Brian Jones – Solo Milestone

Brian Jones – Solo Milestone

Congratulations to Brian Jones, EAA 1216827, who completed his first solo April 9 in a Cessna 172 in Yakima, Washington. Brian grew up fascinated by aviation after reading Thunderbolt! by Robert Johnson as a young boy. His love for aviation grew when his then-coworker Hal Bryan, a private pilot who is now senior editor for EAA’s publications, would take him along as a passenger on the occasional flying adventure. As with many people though, life got in the way and the thought of learning to fly was put on hold. Then, at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016, Brian ran into his old friend Hal and decided it was time to learn to fly.

The day of his solo Brian said he first did a few touch and goes before being instructed to drop off his CFI at the airport’s flight center.

“With the encouraging parting words from him of, ‘Don’t screw it up,’ I proceeded to taxi to the run up area,” he said. “I’m glad I had nobody recording me in the plane, because I’m sure I sounded like a crazy person talking to myself, saying all the things my CFI would have probably been saying about throttle, flaps, pattern altitude, centering the ball, etc., as I turned crosswind, downwind, base, and onto final. As I approached my first landing solo I was nervous and excited at the same time, and I may have let out a small woohoo when the mains touched first and then the nose wheel gently kissed the runway (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it).”

After his last solo takeoff and landing of the day, Brian learned for the first time about the pilots’ tradition of having the shirttails “maimed” after soloing.

“It was a very nice shirt, but I love how it looks now,” he said.

Congratulations again, Brian, on your solo, and good luck as you continue on toward your private certificate!

Have you reached a milestone recently? Passed a checkride, given your first or hundredth Young Eagle flight, flown your homebuilt for the first time? Tell us about it at

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Megan, EAA 1171719, is EAA’s staff writer, regularly contributing to both print and digital publications. She’s an aspiring pilot, a passionate aviation enthusiast, and an avid learner of just about everything. E-mail Megan at