Chunk75, I am insulted. There is no crack, drugs, or alcohol here. I suggest you find another method for expressing disbelief.
Many flight schools charge different rates for their instructors and for different ratings: "Advanced" versus "primary," the "chief" versus the "assistant chief" versus the "line CFI".
Taking a different route to private pilot:
Another flight school, 150 hours of instructor time, aircraft rental of 110 hours, checkride, and pilot supplies:
150 hours at $30 an hour = 4500 (50 hours of ground training w/the line CFI)
110 hours at $75 an hour = 8250 (10 hours of solo flight)
$250 for checkride
$650 for the pilot supplies.
Total = $13,650
It is quite an incentive to find the best training possible AND do the ground studying on your own instead of being spoon-fed the material. Doing the ground homework on your own saves the CFI rate * 40 hours... That's anywhere from $4000 to $1200 off.
I spent a little more on my private pilot training with 7 CFIs, 3 schools, and 2 states (moved right after solo, dab nab it!). I didn't understand VORs until well into my CFII training and have the pink slip from my instrument checkride to show for it. My first CFI also has the distinction of causing the FAA to run re-certification tests on a type of aircraft. His crash killed 8 people.
Cheaper is not necessarily better. I know an instructor that just retired, had a 98% pass rate, no accidents in his hundreds of students, and never charged more than $25 an hour. Oh, and our airport has an instructor that loves the military style of training (you screw up, you get yelled at), he's free, you just pay for the aircraft. Southern California has a rather dismal accident record for flight instructors. Instructors are overloading their aircraft, plowing through airport fences, slamming into the local mountains, leaving control locks in position, running out of fuel, trying to do go arounds single engine in a multi and not remembering how to get maximum performance out of their plane, scud-running when IFR capable and in IFR aircraft, attempting to land in crosswinds that exceed what the test pilots were willing to demonstrate, letting their students porpoise the aircraft on landing, allowing students to land nosewheel first and relax elevator pressure after landing, and some don't bother to use the checklist at all with a minor exception for checkrides. There is no correlation between the instructor's hourly rate (all less than $45 an hour) and whether they and their passenger(s) or student survived the accidents.
How does a potential pilot know what kind of instructor they will get? Obviously I didn't have the answer when I started out. It should have been two CFIs total after interviewing several.
I respect your opinion, and I know from previous posts both here and on other forums and websites, I know that you are an extremely knowledgeable person.... however, IMHO I find 110 hours for a PVT a bit excessive.... I'm really having trouble rationalizing that as a "norm"...
Don't worry too much. Flying 110 hours is not a norm, 60-70 flight hours is a national average. An average means some folks complete their ratings with more time, some folks complete their ratings in less time as we saw above. I made it through in 113.1 flight hours. I know of a very good pilot that made it through her rating in 220 hours, in a Commander. One of my students made it through in 94 hours. I wasn't his instructor until hour 70. He owned his own airplane too, a Cessna 182, so his costs were less than the ones quoted above.
So there is worst case: 220 flight hours
and best case: 41 flight hours.
p.s. Chunk75, "lighten up" works much better.