One last thing before going to bed. I would be remiss in my reputation as a perveyor of date-related facts, if I didn’t point out that 7 years ago today, September 21, 1999 I did my first solo flight ever–in a Cessna 152:

[From my diary, 9/21/1999]: Solo! I did it. I flew a plane by myself (while Pete [my instructor] sat on a bench and watched) and did a total of 5 takeoffs and landings. It was absolutely incredible. I have been waiting for this ever since I was a little boy and it was well worth the wait. I’m elated. It still hasn’t hit me.

I still have my “shirt tail” from that day, a tradition committed against student pilots who complete their first solo flight whereby the instructor rips off your shirt tail and decorates it to commemorate the flight.