Flight instructors are responsible for deciding when student pilots make their first solo flights. While these decisions are complex and challenging, little detailed guidance has been developed. This study aimed to articulate the elements of competence that experienced flight instructors focused on and assessed when making the decision to send student pilots on their first solo training flights. Participants were 30 Recreational Aviation Australia (RA-Aus) senior and chief flying instructors. A qualitative design was used to explore participants reflections on the elements of competency and behavioral markers they assess. The key themes identified from the thematic analyses fit well within the PAVE hazard checklist, which provides a framework for hazard awareness and management. The results of this study include a preliminary framework of specific competencies that flight instructors can assess as part of their decision making. Future research could lead to development of a checklist or scale that would further support flight instructors' decision making.