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Average hours to first solo

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Average hours to first solo

Old 22nd Feb 2009, 04:47
  #41 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: The 'Bat Cave' @ HLP in the Big Durian Indo
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At age 23 about 4 hrs to go solo in a glider (aero tug and intensive 7 day course) then with about 35 hrs of glider time 8.6 hrs dual before solo in a C172 with most of it being circuits. Age 24 and flew everyday for 5 days.

Memories of my first glider solo was looking into the rear of the cockpit on downwind to see if I was really alone , I felt like I did once when I was a little kid having climbed a really big tree and now I had to get myself down in one piece ...

The GOOD thing about spreading out your lessons and taking your time is you get lots of exposure to different conditions in different seasons.

Nothing wrong with training until you are really ready but 20yrs ago it was definitely a competition for me and the other students.

I saw other students who never went solo and just gave up as they couldn't convince themselves or their instructors that they could do it , they could fly but lacked confidence for whatever reason to go solo and would occasionally do something stupid to spook the instructor, probably saved their lives .
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Old 22nd Feb 2009, 09:30
  #42 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Chandler, Arizona
Posts: 183
I don't know if this has been mentioned before but there does appear to be some stigma attached to 'hours to solo' but once he/she has their license, it's look how many hours I have!

I am 36yrs old with 31hours. The 31hours are spread over 10years! (19 in the last 12months).

I could have gone solo in the last 8hours but I put my medical off because of my weight - I passed the medical last year but then my job took me abroad. Only 2hrs flown since my medical.

Time off later this year to get my license. I plan to solo by 40 and complete my license by 65 (that is hours and not age btw!!).

Does 65 hours bother me? No it's 65hours experience - okay it's cost me more money, but that's all.
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Old 22nd Feb 2009, 12:28
  #43 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Back in the real world
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If going solo in just a few hours meant anything CAA would give you a medal with a special entry on your license (and charge you for it), your instructor would fill out some sort of certificate for you and of course no one would ever let you forget and you could wear that ribbon on your chest with pride.

In the real world a low hours first solo gives no indication as to the quality of the final product - i.e. a party bore with a pilots license that can't help telling you about it. The really interesting stories are always from pilots who overcame some personal or other difficulty to achieve what they have.

On that note maybe there should be a topic "how long it took me to go solo and why", rather than having another pointless willy waving session.
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Old 22nd Feb 2009, 13:37
  #44 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2007
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Now, Nibbler, let's also remember that a short time to first solo does not mean someone is a bad person...

The question is repeatedly asked and thus repeatedly answered... So what? No need to get too terribly upset by someone going solo in 8 hours and, when asked, confessing to it...

18 hours here btw, FWIW, spread out over a year and a half... Not the ideal way of doing it, but it works!
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Old 22nd Feb 2009, 19:32
  #45 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2009
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On that note maybe there should be a topic "how long it took me to go solo and why", rather than having another pointless willy waving session.
I think that sounds like a great and interesting idea actually.
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Old 23rd Feb 2009, 09:14
  #46 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2008
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7 hours on the dot @ 17 years. My mother had to drive me to the airport lol. For some reason she wouldn't come with on my hours building solo from Moorabbin to Uluru.
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Old 23rd Feb 2009, 09:44
  #47 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: North Cornwall
Age: 69
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I was one of the lucky ones who got a flying scholarship back in the 60's. So a residential course at Carlisle got me to first solo in 8hrs 15 mins over 8 days. The gov't only paid for first 30 hrs, so I returned some 7 mths later for the remaining 10hrs to PPL. IMHO the total immersion environment worked well for me.
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Old 23rd Feb 2009, 09:59
  #48 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2002
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11 Hours as a 16 year old who didn't know his a*** from his elbow! Learn't to fly before I learn't to shave!!
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Old 23rd Feb 2009, 19:31
  #49 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Age: 43
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So far I have just done 9 hours since I started to fly 2 months ago and my instructor said I will be ready after my next lesson to solo. I have an excellent instructor which makes a big difference. I firmly believe you are only as good as your instructor. If I make a mistake I'm told to do it again and again until I get it right! Its all about good airmanship which you get taught alongside good habits.
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Old 23rd Feb 2009, 21:14
  #50 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: West Coast Canada
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As an instructor the spread for all my students was 4.6 hrs to 24 hrs

The 4.6 hrs was a 17 yr old who had about 600 unofficial hours on his fathers
Supercub, Cessna 185, and DH Beaver (all on wheel, skis, and floats).

The 24 hrs was a middle aged housewife. She was ready to go earlier but just did not have the personal confidence. One day after a good flight she turned to me and said " I'm ready " so I got out of the airplane and sent her on her way.
Big Pistons Forever is online now  
Old 25th Feb 2009, 09:52
  #51 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: london
Posts: 565
I went solo in 6 hours!! Ok I had had 10 hours dual ten years before in the UAS, but that had nowt to do with it..Honest!!!!!
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Old 25th Feb 2009, 10:32
  #52 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: YLIL
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Late starter with 11.4 hours in the book and still a long way to go to solo despite great instructor.

But hell, I'm having fecking heaps of fun - and that's why I started out in the first place. So who cares .......
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Old 25th Feb 2009, 12:59
  #53 (permalink)  
Pompey till I die
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First milestones

Funny, as you are learning the "first solo" is all you can think about but as I look back now with my 90 hours (yeah, still very inexperienced tyro) the first solo is not the begin all and end all. What about:

Hours to:

1. First Solo
2. First Solo Nav
3. QXC
4. GST
5. First international flight
6. First flight in another country (i.e. not flying from home base to abroad)
7. Managing to scare yourself sh*tless
8. Finding something in the nick of time that was VERY dangerous (fuel in water, wrong pressure setting on altimeter, realising you've got the wrong airfield etc)
9. becoming lost for the first time (luckily still not had that yet although I've been sure of position to varying degrees over the hours)
10. Flying with somebody else and being less than sure of their flying ability.
11. Posting something on PPRuNe that generally receives a positive response
12. Allowing somebody else control for a few minutes (still not done that one, nobody I fly with wants to touch the controls even if I were willing).

Whilst I can remember every second of my first solo like it happened 5 mins ago, there are so many milestones in aviation. Some much more interesting, some down right more terrifying.
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Old 25th Feb 2009, 13:43
  #54 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Boston
Age: 69
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I know nobody will believe this, but I soloed at 1.5 hours. It's a long story, but suffice it to say I found myself five hundred feet up in the air with no clue about what made an airplane fly. The final result was not pleasant, but I survived.

My instructor had a complete brain fade at my expense.
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Old 25th Feb 2009, 14:36
  #55 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Essex
Posts: 128

1. First Solo
2. First Solo Nav
3. QXC
4. GST
5. First international flight
6. First flight in another country (i.e. not flying from home base to abroad)
7. Managing to scare yourself sh*tless
In my experience, number 7 is not necessarily six steps after number 1
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Old 25th Feb 2009, 17:39
  #56 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 585
Took me 18.5 hours to solo; I flew the first 18 hours over 2 weeks and for some reason just wasn't judging the landing correctly, took a week off, then suddenly and strangely landing seemed to make sense to me.

Passed my PPL first time in 47.8 hours, so it can't have been that bad.(although if anyone saw my landing at Beverley today would probably argue otherwise!)
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Old 1st Mar 2009, 10:27
  #57 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2007
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This thread has got a whole lot better recently! Some funny and interesting stories at last .

bjornhall - you are of course quite right I was perhaps being a bit general there!

For myself 8.4 hours but then I had a fairly intensive run at it and I'd flown a glider solo at 16. I think it's all about confidence and your instructors confidence in you and there are many factors which can turn under 10 to over 20 for most people.
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Old 16th Mar 2009, 17:38
  #58 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: A post-punk postcard fair
Posts: 949
Managed a first solo today, quite a bit over the average though. Still a long way to go
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Old 17th Mar 2009, 07:16
  #59 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: North Cornwall
Age: 69
Posts: 425
Congratulations, great feeling isn't it? I still remember how long that ten mins felt - shirt was a tad damp too.....
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Old 17th Mar 2009, 07:50
  #60 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: france
Posts: 54
I seem to remember sending a natural ace RAF flying scholorship cadet off on his first solo and discovering afterwards he had only done 3 hours 15 minutes.Stapleford Flying Club summer 84.I think his name was Hitchcock.A nice chap and a pleasure to teach.I suspect he did well in the airforce.Any one know of his whereabouts ?
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