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9 Answers

How long to first solo ?

Asked by: 2403 views Student Pilot

I've done about 23 hours and have not yet solo. Should I be worried?

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9 Answers



  1. Bill Trussell on Jan 26, 2013

    Ben,

    While I would not worry I would be doing some research and asking a few questions of your instructor. While there is no timetable for Solo per se you should be making continued progress toward that eventuality.

    I would inquire of your instructor what his/her plan is and what skills remain for you to demonstrate prior to being considered qualified for the solo milestone. Consult FAR Part 61 on the requirements for solo and ensure that you have either completed them, including a pre-solo written exam complied by your instructor. If not, ask your instructor to outline the plan for the next few lessons to see if they include those items not yet completed.

    Remember, your instructor is providing you a service, not the other way around. If you are not getting the service you need at any time during your instruction career then ask about it and plan some changes. While radical, those changes might include finding a new instructor if needed. Good instructors will always be accommodating to their student’s needs and desires so long as you hold up your end of the deal by listeining, learning, practicing and asking questions in order to expand your knowledge.

    Keep us all posted on your progress as I am sure you are not the only student with questions on this issue. Most especially let us know when the solo day comes so we can all congratulate you on your progress.

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  2. Ben on Jan 26, 2013

    Thanks Bill that is great advice and will do that. I plan to continue on to my instrument and commercial ratings so it all works out. I like my instructor and he is a great guy I think he just wants to make me into a safe good competent pilot and my weak point has been my landings and avoid banking turns too much.

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  3. Sam Dawson on Jan 26, 2013

    You may like your instructor and he may be a great guy, but such posts kind of disturb me. Are you using a syllabus? If so, where are you in the syllabus and what is left to complete before you solo? Have you comp,eyed the maneuvers but there are some not up to solo standards? Has the weather not cooperated? Have you completed your pre-solo written and, as Bill asked the required items IAW part 61 to solo?

    There should be open communication between you and your instructor to include your progress toward such goals as your solo.

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  4. Ben on Jan 26, 2013

    My instructor is following the Jeppensen flight syllabus and we are just about done section one of the training before cross country. We actually did two cross country flights together to mix things up a bit after completing the ground and pattern maneuvers. I will ask him tomorrow what his estimate is to have me do first solo as it should not take that long. His key concern is my safe landing of the plane. I did 3 out of 4 landings good last weekend. We’ve had some cloud and bad weather which is part of the reason. I passed the written so the solo and cross country is what I have left. I would like to complete this in under 50 hours to save on training costs as much as possible.

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  5. Sam Dawson on Jan 27, 2013

    Then it appears he is doing the right thing. From your last post it sounds as if you have hit a plateau with your landings. Rather than have you hit your head against the wall with them he is moving on in the syllabus. I think you will find after your first solo that your training will progress quite quickly.

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  6. Chris Carlson on Jan 27, 2013

    When you are going in for landings…how quick is he to jump on the controls? I took 29 hours to solo, looking back that was a lot (3/4 the time needed for the cert) I came to the point you are at, where I started wondering if I wou,d ever be able to land the plane. So I took advice of some others and tried a different instructor. This new instructor never touched the controls while we flew, I used him to finish my cert. when we first got together before I had soloed, he knew that landing was my weak point and that’s what we practiced. Not a single landing I did that day was good, but they weren’t going to destroy the plane. My old cfi would correct my landings to be perfect, and didn’t want to me experience anything less.
    The point being…I was able to land the plane, but didn’t have any confidence because the instructor would never let me learn from my small mistakes. Tell your instructor to not touch the controls until it is for reasons of absolute safety, not for reasons of it being an ugly. But still safe landing. Or try a different cfi for a few lessons. You’re not the only one who took a while to solo.

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  7. Ben on Jan 27, 2013

    Did a lot better today on the landings and pattern work. Will do phase check with another CFI to make sure I am on track to solo without taking forever to get my PPL. Why are CFI so impatient to solo students these days?

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  8. MaggotCFII on Jan 28, 2013

    Yours from above:

    ” We actually did two cross country flights together to mix things up a bit after completing the ground and pattern maneuvers.”

    You need to consider if the CFI(s) that you are flying with are not building flight time
    on your wallet. I have seen that happen, not an uncommon event, with low time CFI
    types going for some magic hour goal.

    Beyond what other have said here, if you have friends that have been flying a while,
    ask to see their pre-solo log book time, compare that to FAR 61-87(d) and see what you have done.

    Cross Country before solo? You may have either a CFI looking to build time or flight school looking for your wallet.

    That may answer your last question of: “Why are CFI so impatient to solo students these days?

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  9. Ben on Jan 28, 2013

    Right well to be fair to my CFI of those hours, about 4 were intro flights with different instructors who were not doing a great job teaching. Unfortunately a lot of CFI out there are not really into teaching but for building hours. My current CFI does it for fun since he is not trying to build hours. I sent him email asking his opinion on how long before solo. I will do a phase check as well with another instructor.

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