Lindbergh Deemed Ready to Solo after 8 Hours of Instruction

Posted by: Kelley Welf

Tagged in: Tourabout , Tourabout , solo flight , Lindbergh

Kelley Welf

The answer to last week’s trivia question is:  8 hours.

Over the course of two months, Lindbergh obtained about 8 hours of flying instruction in the "Tourabout" with I.O. Biffle (Biff) who was his only instructor.  There was no ground school connected to the flying course he obtained at Nebraska Aircraft Corporation.  Instead, he worked around the factory to learn the ins and outs of airplanes.

Most of Lindbergh’s instructional flying was done in the early morning or late evening due to the strong mid-day winds in Nebraska.  Although Biff declared Lindbergh ready to solo after 8 hours of flight time, Lindbergh could not pay the bond, which the company required, in case he wrecked the plane, which was to be sold.  Lindbergh spent the next few months Barnstorming, then returned to Lincoln where he obtained two more hours of instruction in another plane.  But, he had not soloed before he purchased his “Jenny,” a fact that no one on the field in Americus, Georgia, knew.  He also had not been in a plane for six months before his first attempt. 

“The first solo flight is one of the events in a pilot’s life which forever remains impressed upon his memory.  It is the culmination of difficult hours of instruction, hard weeks of training and often years of anticipation.  To be absolutely alone for the first time in the cockpit of a plane, hundreds of feet above the ground is an experience never to be forgotten.“ Lindbergh wrote in his book, We.


What are your memories or experiences from your first solo flight?