On average most people take 25-30hrs according to my instructor and most solo around 13 hrs. He also refused to instruct more than 1 hour a day, his reason was that the student gets tired and does not learn any more ( so true in retrospect).
Took me 28hrs and 10months for RPC. Add 10hrs PIC min for passenger endorcement and another 10-15hrs for cross country endorcement.
I did my RPC pretty much on the minimums - I threw in a few local area PIC flights whilst I was going through my X-Country. I think the biggest thing that helped me keep the hour count low was a consistent schedule - I pretty much locked my Instructor in for 7am Saturday morning every weekend for a lesson. Then I also made sure to do as much pre-reading and prep before each flight so I was pre-briefed. What can suck up a lot of hours is if you have an inconsistent schedule and so need to spend a bit of time replacing lost skills while learning. I would find if I missed a week the first 15mins in the air was a bit of readjustment.
But I guess the main thing is enjoy it - I had a rocking RPC instructor and our flights whilst instructional and educational were a heck of a lot of fun and some great laughs. Especially during X-Country when you have a bit more time to have a good chat! #makeflyingfun :)
I did mine in about 39 hours, but I did a silly thing, I changed my flying school 10 hours into my training. In hindsight, it wasn't a bad thing, as I experienced different aircraft, instructors and airfields and areas. That can't be a bad thing.
I agree, learning something new every lesson is great!
When you finally achieve your licence you will miss the challenge of having to learn something new.
You will also realize how much more you need to learn!
The third line is not guaranteed. Apart from the compulsory renewal checks nothing much us structured for you. You need to discipline yourself and have a constant personal assessment going on of your flights. It's not easy to self assess honestly and you don't know what you don't know. How could you?.. Do something like a TW endorsement and ask the Instructor to give you a good overall refresher at the same time. Do an unusual attitudes recovery lesson in a plane suitable for it with an instructor not just intent on making you sick with his aeros .. Nev.