Wanted: Photos of your shirt tail being cut after your first solo

As part of our upcoming Learn to Fly issue, we’re looking for photos from readers of the celebrations following their first solo and the cutting of their shirt tails. Send them to janice@generalaviationnews.com


  1. Glenn Darr says

    My solo came at 42 years of age. It took me 24 hours to solo, and at times I thought that I was too old to catch on. I did my PPL checkride after 109hours of training. Things worked out ok, and I have been and aircraft owner for 23 years.

  2. Jan Johnson says

    Michael – I too did not get my shirttail snipped. I didn’t know about the tradition at the time, so it didn’t mean anything. But later, I felt slighted that my CFI didn’t believe in it. He didn’t even give me a pin!

    I recently witnessed a 16 year old boy solo on his birthday and get his shirttail cut and it was an unforgettable experience for everyone. Maybe when I solo my 1952 Cessna 195, I’ll ask my CFI to cut away!

  3. Michael Dean says

    I actually didn’t get my shirt tail docked. But my instructor did give me a small, gold, airplane lapel pin with the words ‘First Solo’ on the wings. Did I get slighted, or what?

    • Gary Hockensmith says

      The pin was a nice touch Michael but sorry, it is a long established tradition on first solo to have your shirt tail cut off by your instructor.

    • Bob McBride says

      Picture forwarded of this most memorable event. After 35 years in the commercial banking world I took retirement to a higher level attending ground school, taking flight lessons and soloing this Fall at the age of 72 at Eastern Slopes Regional Airport ( IZG ) in Fryeburg, Maine. My deepest thanks to FBO Mary Build and her outstanding instructors who encouraged me not to give up when I felt I might be past the age of learning a new trick. What a journey!

      • Ray Klein says

        Mr. McBride, This morning I was feeling “old” but no longer. I soloed at 48 and entertained irrational thoughts that I may be too “advanced” for this also. I would have missed the most enriching experience of my life had I given up. Your story is truly inspiring. I plan to instuct with my flying club ASAP and fly as long as my medical holds out. Blue skies my friend. RAY.

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