Exercise 16: First solo flight



In this lesson, the student will fly their first solo flight in the circuit without the assistance of the instructor on board.




  1. The testing instructor must ensure that the solo student has met all pre-solo flight training requirements and that the student is proficient and comfortable with all emergency procedures, the identification and indication of such, as well as the corrective recovery action or response (I.e. Dynamic roll over recovery) An entry to this effect must be made in his/her training file.
  2. The testing instructor must ensure that the solo student has the following in his/her training file.
    • Medical
    • Radio License
    • Internal Law exam
    • Block Quiz 1
    • Circuit procedures test
    • R22 Technical test
    • Student pilot license
  3. The student must be thoroughly briefed by the testing instructor on all ATC variables and specifics of the circuit in which the solo flight will be commenced.
  4. The solo flight check shall include the following:
    • Coordination and correct use of controls during all phases of flight
    • The ability to fly an academic circuit, as well as to adapt to any ATC variables
    • Confidence on the radio, as well as an awareness of other traffic.
    • She/he must be consistently safe with takeoff and landing. The take off should be straight up without the tendency to move backwards or sideways during the “unstick” phase
    • The students transition from the hover must be achieved without the need to use excessive amounts of power to maintain an aggressive nose low attitude below rotation speed (40kts)
    • Transitioning to the hover, the student must correctly manage ROD as the helicopter starts to decelerate through 40Kts, as well as show a high degree of tail rotor awareness. She/he may not raise the nose past the maximum safe nose up attitude, and a safe hover height must always be maintained.
    • The student must also be aware of the go-around procedure, and not feel pressured to have to land an approach they’re not comfortable with.
    • The maximum wind strength for solo flight is 15kts, and flight shall not be permitted beyond this.
  5. If the student complies with the solo criteria, the instructor may send the student on his/her first solo flight. Ensure to remind the student of the following before exiting the aircraft:
    • Anticipate the change of attitude – nose high
    • The helicopter will leave the ground at a much lower power setting. When you feel the helicopter is light on the skids, it’s your cue to keep your eyes outside. Don’t be taken by surprise.
    • The helicopter will go through transition a lot quicker and will take a greater distance to stop when coming back to land
    • Instruct the student to look at your hand signals, and to only do a lift off and touch down when signaling to do so.
    • Once satisfied that the lift off and touch down were safe, send the student on his/her first solo circuit.
    • If the circuit was flown satisfactory, send the student on a second circuit.
  6. Get back into the helicopter after the second circuit, and return to base.


NOTE: The testing instructor must monitor all circuits visually and by means of two-way radio.




At the completion of this exercise the student must be able to safely and confidently fly a solo circuit. They will be fully proficient and accustomed to the radio procedures and geometry of the circuit pattern. They will be able to assert safe decision-making with respect to the circuit environment and other circuit traffic. The student will become familiar with solo flight entries in the authorization sheet and their logbooks.




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