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Part 61 or Part 141

Congratulations on wanting to become a pilot!

Only about 1% of the world population and only about 600,000 in the United States will ever get the chance to fly an airplane on their own.

Welcome to an elite club. Earning your wings is likely going to be the highlight of your life and something you will want to brag about to everyone you know! You are about to commit a lot of time, energy, and money into your new hobby. Please take a moment to read the following paragraphs to make sure you understand what you are getting into and how you can make the best out of it.

Many students asked the question: what is the difference between Part 61 and Part 141 flight training. “Part” refers to the Code of Federal Regulation which, for aviation, tells pilots what requirements they need to meet in order to receive a license. The basis for flight training is highlighted in Part 61. For example, Part 61.127 specifies that “a person who applies for a commercial pilot certificate with an airplane category and single-engine class rating must log at least 250 hours of flight time as a pilot”. Those hour must consist of a specific mix of time classified as cross-country, pilot-in-command, etc.

A certain number of flight schools in the United States are approved to teach under Part 141. These schools are required to submit a training program to the FAA for special approval. Due to the level of oversight, those schools are allowed to lower the minimum hour requirement from Part 61 and train pilots in less time. The quality of training is usually higher at Part 141 schools due to the constant scrutiny from the FAA. The advantages to you, the customer, is that flight training is more affordable and more structured. Each school receives specific approval from the FAA so there are no established hours for each license. If you are comparing different flight schools, be sure to ask what you are getting for your money. A Private Pilot license at School A may have approval for a Private pilot license for 35 hours while another school has approval for 39 hours. Comparing only dollar amounts doesn’t tell the entire story.