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My First Solo - Pedro Furnas

Date: 13 September 2018

Hi I’m Pedro, a cadet pilot at L3’s European Airline Academy in Portugal and I wanted to share one of the most special moments in my life - my first solo flight.

I’ve always had the dream and the will of becoming a pilot and I’m a big believer that if you want something enough and you work hard enough for it, you can achieve it. I’ve always been fascinated and in love with the big metal birds flying high in the sky. I remember every time I was going to travel by plane I wouldn’t be able to sleep the night before because I was so excited. For me, this feeling meant it was much more than just a dream, I felt like I needed to be a pilot to feel happy and fulfilled.

Prior to flying you have to go through intensive months of theory and exams – but, honestly, I found them to be some of the best eight months of my life! To have the chance to learn about something you’re passionate about is priceless. Of course you have to be the best version of yourself and give 200% during Ground School, but believe me it’s worth it!


August 1st 2018, the big day arrived. After 10 flights with an instructor, the moment that everybody awaits, my first solo flight. It was a moment I’ll never forget. I woke up at 05:30 even though the briefing wasn’t until 09:00, I was so excited I couldn’t sleep. I arrived at the school at 07:00 and started planning the flight, doing everything carefully so nothing would fail in the big moment. Everything was prepared and I was more than ready for it.

All of a sudden it was 9 o’clock, time to meet my instructor, he was a very funny guy, but also very professional and responsible, I’ll never forget him. After the briefing I went to the plane to prepare it for the flight as always (refuel, walk around to inspect the structure of the airplane, etc.) and it couldn’t be better. The moment was near and it was time to enter the aircraft and wait for the instructor. Just before our first solo flight we do one hour of circuits with an instructor to check we are capable of flying the aircraft all by ourselves, and then he leaves the plane and we go to the air by ourselves to perform one circuit. The instructor arrived, double checked if everything was ok and it was time to start the flight. Doors closed, seatbelts fastened, all set to go. During the circuits we simulated some emergencies to check how I would react to them, everything went perfect and the instructor said “make a full stop landing, your time is now!” What a feeling, I felt the adrenaline through all my body! We landed and the instructor said “It’s your moment, I’ll leave the plane and you’ll be alone for the first time, do everything by the book and enjoy this unique moment, you were born for this Azorean guy!” and that was it, I was alone inside the plane for the first time and I was going to fly.



What an amazing feeling, inexplicable, just me and the machine, such a perfect moment. Went to runway and lined up, full throttle and after a few seconds I was airborne, it’s impossible to explain it, you have to feel it, it’s the best feeling in the world! I really can’t describe it, it’s a very special moment when you’re doing what you love, and it passes in a blink of an eye. After landing I parked the aircraft and I had a couple of people waiting for me to give me a traditional post first flight shower. It was for sure a magical day and I’m so thankful for having this opportunity, I’m so proud of myself for how hard I’ve worked and being able to reach this point. I’m doing what I love, and that’s what really matters. Never give up on your dreams, nothing is impossible.


Wishing you all a magical flight.