Answer by Greg Freeman:
How long it takes is like asking how long is a rubber band. It all depends on how far you want to stretch it out.
I’ve trained guys that did it in slightly less then 30 days and I’ve trained people that took a year or longer.
There are a lot of variables that go into how long or how much. Like others have said it will depend on how often you fly, how accessible is the instructor or aircraft. Other things like weather, work, school etc can add to the time it takes.
I tell potential students to plan for 60 hours. On average they are below this time when they go for the final flight test.
One thing to remember is you will hear about this mystical “40 hours” that the FAA says is the minimum but that 40 hours comes from the Army Air Corp during WWii and was for training pilots rapidly before moving on to more complex aircraft.
The army never had today’s environment in mind and the FAA has not updated that 40 hour recommendation since the end of the war. With all that said, pay no attention to that 40 hour goal that most people set for themselves.