It's easy to find comments and claims online (including on this site) about the average number of hours that's required for a new US private pilot to pass their checkride. Some are very precise - 67 hours seems popular - but no one appears to have any actual data to support their statements.
This comment is typical:
We aren’t sure that 67 hours is the actual average. You can find as low as 55 and as high as 85 as the national average. A quick Google search found a dozen different answers to the average flight hours. None of the sources seemed authoritative. The FAA doesn’t seem to have a published number.
It's quite surprising (to me) that the average number of hours is so mysterious. Checkride applicants have to report their hours in the IACRA application process anyway, so presumably the FAA has the data. And it would be a very useful piece of information for schools and pilots to have for planning/budgeting purposes. In fact, I would expect part 141 schools in particular to have very detailed records on their students' hours, and perhaps even use them as a marketing tool ("get your private certificate in 10hrs less than the national average!").
But despite all that, there's no official, reliable number that I can find. So, what is the average number of flight hours from zero to passing the checkride?
- Number of flight hours required to successfully pass the initial private ASEL checkride
- Data from reliable sources only, i.e. FAA or a credible third-party study that identifies its sources and methodology
- FAA private ASEL ab initio candidates only (no add-on ratings)
- Part 61 and/or 141