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Orville Wright's First Solo vs. Your First Solo

Orville's first solo powered flight was 112 years ago today. But how does his flight compare to yours?

1) Orville's first flight was 112 years ago. Yours was...not quite that long ago.


2) Orville's flight spanned 120 feet, and lasted for 12 seconds. Your flight was three trips around the pattern. And a lot more feet. And seconds.

3) Orville didn't get a solo sign off, but there were a lot of nervous people watching. Your instructor signed you off, and even though they wouldn't admit it, they were pretty nervous too.


4) Orville and Wilbur crashed their plane...multiple times. If you did that, you'd be having a not-so-pleasant conversation with the FAA.


5) Orville got to a max speed of 6.8 miles per hour on his first flight. If you got that slow, your solo wouldn't have ended well...

6) Orville's max altitude? 10 feet AGL. Yours? Pattern altitude. Hopefully.


7) The FAA didn't exist to give Orville his pilot certificate, but he did manage to get his face on yours.


Ok, enough about Orville's solo, now let's hear about your first solo in the comments!

Colin Cutler

Colin is a Boldmethod co-founder, pilot and graphic artist. He's been a flight instructor at the University of North Dakota, an airline pilot on the CRJ-200, and has directed development of numerous commercial and military training systems. You can reach him at

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