The path can be momentary for Bahiya. He has special mention as the quickest of the lot. We should not use an atypical example and think it applies to us. Many suttas just talk of people going away after speaking to the Buddha and sitting upright in the forest and achieving what can be achieved by with strong effort. Bill Gates should not be considered that end result of someone embarking on a career in IT.
I agree with the importance of samadhi as mentioned by the above posters. While each path factor may well lead on from the first to the last, they can be developed individually as well. Those meditation technicians of the mind know the specific development of samadhi is invaluable. Also the effect of samadhi is not adequately captured intellectually- hence poorly expressed in books. I would almost go as far to say that 40-50% of the battle is to develop a pure strong samadhi.
This is not to say the those doing 'vipassana' will not eventually get into jhana. They do. I have yet to meet a dry vipassana master who didn't go into jhana while doing 'dry' vipassana. The path works just like the Buddha intended it (right mindfulness leads to right concentration).