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9 Tips For Your Next Solo Flight

UND Aerospace sponsored this story. Check out the full series here. And, if you're ready to start your aviation career, learn more about UND Aerospace.

There's nothing quite like silently flying solo after dozens of training flights or flights with passengers. Remember these tips to make flying solo easy and safe...

Not everything here is appropriate for solo student pilots. Remember, you can't carry passengers until you have your private certificate!

1) Set Up Your "Nest"

The most important thing about flying solo is having the cockpit set up and ready the way you like it before you start the engine. If you don't have passengers or crew to hand you something from another seat, you'll need to make sure it's within reach.


2) Keep Yourself Alert

If there's no one with you in the plane, especially at night, find ways to keep yourself awake and alert. Try practicing emergency checklists, or get flight following with ATC so you're talking to somebody.


3) Don't Skip Briefings

Just because there aren't passengers onboard doesn't mean you should skip a briefing, especially those for critical phases of flight. Always have a backup plan in mind in case things don't go well. Ask yourself "what will I do if ____?"


4) Don't Skip Checklists

Like briefings, skipping checklists is a bad idea, especially when flying solo. With no second pair of eyes in the seat next to you, there's no one to catch your mistakes.

Swayne Martin

5) Practice Something You Know You Need To Improve

Flying solo is a great time to practice things that you otherwise wouldn't do with passengers onboard. Practice short field and soft field landing and takeoff technique, Vx climbs, maneuvers, stalls, etc. It'll keep you proficient, all without making your next set of passengers sick in the back seat.


6) Get Your Currency Done

If you're at risk of passenger-carrying currency expiring, make sure to get your required takeoffs and landings complete.

7) Practice Your Full Scan - There's No Second Pair Of Eyes

With no one next to you in the cockpit, it's even more important to ensure you're maintaining a complete scan of interior instrumentation and exterior visual cues.


8) Don't Get Distracted

It's up to you to stay clear of clouds, know what airspace you're in, and see and avoid traffic. Enjoy your flight, but stay ahead of the airplane.


9) Fly Safe

You may not have a pilot or passenger sitting next to you, but you need to fly every bit as safe as you do when there's someone in the other seat.


Ready to put your flying career in motion? Whether you want to start your aviation career, or you just have a few questions about learning to fly, get in touch with the UND Aerospace team today.

Swayne Martin

Swayne is an editor at Boldmethod, certified flight instructor, and an Embraer 145 First Officer for a regional airline. He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota in 2018, holds a PIC Type Rating for Cessna Citation Jets (CE-525), and is a former pilot for Mokulele Airlines. He's the author of articles, quizzes and lists on Boldmethod every week. You can reach Swayne at, and follow his flying adventures on his YouTube Channel.

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