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Old 06-22-2020, 01:55 PM   #1  
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Default Getting My PPL, What A Mess.

Hi all,

Wanted to get some independent advice on my situation and see what everyone thinks.

Started to get my PPL at in November last year, and was training here in Vegas. Found a club and was paying around $175 for the plane per hour, and $75 per hour for the instructor. I was doing this around working a full-time job.

It got to March time and I completed the written exam, passing, and was at around 27 hours. At this time, the instructor would mention I was close to doing my solo, but this never happened as he was mentioning I needed to work on other things. At the end of March, we went into lockdown. I texted the instructor and asked if we could still fly. He said we could, and asked if I could pay him privately in cash (as the club was closed). I asked if I was still able to do the solo and complete the training to which he stated I could.

After two flights, I asked if I could solo and he stated that I had to now wait till the club opened for insurance purposes. As I was running out of cash, and because I felt I would never solo, and was getting taken for a ride, I decided to leave and find another school.

I found one school in North Vegas. I went to check out the facility and have an into flight. The pricing was comparable with what I was paying previously, however the instructor said that most students complete their PPL in 80 hours. I had never heard this and became suspicious, so decided against it. My worry was that this guy would make me do everything all over again and just saw me for $$$ signs.

Went to check out another school in North Vegas and they were very unorganized. I had to keep calling to find out information, no one was ever available, and no one called me back.

As a result, I was getting frustrated so did some googling. I found a school in San Jose, CA. Spoke to them and explained my situation and that I wanted to come down for a couple of weeks, do as much flying as possible and if potentially, finish up the PPL. All sounded good.

Today I had a flight with the instructor. Unfortunately due to his accent, I was unable to understand him that much. Also, he immediately pointed out that the national average time frame in the US to complete the PPL is 80's (here we go again). I also felt during the flight that he was contradicting what he was asking me. I had booked a 3-hour flight, but after 1.5 hours I decided to head back to base and didn't wish to continue. The guy I had initially spoken to wasn't working so I was unable to speak with him. I did ask the women working if it is true that most students take 80 hours to get their PPL, and she confirmed this. Obviously it depends on each person, but yes, this is the national avarage.

My issue now is that I do not physically have the time to fly 80 hours as I only took two weeks off work to finish up, something I explained to the guy initially.

So, here we are, 33 hours in. Besides today, havent flown in 3 months and spent $10k. Am I now going to have to spend another $12k to get another 80 hours to get the PPL? Just frustrated. At this point it would be cheaper to go to Florida, pay $6k (or there abouts) and do everything all over again.

Welcome everyone's thoughts, both positives and negative.


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Old 06-22-2020, 04:16 PM   #2  
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80 hours is about the average.

But that includes a lot of haphazard students, most of who are recreational.

If you're motivated, and have a reliable school/instructor you should be able to do it in 50-60 depending on aptitude and other factors (wx, etc).

Getting it done in 40 would be rare, high aptitude and motivation, and good instruction. Most instructors will probably not be interested in "shooting" for a 40-hour finish because that sets unrealistic expectations and may even be dangerous. 40 hours is probably for kids who grew up around aviation, had a pilot parent and a plane in the family.
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Old 06-22-2020, 05:16 PM   #3  
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80 hours is the national average for a private pilot certificate. Mind you that takes everyone into account.
Things tend to rack those hours up are students who fly seldom (less than twice a week). Areas where weather slows down the progress etc. Students that apply themselves to the training, are available for at least 3 days a week (more is better up to a point), and have favorable weather conditions will likely fall in the 50-60 hour range. Remember that the minimums by the FAA is 40 hours, that means nothing unless you are ready for the check ride.

Also, don't get bent out of shape for not being able to solo yet. While I'm sure it would have been nice to have that accomplishment already, it is not the end all and be all. Traditionally the solo is accomplished in about the first third of training, there are plenty of other things you can work on until then.
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Old 06-22-2020, 06:31 PM   #4  
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Good points by both, many thanks.

I figured, and budgeted to be around the 55 hour mark. That's $13,750 based @ $250 p/h. If it's 80 hrs, that's $20k. From reading various websites the cost for a PPL was around the $8k to $13k mark.

I think what is frustrating me is the fact that I'm not getting told the full story, like today for example. I specifically came to San Jose to finish up. If I needed another 50 to 80 hours, there is no way I could get that done in 11 days. Had I known this, I wouldn't have bothered coming down.

I'm thinking at this point of exploring some schools in Florida that can offer a 40 hr course at a set price. That would then allow me to go full time, and would be done at around the 70 hr mark.
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Old 06-22-2020, 10:30 PM   #5  
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Becareful I understand the money issue but don’t rush it and fail a checkride, a few years from now you wouldn’t care if you got it under 80 or not, good luck!
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Old 06-22-2020, 11:32 PM   #6  
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I took the opposite tact when I was instructing. I laid it out as solo between 8-13 hours, get your PPL at 40 (well 41 if you count the check ride). I had the syllabus to show what was required, which was a lot, and told them that each hour in the air would require 3-4 hours of self study on each lesson. I told them what I was I looking for in each briefing, and if they couldn’t provide answers during the briefing, we may not fly.

I was demanding but fair and alway available to them. I got my gold seal with an average solo of 11 hours and PPL at 43 hours. The guys who wanted to fly and apply themselves worked hard, those who didn’t I fired as students and told them to go work with the guys that would aim for 80 hour PPL ratings. Most guys would find it was worth it to put up with me being demanding and finish on time than fly with the milkman.

I’d ask prospective instructors why they have trouble getting student through at 40 hours, that will tell you a lot about their quality of instruction.
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Old 06-23-2020, 06:46 AM   #7  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thor View Post
I took the opposite tact when I was instructing. I laid it out as solo between 8-13 hours, get your PPL at 40 (well 41 if you count the check ride). I had the syllabus to show what was required, which was a lot, and told them that each hour in the air would require 3-4 hours of self study on each lesson. I told them what I was I looking for in each briefing, and if they couldn’t provide answers during the briefing, we may not fly.

I was demanding but fair and alway available to them. I got my gold seal with an average solo of 11 hours and PPL at 43 hours. The guys who wanted to fly and apply themselves worked hard, those who didn’t I fired as students and told them to go work with the guys that would aim for 80 hour PPL ratings. Most guys would find it was worth it to put up with me being demanding and finish on time than fly with the milkman.

I’d ask prospective instructors why they have trouble getting student through at 40 hours, that will tell you a lot about their quality of instruction.
They will tell you "it depends on the person". Also, it is not in their interest to have you pass a check ride at 40 hrs.

This is the problem with the industry. There is a big difference between someone who wants to teach, and someone who has to teach to build hours.
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Old 06-23-2020, 07:59 AM   #8  
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There are so many variables that influence how long it takes. You’re setting yourself up for failure by trying to push yourself through with a short timeline.
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Old 06-23-2020, 08:32 AM   #9  
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The PPL requirements haven’t changed since like 1963 and Airspace and everything else has. Operations have become more complicated and require more practice to proficiency.
Here is an example from my own experience:

Startup, taxi and run up .3 hrs (18min)
Flight time to altitude and suitable practice area .2
Flight time back from practice area .2
Landing, taxi and shutdown .1 (6 min)

Out of a lesson of 1.5 hrs that leaves you 0.7 (42 min) of effective maneuver training time.
Yes, every take off, climb and cruise is practice but it is not “training time”.
So unless you operate out of a grass strip and can do steep turns at the departure end of your runway you will have “travelling time” that deducts from your total flight time.
Sometimes you also need some “straight and level” sight seeing time for comprehension or working through a rough spot or simply for enjoyment after a tough lesson.
We’re working with people here.
Also I can solo you at an isolated non towered airport which is the equivalent of driving in an empty parking lot but I’d you train out of a busy Class D or higher you’ll need a lot more practice before you can go on your own.
At my home airport the difference between calm and quiet and 3 jets of final could be 5 minutes. You’d simply have to be able to handle that.

* Why did you start in the middle of a pandemic by the way?
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Old 06-23-2020, 08:42 AM   #10  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thor View Post
I took the opposite tact when I was instructing. I laid it out as solo between 8-13 hours, get your PPL at 40 (well 41 if you count the check ride). I had the syllabus to show what was required, which was a lot, and told them that each hour in the air would require 3-4 hours of self study on each lesson. I told them what I was I looking for in each briefing, and if they couldn’t provide answers during the briefing, we may not fly.

I was demanding but fair and alway available to them. I got my gold seal with an average solo of 11 hours and PPL at 43 hours. The guys who wanted to fly and apply themselves worked hard, those who didn’t I fired as students and told them to go work with the guys that would aim for 80 hour PPL ratings. Most guys would find it was worth it to put up with me being demanding and finish on time than fly with the milkman.
If that's the business you're in, so be it as long as everyone is on board with the program.

Some non-career students can't hit it quite that hard and will need schedule flexibility which will inevitably translate to repeat lessons, refreshers, and more time. Not all of those students deserve to be fired.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thor View Post
I’d ask prospective instructors why they have trouble getting student through at 40 hours, that will tell you a lot about their quality of instruction.
Or their skill at cherry-picking students.

At one school I taught almost exclusively older/problematic students... because the school knew I was good for a challenge (I got paid accordingly too). Very wealthy kids, politician's wives, Arab Princes, you name it. Wasn't really the business I *wanted* to be in, because I was in fact a time-builder but they made it worth my while.
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