On average, how many landings does a student pilot need before their first solo? I know it depends on individual students, but roughly what is the number? Or you can just tell me your experience.
My logbook shows 29 landings, with 11 hrs logged in an Aircraft Single Engine Land aircraft (ASEL) when my instructor stepped out and sent me off on my first solo flight.
I think those figures were typical for students at my flight school. It is probably also fairly typical for students at most §141 flight schools, such as mine.
Now, there can be a significant difference between the experience of training under §61 and training at a §141 flight school. The schedule at §141 schools tends to be more fast-paced than what many students might experience doing §61 flight training. Since students must systematically complete the curriculum at §141 schools, a certain minimum level of experience will be in place before a student solos. However, this curriculum also lends itself to a student being ready to solo after a fairly defined period of time. A student training under §61 might take longer to be ready to solo due to a number of factors, including a possibly more relaxed training pace. On the other hand, §61 training can also give an instructor the freedom to solo a student after less time than might be typical.
I don't have any hard data outside of my own experience and what I have observed, but I would guess that a typical §141 student will solo after about 20-40 landings and 10-15 hours. I would guess that a typical §61 student will solo after about 20-60 landings and 10-25 hours.
I was trained in the US Navy. My basic flight training was conducted at NAS Corpus Christi in the T-28 Trojan and consisted of 30 actual flights. This was average for a student Naval Aviator. Total actual flight time was 48.9 combined and 40.6 as first pilot. There were a total of 7.3 hours of instrument time, with 1.9 night time hours. Before my solo I had 148 landings.
The average flight time was 1.6 hours with 1.4 as first pilot. Average landings per flight were 5.
The T-28 Trojan was similar in looks to the A1 Skyraider. The Skyraider had a Wright R-3350-26WA radial engine with 2,700 HP. The Trojan had a Wright R-1820-86 Cyclone radial engine developing 1,425 HP. You could torque roll the Trojan!
It was an airplane that, in a sense, was wasted on a new student like me. It was a lot to handle for a new aviator, and at the time I was flying, it was old and often a pilot was faced with emergencies. I remember being airborne listening to an emergency of a solo pilot with smoke in the cockpit. It had a lot of power with its 9 cylinder radial engine.
At full throttle on engine checks at the end of the runway you had to press hard on the brakes, and could find yourself coming off the power as you skidded down the runway. When you released the brakes you had a lot of rudder in compensating for the prop wash hitting the vertical stabilizer. It was customary on your first takeoff not to put in nearly enough rudder. Whoa, that led to some interesting events.
When I finished my indoctrination at Pensacola I was given the choice to fly the new T-34 Turboprop or go to Corpus Christi and fly the T-28. When I saw the engine on that beast I knew exactly which aircraft I wanted to fly. Wish I had enough money to own one.