by Chase Kocken

Leading up to my solo on July 18th, my nerves were running high. I was scheduled to fly at 3 pm and having nothing planned earlier in the day, all I could think about was my solo yet to happen. I always knew I was ready but that didn’t stop me from overthinking and preparing ahead of time. The one thing I had to ease my mind was the gorgeous weather. I was going to have a small audience with my parents, but unexpectedly, a lot more people showed up to see me (no pressure, right?). I ended up doing 5 laps in the pattern, using runway 9, before I got the green light to continue on alone. My landings progressively got better with each lap until my instructor, Beth Rehm, was ready to step out. When she did, I was so focused and in the moment that flying alone never felt much different. I flew 3 more laps in the pattern and had some of the best landings of my flight training to that point! I would like to thank my instructors Beth Rehm, Emmet Wilkening, and Josh Cramer for helping me get to this point.