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Old 10th Dec 2008, 12:48   #1 (permalink)
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Average hours to first solo

As a former ppl holder who went solo around the 21 hour mark [as a part time student] I am keen to find out what the industry average might be, if indeed such a statistic exists. Or are there simply too many variables to make this a meaningful statistic?

thanks, shanwen
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Old 10th Dec 2008, 12:59   #2 (permalink)
 
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I would say the average is 15 hours with a standard deviation of 5 hours. Which basically means that most, but not all, do it after 10 to 20 hours.

This question has been asked before a number of times here. A lot of people posted their numbers plus any factors (prior gliding experience for instance) that may have influenced it. A search plus some statistical analysis might help narrow my guesstimates down.

But as others have said: once you've got that PPL, nobody cares anymore.
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Old 10th Dec 2008, 16:11   #3 (permalink)
 
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Well, I went solo after 7 hrs 50 mins.

I had a great instructor ( ex RAF ) who really put me at my ease.
On my very first flight he sat there with his arms crossed during my takeoff. No doubt he had his feet on the rudder without me noticing it, but he talked me through it and up we went.

I'll never forget that first dual flight. He made me feel relaxed and I trusted him totaly.

I did not expect to solo so soon but the fact that he trusted me and I trusted him resulted in a first solo that I will never forget.

John Hill, great pilot & instructor. Thanks John
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Old 10th Dec 2008, 16:17   #4 (permalink)
 
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9hrs ish...

Has little relevance though as there are so many variables that can affect how long it takes. Just enjoy yrself and dont worry to much about stats like that.

DPT
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Old 10th Dec 2008, 16:41   #5 (permalink)
 
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It was 8 hours for me (in a Tiger Moth at Perth).
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Old 10th Dec 2008, 16:42   #6 (permalink)
 
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Coldair,
My instructor was not ex RAF but he got his rating from an ex RAF guy.
Same thing. He had me land on my air experience flight. He had me hooked. I soloed at 9.45.
He was brilliant in the air but the briefings were minimal.
He was a part time PPL instructor.
DO.
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Old 10th Dec 2008, 17:29   #7 (permalink)
 
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7 hrs 40 mins but it is not very relevant as weather comes into play. Ie you maybe ready at 7 hrs then hit a bad period of weather. What do you do? sit on your back side going rusty? No you carry on gaining experience and keeping current until the conditions are good for you.

15 hrs is probably a good bench mark but not that relevant. There could be an arguement that you are sent solo when you are ready to do your solo cross countries and attach the lot together.

When I started flying I had a wife and young baby and no money. My ambition was to fly an aircraft on my own and then to drop the lot. 20 odd years later 4000 hrs and an ATP I often wonder what went wrong with that initial ambition

The more time and experience you build up the better as you have to be safer than aiming for a minimum hour to solo record.

Pace
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Old 10th Dec 2008, 18:06   #8 (permalink)
Red On, Green On
 
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Too many variables to make much of the first solo stats, really. Age, lesson frequency, instructor. Plus I suspect people may well solo later these days, as instructors perhaps are more cautious.
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Old 10th Dec 2008, 20:03   #9 (permalink)
 
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Went solo at 10hrs 15, was great at the time. Looking back I do wonder whether it's too soon. I was a non flyer previously. You wouldn't let someone drive a car alone after 10hrs instruction.
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Old 10th Dec 2008, 20:25   #10 (permalink)
 
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I was very lucky,
I did 3.8 over two years.. did nothing over four years (no money) then flew solo after 50 mins so just under 5 hours
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Old 10th Dec 2008, 20:38   #11 (permalink)
 
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What kind of an instructor would let a student with 4 hours flown go solo? A little bit more would be ok.. but 4?

Last edited by daria-ox; 10th Dec 2008 at 20:39. Reason: Spelling mistake
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Old 10th Dec 2008, 20:58   #12 (permalink)
 
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one whom is very confident of their students ability and is fully aware of their background in aviation
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Old 10th Dec 2008, 21:03   #13 (permalink)
 
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maybe, but after only 4, 10, 12 hours, how equipped are we to deal with anything which might go wrong? Would be interesting to know the accident stats for students first solo, maybe im getting too cautios in old age
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Old 10th Dec 2008, 21:23   #14 (permalink)
 
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The issue of after how many hours a stude goes solo is irrelevant. I was thirteen hours. I know some who were shorter and others who took longer, many of both groups who are better pilots than me.

In my experience, once you have your PPL and a few hours behind you, there is no correlation between hours before first solo and qualities as a pilot.

To those who are fretting about this issue - it is a complete and utter nonsense.

It is what is best for you. Even if you do not appreciate it, much of what you are learning whilst circuit bashing P/UT with a FI beside you, will be of benefit later.

The Wombat
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Old 11th Dec 2008, 08:26   #15 (permalink)

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48 hours fixed wing, 30-ish rotary (wasn't counting precisely by then).

There you are, now I've really messed up all those averages for you!

I also hope that makes a welcome interlude in yet another thread which looks set to go something like this: "I went solo in 5 hours"..."well, I did it in 3 hours, and I had bad weather too, and a broken leg"..."I did it in 2 hours way back when we flew open cockpit taildraggers and were also getting shot at on downwind"... "I did it in 0.7689 hours"....etc, etc, etc.

'Solo oneupmanship', I think they call it. They do now anyway.
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Old 11th Dec 2008, 08:41   #16 (permalink)
 
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Figures I've seen indicate about 10 hours as a base then add 1 hour per year of age from about 21 upwards.

ie if you're 40 its 10 + 19 = 29 hrs

Us poor old ****ers just don't learn so fast - and forget even quicker . Of course, if you only fly every 3 weeks or have a rubbish instructor or bad weather or ..........
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Old 11th Dec 2008, 08:43   #17 (permalink)
 
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I do agree, I suppose it could be said that at about 5 hours I knew how to fly, takeoff and land the can but it wasn't for another 4 hours till I went solo. Under 4 hours and you lack general practice even if you can fly it. But congratulations anyway your the first I have heard to do it in so few hours.
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Old 11th Dec 2008, 08:59   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
'Solo oneupmanship', I think they call it. They do now anyway.
Since it's only an issue for boys, it's called w!lly-waving
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Old 11th Dec 2008, 09:31   #19 (permalink)
 
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As Astir says it depends on age. My driving instructor reckoned the number of hours required to pass your test, was about the same as your age.

As Coldair remarked, its more a reflection on how good your instructor is. I was bashing around the circuit seemingly unable to land the aircraft. Then I had a different instructor, one hours instruction, problem solved.

For willy waving purposes, I will not get mine out, 22 hours (aged 41).
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Old 11th Dec 2008, 10:27   #20 (permalink)
 
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willy-waving

Come on guys. The Wright brothers went solo on their first flight. Try and beat that.

(Granted: they didn't do circuits, flaps, carb heat, radio, landing clearances and all the other things that make our lives so complicated today.)
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