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How many circuits before solo?

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How many circuits before solo?

Old 20th Aug 2008, 15:59
  #1 (permalink)  
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How many circuits before solo?

I appreciate this is a bit like asking how long's a piece of string and related to student aptitude, conditions, sequence of training etc, but just to get a feel, how many circuits did you perform once you started the exercise before you went solo?
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Old 20th Aug 2008, 16:13
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A lot, over several hours!
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Old 20th Aug 2008, 16:18
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Perhaps a better question is how many landings without your instructor haviing to correct or comment before you go solo ?
If he/she is smiling when leaving your aircraft then it won't be many. On the other hand if it is a serious expression then you might expect a few more.
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Old 20th Aug 2008, 16:31
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I've been trying to remember this recently (being too lazy to check my logbook!). I would say, ballpark figures, maybe 10hrs in the circuit before first solo, on average (excluding go-arounds, orbits, etc...) about 6 circuits per hour. So that's 60 circuits.
I'm prepared to be corrected, but this seems reasonable to me.
But as has been said, it's all about quality, not quantity. I'm going through it all again at the moment doing a tailwheel conversion and I've prepared myself for an indefinate number of circuits! On any given circuit I'm getting at least one thing wrong, nearly always including the landing. As a result I'm getting comments from my instructor on a regular basis (though only one major correction so far!) and so I accept that soloing is a way off yet.
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Old 20th Aug 2008, 16:39
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Pompey till I die
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I'm prepared to be corrected
Don't worry. On this website, you can be pretty much garaunteed of that in record time.
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Old 20th Aug 2008, 16:44
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Can't remember exactly but around 18 hrs total flying before solo.
There's no rush,so enjoy it.

There are a few pratts on this forum but I imagine there are on other ones.
There are also a vast number of experienced ones here ,that give us all valuable advice!
It might pay you to look at an old thread called Zero to 45 by Mazzy.
I'm sure that's not the right name but someone will post it here.
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Old 20th Aug 2008, 17:18
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That really varies a lot... From when I started doing the pattern in earnest I needed four dual lessons before soloing, 26 circuits all in all. But then I already had 13 hours and 25 landings when I started the pattern excercises... I have seen many people at my school needing much more than that (and ending up successfully obtaining their PPL!), and a few who needed way less...
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Old 20th Aug 2008, 19:29
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Upwards of five hours in the circuit, at 6/hr, so 30 minimum.
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Old 20th Aug 2008, 19:37
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enough to go solo.....
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Old 20th Aug 2008, 20:05
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Oh Shazbat!
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Lots of circuits over about 17 or 18 hours. Partly due to weather, I got a lot of experience of various conditions, and partly due to my ineptitude.

From that I would agree with Lister and say don't be in too much of a rush. Make the most of the different conditions and the fact you get to experience them with the instuctor.
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Old 20th Aug 2008, 22:11
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Hmm .. complicated?

I suppose if everything always goes to plan it might take forever! I met all sorts of situations at the busy airfield I trained at, and I wasn't ready until I felt that I knew pretty well how to deal with anything that might arise.

And once you have gone solo, guess what you will almost certainly do for the next few lessons. In my case it was, of course, lots more circuits. Going solo just meant a better rate of climb (which changed the routine a bit), a better view out to the right, space to put things, and nobody to remind me about the things I might forget.

Oh - and counting my own touch-and-goes.

And I met a few new situations I hadn't seen with an instructor. I quite missed the company!
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Old 21st Aug 2008, 00:26
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This really is one of those "piece of string" questions, I have known students go solo at under 5 hours (very rare), I also took over a (not yet solo) student in my early days of instructing who already had over 50 hours and must have done at least 200 circuits, he had been recommended by at least 3 instructors to pack it in but continued because he enjoyed it, I took him out of the circuit and we just had some fun then did 3 circuits at the end of each detail, he finally went solo at about 60 hours having done probably another 10-15 circuits and eventually got his PPL.
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Old 21st Aug 2008, 01:49
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I did a lot in my 23 hours to solo. Some of those circuits were memorable (read that as bad, or near disasterous), which is the stuff good learning is made of.

I still do a lot. Especially while tugging gliders. A good approach and landing is still very rewarding. A bad one is still very humbling, helps keep the ego in check.

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Old 21st Aug 2008, 02:53
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Im gonna be 1 of those prats who correct people! haha!

Bjornhall, a Circuit is a circuit. A pattern is a maneuver carried out whilst being asked to hold position. Pattern is often a word commonly misused for circuits.

I soloed after 20 hrs, they say between 15 and 20 hrs usually.
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Old 21st Aug 2008, 04:34
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12 hours on a 150. Have 19,000 now. Still remember the early ones though.
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Old 21st Aug 2008, 04:38
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They say it 's about fifteen to twenty hours, but then again it also depends on your instructor. I had one instructor who was keen to let me go at about twelve because he was confident that I could fly but he retired [instructed for twenty years] before I got there . My next instructor was a lot less experienced and therefore less confident in his own decisions, so with him making the decision I went at seventeen hours.

I do however recommend saying ALL your checks out so the instructor can hear them, that way he/she will know that you know whats going on and let you up solo maybe a little earlier. Just enjoy it though
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Old 21st Aug 2008, 05:58
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It took me 2 hours and 30 minutes but I have to say that I was only 16 years old so you learn faster and I had done some glider flying.

On the other hand, I know one guy that recently needed 100 hours before getting solo.

In the Air Force where I instruct, the students get 10 hours of circuit training to get solo, if they fail they get 2 extra hours, if they fail that they are out. But before starting the circuit work they get 12 hours of general flying (SLF, climb, climb, descend, turns, stall clean, stal landing configuration, SLF in other configuration, range endurance, emergency descend, steep turns)

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Old 21st Aug 2008, 07:34
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Having checked my ancient logbook (Vol 1) I can report a total of 4.8 hrs of circuits before First Solo. At some 6-7 mins per circuit this comes to .. err .. umm .. say 45 ? Bit of a guess really.

Speaking as an (ex-)instructor, I would let them loose after they no longer scared me and demonstrated a sporting chance of return to earth without damage to anything or anyone and an appropriate level of self-confidence. This could be anything from a minimum of about 4 hours to one very determined, patient and eventually successful lady in her 60s at about 20 hours on the circuit.

I agree that, in general, the younger you are the quicker you will learn. But, cost aside, it is not a race so enjoy it. I loved doing circuits while learning and I still do after 30+ years flying.

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Old 21st Aug 2008, 07:54
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Till your instructors happy!!! could be a million hours or could be 5, he will know when your ready.

I got solo in 3hrs 40 mins from scratch which was an oddety I supose but I do like to bring it up where ever possiblelike the work I do for charrrritttyyyyyy.
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Old 21st Aug 2008, 08:03
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The original poster answered his own question, there are simply too many variables to provide a definitive estimate. Consider student aptitude, instructor experience and skill, the chemistry of an individual student/instructor relationship and the permutations are endless. An important factor, of course, is continuity of training. All else being equal, someone on a full-time course, flying most days will progress more quickly than the student who only flies occasionally. The important thing to remember is that time/number of circuits to solo has little bearing on the eventual competence of the licenced pilot who emerges from the training.
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