I think it was around 15 or 16 hrs as I was in high school at the time and was unable to take lessons everyday or every other day.
As far as your solo goes you is the final authority as to when you solo once your instructor feels he or she is ready to sign you off.
If you feel uneasy about it or have any apprehension at all speak up!
It’s okay to be jittery or even a little scared, but if you have genuine concerns about your skills tell your instructor. Find out why and if they are really founded.
When time come you’ll know well head, you’ll brief the solo with your IP and you’ll go up first dual for some touch-n-go’s and some emergency review, then you’ll land and your instructor will hop out and ask you for three laps.
Actually I think I did five, but I wanted to and asked before hand. Later that day I even went solo to the practice area for a bit of solo sightseeing.
Oh yea, find and wear your most expensive shirt that day.
I still have my solo shirt tail and carry it around in a pocket in my flight case, signatures and all.
I needed more than 20 hours before I soloed. I wasn't training under the best of circumstances. I also was a little slow in some areas. However, I took what I learned from that experience to my tenure as a CFI and improved on my experience. Depending on the syllabus where I was instructing, most of my students soloed at 10 to 15 hours. My Riddle students soloed later than they should have due to circumstances beyond their control, i.e. lack of aircraft and taking much of their lesson time to get in and out of PRC because of heavy Riddle traffic.
I never really told my students until I was ready to solo them. I didn't want to get their hopes up, only to be bummed if the lesson on which they were to solo went poorly. I'm sure most of my students could tell when we stayed in the pattern for touch and goes that they would be soloing.
I dunno where the shirttail thing began. It is an aviation tradition, though, so wear a shirt that you don't mind being cut-up. My instructor didn't cut off my shirt tail, so a good pilot friend of mine cut it off. He told me he framed his shirttail, so I did it, too.
Don't be concerned about when you solo. If you do it at 10 hours or 50 hours it doesn't matter. What does matter is that YOU feel you are ready and not pressured by other students or instructors that you are ready.
I know someone that crashed on their solo and hit the runway lights. He was OK, but it sure didn't do much for his future career or self confidence. This will be the first test of your "to go or not to go" question. Make sure you start off on the right foot.
It will be one of the best experiences of your life.
Good luck, and come back and tell us how it went!
Good luck with your solo. It's very cool. I remember being on upwind after my first takeoff and thinking, "Uh oh BigD - now you HAVE to land this thing! And there isn't a dude next to you to bail your a** out!"
You'll probably find that your solo landings are some of the best that you've ever done!
I soloed at about 17 hours but I was taking the long way to get my private.
I used to attend a school that made the students get dragged through the a giant muddy ditch by the other students after a first solo. strange but true!!!
I flew solo at about 10 or 11 hours. My instructor and I used up too much of the block for the dual practice so when I went up for my first take-off and landing I only had a short time until the plane was supposed to be back for the next student. The tradition, or so I'm told, is to do 3 T&Gs, but I only did one so I could get the aircraft back. Looking back I wish I would have done three, they would have gotten over it.
Incidentally, the shirt-tail thing is from the days when most trainers were tandem, like the old T-6s. The instructor would pull on the shirt tail when he wanted to yell in the students ear. When the student soloed he no longer needed the shirt tail for his instructor to tug on so they cut it off. Now we usually use a T-shirt that the student wears and I usually cut off most of the back of it and right all the pertinent info on it.
Don't sweat the time. do your best, enjoy the experience. if it goes beyond 20-25 hours there should be a reason. i.e. busy airspace, problems in some areas, weather, frequency, tentative instructor. But don't overanalyze.
The shirt tail tradition does indeed go back to tandem seating. The side story was the "tugging" to get attention.
But the true tradition was matched with the words - "Pilot, today you are free to fly by the seat of your pants". And the shirttail was ceremoniously removed from the owner allowing him to have "full feeling" when sitting alone in the seat. A lot of the pilots continued to fly with the "sawed off" shirt until they got their pilot's license. The tail was usually hung on display until the new pilot got his certificate.
And as Paul Harvey would say "now you know the rest of the story, Good day".
PS. The loss of one shirt to this tradition is well worth the price. I lost one of my best dress shirts since I did my solo after work one day - I have no idea what happened to the shirt but I still have the tail sitting in my locker with all my other valuables and keepsakes. Value = priceless.