Is Flight School Right For Me?


Learning to fly is an exciting opportunity that can lead to many excellent career opportunities. It’s important to receive excellent aviation training. Attending a good flight school will get you started with a solid foundation, and you will feel confident as a pilot. Selecting the right school is challenging, and rushing into a decision can have negative results.

Searching For A Flight School

It helps to have some direction when you start looking at flight schools. What are the reasons you want to learn to fly? Are you planning an aviation career? Do you want to fly for pleasure? Do you plan to buy a plane and fly for business? Do you want full time schooling or just part time? These are some of the questions that will help you choose the right flight school.

Part 61 And Part 141 Flight Schools

According to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), flight schools operate under Part 61 or Part 141 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs). The minimum flight time under Part 61 is 40 hours, and under Part 141 it is 35 hours. This does not mean you will be ready to take and pass your test for a pilot license. The average number of hours is between 60 and 75 hours and determined by your flying frequency and your ability. If you are seeking a commercial pilot license, the Part 61 requirement is 250 hours and Part 141 is 190 hours. There is a distinctive difference between the two schools. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) edits Part 141 schools periodically. The schools are required to use FAA approved course outlines, and they must also meet FAA student pilot performance rates. Part 61 schools offer more flexible schedules and allow part-time students to arrange the various portions of their flying and lessons to meet their time constraints. The FAA paperwork and accountability requirements do not apply to Part 61 schools.

Visit Schools

If you have narrowed your search down to two or three schools, the next step is to visit them. Make an appointment with the admissions office. Jot down every question you can think of and ask them all. Ask what the student to teacher ratio is, how your progress is evaluated, and what are the specifics relating to flying lessons. The job of Admissions is to sell you on the school, but by asking a lot of questions you can see through the marketing to the core of the program.

Once you have decided what type of flying career you want, choose the school that offers the best course to get you to your destination.