
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Hey thanks for the reply.

That answered my question exactly. I am good friends with my instructor and hopefully he knows me well enough to trust my judgement and will let me fly when he is not around!
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Old 03-03-2012, 03:23 PM   #4  
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61.89 prohibits a student pilot from acting as PIC "In a manner contrary to any limitations placed in the pilot's logbook by an authorized instructor." Your instructor can place additional restrictions on your solo endorsement, although it's probably rare. If your instructor wants to put you on a leash, he or she can!

Suggestion: Follow Gajre's advice and keep an open dialog with the instructor who endorsed your solo privileges. It's wise to talk to your CFI and apply a "sanity check" to your flying plans as you gain more experience. Enjoy!

Last edited by OSAVIP; 03-03-2012 at 03:26 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 03-03-2012, 03:25 PM   #5  
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Most folks will be "around," but not required. I liked to be available just in case.
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Old 03-03-2012, 04:12 PM   #6  
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Class B needs an instructor's endorsement/training. I've also seen other airports prohibit T/Go landings by students - so make sure to check the AF/D as well. I think CHS due to the BAK-9 arresting equipment, for example.

Have Fun!

My CFI did the same thing Gajre539 did for my solo - just hopped out at the end of the runway and watched me do my 3 T/Go's. On my second approach he was taking a leak. The joys of non-towered, rural airports.
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Old 03-03-2012, 06:44 PM   #7  
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Well good deal!

I am curious because my instructor moved 6hrs away the weekend I got my medical, after working with me for the last year while I waited on it. I was hoping that while he is gone I would be able to fly on a nice day and not be breaking the law. I have not talked with him about it yet but I dont see any reason why he would not let me.
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Old 03-03-2012, 07:06 PM   #8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 120PC View Post
Well good deal!

I am curious because my instructor moved 6hrs away the weekend I got my medical, after working with me for the last year while I waited on it. I was hoping that while he is gone I would be able to fly on a nice day and not be breaking the law. I have not talked with him about it yet but I dont see any reason why he would not let me.
Don't forget that your solo endorsement is valid for 90 days ONLY.

14 CFR 61.87 state:
(n) Limitations on student pilots operating an aircraft in solo flight. A student pilot may not operate an aircraft in solo flight unless that student pilot has received:
(1) An endorsement from an authorized instructor on his or her student pilot certificate for the specific make and model aircraft to be flown; and
(2) An endorsement in the student's logbook for the specific make and model aircraft to be flown by an authorized instructor, who gave the training within the 90 days preceding the date of the flight.

When the endorsement of a student expires, I don't give them another 90-day endorsement unless I fly with them first. Personally, if I was your flight instructor and moved away, I wouldn't want the liability.

You'll will need to have your instructor review your flight plan for cross-country flights, not to mention give you training before your checkride, so it might be in your best interest to find another CFI who can work with you to finish your training.
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Old 03-03-2012, 10:09 PM   #9  
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It's not required, but I tell my students to let me know when they want to solo so I can double check weather, NOTAMS and TFRs. It's really easy for a 25 hour pilot to overlook something important. It's best to at least send your instructor a text and let him know what you're doing. I definitely appreciate that as an instructor.
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Old 03-04-2012, 02:42 AM   #10  
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My instructor gave me wide latitude for about a year (he was gone a lot and I needed to practice on my own so as to not regress). But we were military buds.

For me it would all depend on the student, how much I trusted his judgement. But if you have sufficient concerns to give additional limitations, do it in writing on his endorsement.
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