Landings before first solo?

NotCoolEnufToFly

Well-Known Member
I know it's different for everyone, but what is a general range for how many landings a private pilot student has logged by the time he has his first solo?
 

PGT

Well-Known Member
My log book says exactly 50 in 14.9 hours.

I think I might be the exception, my CFI didn't like to solo students early.
 

NotCoolEnufToFly

Well-Known Member
Well I'm really just curious because I got an absolutely ridiculous call at the school today with a 'yeah right' kind of question and skipping all the details, he mentioned during the conversation that he had around 30 landings and more than 20hrs and no solo... is that typical?
 

Blackhawk

Well-Known Member
Well I'm really just curious because I got an absolutely ridiculous call at the school today with a 'yeah right' kind of question and skipping all the details, he mentioned during the conversation that he had around 30 landings and more than 20hrs and no solo... is that typical?
While not typical, I would have to look at the training, how often the pilot has flown, etc. Someone flying once every two weeks... well, it may take that long.
Also, remember that the solo, while a milestone, is not the goal. It is merely a step along the way towards the goal of pilot certification. I have experimented recently with delaying the first solo for students and incorporating real world flying and planning into the training program (such as getting weather, weight and balance, performance planning). By lesson #3 we are doing short cross countries; prior to the first solo we fly into class C airspace. Before they solo, the student can get and interpret weather, determine their W&B, the performance numbers, and can recover from a 1 turn spin. I don't know yet if it was the students being sharp, or training like this, but the students in question, flying twice a week, were ready for the checkride at about the 30 hour mark, even though they solo later than most other student pilots. The rest of the required time was spent building their confidence with solo flights and some advanced maneuvers.
 

NotCoolEnufToFly

Well-Known Member
Hmmm... really just curious. That really didn't have much to do with what he was asking when he called but I found myself thinking, why haven't you soloed?! And then I thought well maybe that's not as uncommon as it seems. I'm not sure how many landings I had when I soloed to be honest but I didn't have 20hrs.
 

tgrayson

New Member
I'm not sure how many landings I had when I soloed to be honest but I didn't have 20hrs.
You'll see a wide range, from maybe 6 hours to as much as 100. A lot will depend on the frequency of flight, age and natural ability of the student, age and experience of the instructor, flight school policy, weather, etc. I recall a national average somewhere near 20 hours, but I would expect the average would be lower at a Part 141 school where people are flying every day.

When people start talking about their own experience to solo, the average tends to be much lower than 20, but you have to take into account that those with many more hours to solo are often reluctant to volunteer that information, but those who soloed at 6 tend to bring it up in every conversation. :)
 

NotCoolEnufToFly

Well-Known Member
...you have to take into account that those with many more hours to solo are often reluctant to volunteer that information, but those who soloed at 6 tend to bring it up in every conversation. :)

True. Okay, good enough, just wondering if there was a range that you guys typically see people falling into.
 

jrh

Well-Known Member
You'll see a wide range, from maybe 6 hours to as much as 100. A lot will depend on the frequency of flight, age and natural ability of the student, age and experience of the instructor, flight school policy, weather, etc. I recall a national average somewhere near 20 hours, but I would expect the average would be lower at a Part 141 school where people are flying every day.

When people start talking about their own experience to solo, the average tends to be much lower than 20, but you have to take into account that those with many more hours to solo are often reluctant to volunteer that information, but those who soloed at 6 tend to bring it up in every conversation. :)
:yeahthat:

Fastest solo signoff I ever gave was 10 hours, longest was a little over 30, but I've seen everything in between and it has almost no correlation to a person's final abilities as a licensed pilot.

A lot of people get too wrapped up in specific numbers and forget that the whole point of training is to do whatever it takes to become a competent pilot.
 

nosehair

Well-Known Member
Hmmm... really just curious. That really didn't have much to do with what he was asking when he called but I found myself thinking, why haven't you soloed?! And then I thought well maybe that's not as uncommon as it seems. I'm not sure how many landings I had when I soloed to be honest but I didn't have 20hrs.
 

jjm

Well-Known Member
another observation I have had is when you get close to soloing, the perfomance tends to drop sharply (mainly b/c the student is starting to think about the solo flight), so that tends to tack on hours.

That being said, I had a student that just had the knack for it and was ready to go at 6 hrs. It is such a complex answer.
 

beechpilot84

Well-Known Member
When a student starts asking me these questions I usually sit them down and give them the "talk". I explain that I am teaching them to be a competent private pilot, I'm not teaching them just to be a solo pilot. I don't care how long it takes to solo in hours or landings. I have my set criteria and they must meet my standards. I have found out it's a lot better to be honest and straight up with a student right away. Instead of just saying "you're not ready yet" or "I don't know", I try to explain why they are not ready yet. I explain that this portion of your training is just a small part of your flying lifetime and that building a good foundation is extremely important. So far all of my students have responded very well to this approach.

I would feel free to ask your instructor the reasons you haven't soloed. Just be sure to ask the question right and explain that you are not questioning his ability or judgement (unless you think you are getting poor instruction) but that you just want to know what he/she is looking for out of your flying and judgement.
 

NotCoolEnufToFly

Well-Known Member
I totally understand that you're not just teaching a student to solo and that it's not the GOAL, but I was just wondering what the average seems to be because I was kind of shocked this student hadn't soloed yet.
 

KC Jake

Well-Known Member
I've had students solo as soon as 14.5 hours and at least one student that soloed after more than 50 hours. In both cases, these students were flying almost every day. It just comes down to individuals. Everyone is different. Some people just "get it" immediately. Some people need three separate lessons devoted to taxiing.
 

braunpilot

What day is it?
I used to teach pilots who were going to go down to USAF UPT training after I got done with them. They actually had a requirement to solo them by 20 hours or their chances of being a pilot in the AF was in question. For the most part I expect to solo them in the 15 to 20 hour range because I have them dealing with KC135's & C17's. Obviously I wanted them to have a lot of knowledge about wake turbulence. The student with the highest amount was 65 hours and and I was his third instructor. He was an engineer and one of the best students I ever had. Just didn't quite know how to feel the airplane. Remember flying an aircraft is more like an art form than science. He ended up with like 120 hours prior to getting his private pilot certificate. Still talk to the guy to this day and I totally try to mentor him as best I can. I would bend over backwards to help him and give him tips and tricks. There is not a set in stone number to solo. Just remember that the instructor will let you know when you are ready. Good Luck and keep at it!
 
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