Shortest Time to Solo

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Re: Shortest Time to Solo

Post by Dagwood » Wed Jan 13, 2010 6:51 pm

Shiny Side Up wrote:
5. I could have sent him solo sooner, but there is such a thing as a curriculum and I made him complete it.
This brings up a point I always wonder about when it comes to people going solo fast. For those who claim such short times I'd be interested in flight by flight, hour by hour how the student did and the exercises covered.
Yeaah... I was wondering the same thing. Most students need at least 10 hours to be competent in the required exercises.
Tango01 wrote:How about these guys?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8y7DiNygXc
He probably needed to get his currency back :rolleyes:
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Re: Shortest Time to Solo

Post by Big Pistons Forever » Wed Jan 13, 2010 7:12 pm

iflyforpie wrote:I was pretty sure I was agreeing with you BPF.

Like good hands and feet aren't required during cruise but that is when decision making comes into play (should I stop for fuel or press on? I'm lost, how can I find myself again without a GPS? do I need a clearance for Class D airspace? etc).

The pilot spraying crops is probably requires 90% hands and feet, while the instructor on a 150NM cross country is probably at about 3%. :mrgreen:
Sorry Pie you are wrong

Everybody knows the absolute irreducible minimum flight time no matter what the circumstances, a pilot must consume thinking about sex is 25 %. Therefore no pilot could ever use 90% of a flight on the hands and feet part of flying..... :smt040
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Re: Shortest Time to Solo

Post by Big Pistons Forever » Wed Jan 13, 2010 7:16 pm

Cat Driver wrote:
It is my own personal opinion that the flight instructors fifty some years ago were better teachers than today's flight instructors ...generally speaking. :mrgreen:
I saw an interesting article put out by ATAC. As I recall the article said the average time from zero to PPL in 1955 was 45 hrs, or 50 % longer than the regulatory mins. Today the average is 68 hrs......or about 50 % longer than the regulator mins. It doesn't look like very much has changed........
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Re: Shortest Time to Solo

Post by Cat Driver » Wed Jan 13, 2010 7:37 pm

Interesting statistics but we are still left with the fact that the average time to get a PPL in 1955 was 45 hours.

Today it is 68 hours or 23 hours longer.

Must be because the instructors are better today I guess.
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Re: Shortest Time to Solo

Post by Shiny Side Up » Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:08 pm

Cat Driver wrote:Interesting statistics but we are still left with the fact that the average time to get a PPL in 1955 was 45 hours.

Today it is 68 hours or 23 hours longer.

Must be because the instructors are better today I guess.
So when the requirement was 30 hours the average was 45 hours and when the requirement is 45 hours the average is is 68 hours. Lets do some math. In Cat's day students were taking roughly .5 hours longer than the required time to get their licences. In the current day they are taking .5111 (repeating) hours longer than the hours required to get their licences. So yes Cat, mathmatically even instructors must be getting worse over the years accounting for a .0111 (repeating) reduction in instructional ability on average. There we are, the proof is in the numbers. Any of you out there instructing today now have a measurable number indicating how much worse you were than your predecessors.
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Re: Shortest Time to Solo

Post by Cat Driver » Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:29 pm

Shiny side don't take it personally as I am just stirring the pot.

The truth is there have always been good and bad instructors, maybe because there are so many instructors today compared to fifty years ago there are more bad ones? :mrgreen:
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Re: Shortest Time to Solo

Post by Invertago » Wed Jan 13, 2010 11:18 pm

I wonder if students are just not putting as much into it now as they did years ago? There is lots of talk about decreasing student performance in the public school system. 50 years ago, we didn't have x-box.

We're also dealing with each generation becoming more spoiled and expecting everything on a platter. Many flight students think flight training is just a matter of checking off the hours in their log book. Some of those students have gone on to be instructors. It will only get worse before it gets better I bet.
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Re: Shortest Time to Solo

Post by AMM » Thu Jan 14, 2010 12:18 am

Back in my day...
Image


:roll:
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Re: Shortest Time to Solo

Post by Cat Driver » Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:51 am

Good one AMM, for sure those old pilots are inferior to those real smart young ones.

But just for fun maybe you and I could compare our qualifications and backgrounds in flying just to see if there is a difference? :prayer:
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Re: Shortest Time to Solo

Post by iflyforpie » Thu Jan 14, 2010 10:14 am

I have my grandfather's logbook from 1967. I records that he completed his training in the required 35 hours, soloing at 13.

He was no natural. He was 40 at the time, really nervous, and didn't fly too much after getting his licence. My grandmother said he finally quit flying because of the fear of screwing up. I don't think todays instructors and students are much different than they were years ago.

I think the difference is in the risks we allow students (and instructors) to take and the requirements of the newer standards. When I can fly around with my CP (who also learned in 1967) and he points out to me all the wrecks still in the mountains, quoting the years the years of the crashes and the circumstances; I don't think pilots have gotten any more or less safe over the years.

If today's instructors are inferior, it is because of lack of exposure. Tail wheel is fun and not that hard, but the insurance and risk are too great except for those with a ton of cash. Same with float flying. Same with multi.
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Re: Shortest Time to Solo

Post by Bede » Thu Jan 14, 2010 11:31 am

Cat,

Would you by any chance have a PPl syllabus from back then, or even some of the TC manuals?
I'm always looking for better ways to do things. I've been using the same syllabus now as I did when I started instructing Air Cadets which revolved around students getting finished in 45hrs. It has worked pretty good. In the past, my average student finished everything in about 50hrs. It would be interesting if I could get that even lower.

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Re: Shortest Time to Solo

Post by Cat Driver » Thu Jan 14, 2010 11:39 am

Bede, no I am sorry but I don't have any in fact most of my stuff including my original log books disappeared with some of my ex wives along with my money. :smt040

Iflyforpie if tail wheel airplanes are not all that difficult to fly why is insurance so expensive for them?

By the way I don't pay more to insure tail wheel airplanes so whats up with that?
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Re: Shortest Time to Solo

Post by iflyforpie » Thu Jan 14, 2010 11:58 am

Cat Driver wrote: Iflyforpie if tail wheel airplanes are not all that difficult to fly why is insurance so expensive for them?

By the way I don't pay more to insure tail wheel airplanes so whats up with that?

I could never figure out why insurance companies charged what they did. If a pilot is sloppy enough, you can ground loop a Cherokee just as easy as a Citabria.

You might not have paid as much because of your hours. But was the insurance for your Taildragger 150 the same as a nose wheel Aerobat while set up for students to solo? We all have to start somewhere.

Unfortunately for me, the Citabria at my old flight school came on line after I got my CPL, so I only did a few hours in it. It was only about $5 -$10 more. :(
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Re: Shortest Time to Solo

Post by Shiny Side Up » Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:18 pm

Cat Driver wrote: Shiny side don't take it personally as I am just stirring the pot.

The truth is there have always been good and bad instructors, maybe because there are so many instructors today compared to fifty years ago there are more bad ones? :mrgreen:
Why stop at fifty years? Argueably by the logic presented if instructors have been getting steadily worse, then the very earliest instructors must surely have been the best. The supposing rate of hours needed to be "qualified to fly" if one takes the bureaucrat's mentality surely will be the proof in the pudding so to speak. By the Way, this is going to be a long post for which I place the blame at your feet, whether its good reading or not you can lay your own judegement.

I'll start with the time when we had a reasonably large number of training data to get a picture. Let's go back to the Great War. For those of you interested in further reading, you can start here and here. I'll pull the most relevent stuff out for convinience sake.
William Hector Ptolemy was a typical trainee. An instructor took him up for a brief introductory flight, at No.88 Canadian Training Squadron (CTS), Armour Heights, on 3 December 1917. He took the controls for the first time during a 25-minute flight two days later. Bad weather occasionally interrupted his training and on 16 December 1917 he broke a propeller while landing in snow. He smashed another propeller on 22 December, and generally had difficulty with turns. On 3 January 1918 he flew for 40 minutes, executed seven landings, and made an emergency landing when his engine failed. He reported his first landing on skis on 29 January. Finally, on 5 February, having flown seven hours 25 minutes with an instructor, he made his first solo circuits; most pupils soloed after five hours.
Now clearly if we look solely at hours when we compare to some of the claims above in this thread, this fellow to have soloed in 7.4 hours must have had an excellent instructor and generally instruction must have been excellent at the time to be turning students loose at an average of 5 hours of instruction. sounds like the methods were a little hard on airplanes though. More revealing is the following:
Overall, the training scheme enrolled 9,200 cadets. Of these, 3,135 completed pilot training and more than 2,500 were sent overseas;
One has to wonder why the completion rate wasn't higher. Granted the War ended before some could complete, but that's a pretty high number of pilots even so who washed out for whatever reason. If say a good third of the pilots didn't finish before the War ended that still leaves us with a good chunk who must of washed out... or
The results were achieved at some cost. At least 129 cadets and some 20 instructors were killed in flying accidents.


Ouch. But things improved fortunately for future pilots.

Yet the safety record improved. In April 1917 there was one fatality for every 200 hours flown, in December 1917 one fatality for every 1,500 hours, and in October 1918 one fatality for every 5,800 hours flown.


So it appears at this juncture in time that pilot training was improving. For posterity's sake all future instructors owe a lot to Robert Smith-Barry for improving your chances of survival. So if pilot training - and by inference instructor ability - was improving, we must somewhere along the line find a juncture when it starts decreasing. Lets move along in time.

First I'll point out a small bit, but a very important crucial bit: The seeds of Transport Canada Aviation are sown! Another revealing bit here in terms of flight training and pilot competentcy...

The Canadian government established an Air Board of seven members to regulate and control commercial and civil aviation throughout the Dominion in 1919. The Board was also charged with defending the country from the sky.... Its only function was to give a 28-day refresher courses every other year to officers and airmen who had served in the RAF during the war.


Even then the bureaucrats felt that pilot skills only really need to be topped up every other year. I should note here dredging up stats for flight training in the interwar period yields very little, especially on the civillian side of things which often blurrs as the military to some degree often took a hand in regulating it. At this point oddly enough depending on where you were and what you were doing, pilots by the eve of the Second World War were considered "qualified" at anywhere between 30 hours and 65 hours of training. Clearly some instructors are showing themselves to be of better salt than their fellows. Unfortunately we must move to the next war to get some real numbers in the all important hours category which will plague pilot thinking from here on in. Some numbers from here are interesting.

At the beginning of the war, flight training lasted nine months, with three months of primary, three months of basic, and three months of advanced training. Each pilot had 65 flying hours of primary training and 75 hours of both basic and advanced training.


Three months to do 65 hours! Man what a lax schedule of training those fellows must have had. If only they could have figured out sooner that the equivelent skill can be conferred in 2 weeks! Clearly instructors still had some improving to do at this point, so we have not yet gotten to the golden age of instructing. One might add that they had a whopping 215 hours by the end of their advanced training. This is the Americans though, I'm sure we can dredge up some better hours to demonstrate the superiority of Commonwealth born training, but I'll leave that to someone else. Lets move on to later in the War, Instructors have a big kick in the butt to improve. Lets see...


I managed to go solo in 7 hrs. 50 mins. but had to make three circuits before I landed safely. On the first two attempted landings I was too close to the river bank and had to go round again. When I eventually landed I discovered that my instructor had hid himself in the flight hut as he didn’t think I was going to get down safely. In the innocence of youth, I was quite unperturbed. I had simply flown as I had been instructed. Perhaps that is why I was one of the two out of five who were selected for pilot training.


Once again we're washing people out (though in their defence they did have to have some way of filling gunner's spots, an unenviable task - I wonder if students would do better these days if they knew that was the other option if they didn't do well) and our pilot candidate takes a whopping 7.8 hours to solo. One has to ask why didn't all the students pass for pilot training? Clearly by mid war they haven't improved to the level we'd like - but one must note that they also haven't degenerated to the poor approximations they are today. We are running out of time so we must be near that golden age of instructing. Reasonably so. The end of the war will turn out a lot of pilots who now have learned the hard way, and many of them to survive the rigors of the War. We should now see a superior means of training pilots at this point - and especially now that we have a reasonable civillian training market to put them into.

This bears out as the now fully fledged bureaucracies have deemed a mere 30 hours for pilots to be considered qualified, following a training plan mostly derived from the ones used to send many young fellows off to war. Clearly we've found our golden age of flight instructing, Its all down hill from there...
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Re: Shortest Time to Solo

Post by Shiny Side Up » Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:24 pm

Cat Driver wrote: Iflyforpie if tail wheel airplanes are not all that difficult to fly why is insurance so expensive for them?

By the way I don't pay more to insure tail wheel airplanes so whats up with that?
It isn't more expensive for tailwheel airplanes. It is however usually more expensive for fabric covered aircraft (which many tailwheel airplanes are) and airplanes you intend to do aerobatics with (which also many tailwheel airplanes fall into), another insurance expense is if you have anything you intend to put tundra tires on as those usually have a tendancy to end up in rivers or trees... which as you guessed also covers a lot of tailwheel airplanes. :wink:
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Re: Shortest Time to Solo

Post by Cat Driver » Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:42 pm

Thanks for taking the time to type all that Shiny Side because you have made me feel better knowing I was trained just before it all started to go down hill. :mrgreen:

From reading your posts I take it you were not flying in the fifties so I thought I would mention that to get a CPL in those days you had to be able to recover from unusual attitudes in a Cessna 140 ( at least that is what we did our instrument training in for the CPL. ) by using only the basic instruments....needle/ball and airspeed..as we did not have a AI or DI in our airplanes.....but at least we did not have to wear one of those goofy hoods that are used today because we still used the Air Force two stage amber which is far superior for instrument training.

Oh and the exams were hand written answers....no multiple choice rolling the dice kind of exam.

And to get an instrument rating we had to be able to read morse code aurally.

Now to this thing about tail wheel airplanes used off airport, I am busy working on my Cub and it will be equipped with big wheels for the purpose of training wannabe bush pilots using unprepared surfaces to land and take off from.

Hopefully I will be able to remember how we did it in the Arctic and the North starting with the Super Cub on Bradley big wheels and ending with the DC3 both wheels and skis. We flew the DC3's off bush roads, snow, ice, eskers and sand beaches.

After thousands of hours of doing it I'm betting I can still remember how to do it safely. :mrgreen:

The good part for any client who decides to take this training from me is I am cutting my rate by over two thirds from what I charged before I retired. :mrgreen:

Am I making a mistake here and that kind of training is no longer useful?
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Re: Shortest Time to Solo

Post by Shiny Side Up » Thu Jan 14, 2010 2:21 pm

Cat Driver wrote:Thanks for taking the time to type all that Shiny Side because you have made me feel better knowing I was trained just before it all started to go down hill. :mrgreen:
I do what I can.
From reading your posts I take it you were not flying in the fifties so I thought I would mention that to get a CPL in those days you had to be able to recover from unusual attitudes in a Cessna 140 ( at least that is what we did our instrument training in for the CPL. ) by using only the basic instruments....needle/ball and airspeed..as we did not have a AI or DI in our airplanes.....but at least we did not have to wear one of those goofy hoods that are used today because we still used the Air Force two stage amber which is far superior for instrument training.


Indeed I am not that old and my flying experience is but a fraction of yours. Though when I did my training I had to make the same recovery without the use of the AI or DI, As far as I know CPL candidates still have to do the same - its possible they've made it easier recently.
Oh and the exams were hand written answers....no multiple choice rolling the dice kind of exam.
That these days would be found to be discriminatory against pilots with reading and writing disabilities - plus it would require actual work to grade such an exam. We're all about get 'em in, get 'em out these days.
Now to this thing about tail wheel airplanes used off airport, I am busy working on my Cub and it will be equipped with big wheels for the purpose of training wannabe bush pilots using unprepared surfaces to land and take off from.
I could only say gloss over this fact if you want your insurance rates to stay reasonable.
Hopefully I will be able to remember how we did it in the Arctic and the North starting with the Super Cub on Bradley big wheels and ending with the DC3 both wheels and skis. We flew the DC3's off bush roads, snow, ice, eskers and sand beaches.

After thousands of hours of doing it I'm betting I can still remember how to do it safely. :mrgreen:

Am I making a mistake here and that kind of training is no longer useful?

Oh it is, just to a smaller and smaller portion of pilots these days. Pilots who have the money to purchace a new Super Cub/ Maule/ Husky and who want to go fishing or hunting with their plane are getting fewer and fewer. Most with that type of money are looking into Cessna 400s, Mooneys and Cirruses which are completely unsuited to that type of operations. Others are willing to enlist the aid of the helicopter people - let's face it if you got the money and need to get into a tough spot its tough to beat. So the sector of pilots that demand such need for that particular skill gets smaller and smaller all the time. Many as well don't see how learning that skill subset will help them in their regular flying, which will consist mainly of flying from a large airport to another large airport. Having to manuever into a short soft and slippery place rarely crosses their minds.
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Re: Shortest Time to Solo

Post by Tango01 » Thu Jan 14, 2010 2:23 pm

I hate the fact that insurance companies run aviation. I believe that a complete PPL course should include a check out on a taildragger, operations on real short and narrow surfaces, unprepared strips (soft/grass/gravel) and EMT.

A PPL candidate should IMO, also have some exposure to a "Complex Aircraft" at some point during the course before being issued a licence (a simple endorsement in the logbook shoud suffice)

When I did my PPL, very few instructors at the FTU had experience with turf , most never touched a taildragger before. A large portion of them had less than 500 hrs TT and where just waiting for their "big break" while collecting Hobbs time from their so called "students"

I feel that the current system does not prepare you well for real life. It wasn't until I did my Class 4 Instructor Rating that I realized how little I knew. Now I am aware (how little I know) but at least I'm well prepared, mentally to take on the challenges and improve my skills. Unfortunately, I don't have the financial means to get specialized training. Reading books can only do so much... We all need an experienced dude to show us the ropes, unfortunately, there is a great shortage of these guys, they are not valued enough.

Speaking of instructors, how many people do you think would become instructors if TC required the applicant to have at least 1,000 hours before applying for the rating? Maybe that way, we could save the spots for those who really want to teach and remove the 200 hour wonders who use this privilege as a stepping stone. Not that I am completely against time bulding while you teach, but I haven't come across many Class 4's and 3's (yet) that wanted to "be there" As a result, most the instruction was substandard, just enough to pass a flight test. I did have the privilege of working with two Class 1's and I could tell the difference in teaching quality right away.

I know we all need to start somewhere and its very tough at the beginning, but shouldn't the people who teach others how to fly be the most experienced ones? I think everything is upside down, but what do I know...?
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Re: Shortest Time to Solo

Post by Big Pistons Forever » Thu Jan 14, 2010 3:02 pm

Taildragging is fun but how many working taildraggers are out there on straight wheels?
Not very many I bet. The majority of taildraggers flying right now are pilot toys.

Like I said I enjoy flying taildraggers but at the end of a long duty day facing a 200 and a half ILS to an icy runway with a bitching crosswind I will take the Navajo over a Beech 18 any day.

Back to the topic at hand. First solo is a significant milestone in your pilot training and should be appreciated and celebrated as such. How many hours any particular person needs before solo is dependant on many factors, some of which the student has no control over. Anybody who boasts about how good he is because he solo'd in X hours is IMO a dickhead.
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Re: Shortest Time to Solo

Post by Cat Driver » Thu Jan 14, 2010 3:15 pm

Having flown both the Navajo and the Beech 18 a fair amount in IMC and done a fair maount of approaches and landings to minimums in both I found the Beech 18 to be a more stable instrument platform than the Navajo.

As to the difficulty landing one in a X/wind , yeh the Beech 18 requires more attention to directional control once on the runway and is less forgiving of poor aircraft handling skills.

Of course these are subjective opinions and how one measures difficulty will vary from pilot to pilot and is probably tinted by ones past flying experience because some of us did not have simple easy to land airplanes like the Navajo to fly for the simple reason they were not in production when we started flying.

Just after I started flying the Beech 18 the company I was working for got two D.H. Doves which had nose wheels and they definately were easier to land. :mrgreen:

I hope some of you do not hold that against us. :mrgreen:
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Re: Shortest Time to Solo

Post by Big Pistons Forever » Thu Jan 14, 2010 6:09 pm

Sorry everyone for enabling pointless thread creep. So Bede was your original question answered ?
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Re: Shortest Time to Solo

Post by Bede » Thu Jan 14, 2010 6:36 pm

Big Pistons Forever wrote:Sorry everyone for enabling pointless thread creep. So Bede was your original question answered ?
It wouldn't be avCanada if it wasn't for hijacked posts, ad hominum attacks, etc. :D :D

Cheers,
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