Have you decided that this year is the year you will learn to fly but don’t know where to start? If you asked your new smart device and are still confused by the different types of flight schools, fear not; we can help illuminate your path to finding the right flight school to fit your needs.
One of the best ways to pin down the right flight school is to select one based on how you intend to fly. Start by identifying your ultimate pilot goal.
- Want the feeling of accomplishment that accompanies earning a pilot’s license?
- Will being a pilot help in your business?
- Think you might enjoy teaching others how to fly?
- Do you want to be a corporate pilot?
- Are you a future captain at an airline?
No matter your goal, clearly identify what success means to you and use that to determine where you should begin.
Different types of flight schools have advantages and disadvantages based on your needs. Your decision depends on whether you plan to fly for fun or as a career pilot. There are two numbers you need to know when choosing a flight school: 61 and 141. These refer to the different FAA regulations that direct and control pilot schools.
Any Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) or flight school can train pilots under Part 61. Flight schools can become “FAA-approved” under part 141, which require certain standards to be met under strict regulations. Is one better than the other? That depends on your situation, so let’s take a closer look at the differences.
Part 61 Training
Part 61 flight schools are more flexible. They typically are smaller than their Part 141 counterparts and have a more relaxed atmosphere. Students have more control over their training timeline because flight instructors are typically more willing to work around their schedules. Students training part-time or on an irregular schedule will want to opt for this type of school. The downside is that if your training is more infrequent, you may require extra flight training hours to keep your skills fresh and current. If you need a more flexible schedule, want to fly for personal reasons, or simply enjoy a more laid-back atmosphere, then a Part 61 school might be for you.
Part 141 schools are specifically approved by the FAA to teach certain courses in a structured and organized way. The purpose of Part 141 is to ensure the highest level of student training possible. These courses may be taught on a rigid schedule and at a fast pace. This means that training can often times be accelerated. There are fewer Part 141 schools around, so you may not find one at your local airport. If you desire to have a professional career in aviation and you have the time to dedicate to a more rigid training schedule, this type of school may be more suited to you.
Are the standards the same?
Don’t assume that Part 61 and Part 141 have different training standards. The main difference is in the style of teaching. Both Part 61 and Part 141 require the same standards be met by the student who is learning to fly. Regardless of which type of school you attend, you will need to gain the same aeronautical knowledge and meet the same performance standards when you take your FAA tests.
You can start your journey to become a pilot from your own home and save time and money by taking your FAA knowledge test prior to starting flight lessons. Once you pass your knowledge test, you can find a flight instructor and focus on flying. This means less time between flight lessons and fewer chances to forget what you’ve learned, saving you time and money. The Gleim Online Ground School even offers a a Part 141 option!
Our Online Ground School is a self-directed study course designed to prepare you to pass the FAA knowledge tests. You can use this course to study at your own pace. Once you complete all course requirements, you will be provided with a knowledge test endorsement that will allow you to take the FAA test at a testing center.
The Gleim Part 141 Approved Online Ground School is overseen directly by the FAA to ensure the highest quality of instruction. This course is led by the Gleim Chief Instructor and is particularly useful for students who desire a “classroom-style” experience without having to leave home. The 141 version of this course can be used for aeronautical knowledge credit at a Gleim Part 141 Partnered Flight School under certain circumstances.
Once you have nailed down a flight school–whether at your local airport or in your living room–you can take steps toward achieving your goal of becoming a pilot! Our team of Aviation Training Consultants is here to answer any questions along the way, and if you use either of our Online Ground School options, you will have access to our Chief Instructor whenever you need it.
Our final recommendation is to visit both types of flight schools to see for yourself which one you prefer. Tour the facilities, talk to the staff and flight instructors, and discuss your aviation goals. Don’t let another year slip by without pursuing your dream to become a pilot!
For more information about flight training, visit the Gleim Learn to Fly page.
Written by Callie Wilkes, Gleim Aviation Marketing & STEM Coordinator