Training under 61 versus 141

Third Coast Aviation LLC (TCA) is an Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 14 (also known as the Federal Aviation Regulations or FAR) Part 61 flight school providing pilot training within specific learning tracks, including:

  • Private Pilot License  (PPL),
  • Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) rating,
  • Commercial Pilot,
  • Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) certification, and
  • Certified Flight Instructor Instruments (CFII) certification.

Choosing a flight school is a very personal decision with location, available time, and CFI availability of the utmost importance. Since you will be investing a great deal of time and money throughout your flight training experience, it is imperative to analyze your flight training options just as you would for any investment.

The first criteria to understand is that there are two types of flight training options available – the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) specifies that flight schools operate under FAR Part 61 or Part 141 (there is also a FAR Part 142, also known as training academies but for our purposes those are the same as FAR Part 142 schools).

FAR Part 61

Flight schools operating under rules governed by FAR Part 61 are granted more flexibility than FAR Part 141 schools. Under Part 61, the FAA does not require the CFI’s curriculum to follow a syllabus but they must adhere to the FAA’s educational requirements; CFI’s can choose when and where to cover required materials based on student progress.

Part 61 flight school students are not required to complete a formal ground school program.  Because Part 61 students still must pass the FAA practical exam for the license they are training for, it is highly recommended that they complete one of the self study ground schools available or attend a group ground school (TCA provides group ground school classes schedules throughout the year – please see our TCA schedule).

FAR Part 141

Flight schools operating under FAR Part 141 train within a more structured environment and  must operate with an FAA approved syllabus. Instructors and students must adhere to the approved syllabus throughout the entire training. Periodically, a student will take stage checks administered by either the chief flight instructor or his/her designees. Students are also required to complete a certain number of hours of classroom instruction or one-on-one ground instruction with a CFI or Certified Ground School Instructor.

Because FAR Part 141 schools operate under a more structured environment than FAR Part 61 schools, the FAA requires fewer flight training hours.  For example, the FAA requires a minimum of 40 flight hours to obtain a PPL through a Part 61 school vs. the 35 minimum flight hours for Part 141 schools. The hour difference may be insignificant in some cases. The national average indicates that most students require 65 to 70 hours of flight training before the CFI and student feel ready for the private pilot flight exam. Another example of the hour difference is in the commercial pilot license requirement. Part 61 requires 150 hours of flight time while Part 141 has a minimum of 115 flight hours.

When it comes to the FAA check ride, which is the same for all, it doesn’t matter where you learned to fly, only how well.

You and Third Coast Aviation…

These are the basic differences between a FAR Part 61 flight school and a FAR Part 141 flight school. Some part 61 schools simply find it impractical to qualify for a part 141 operating certificate. The beauty here is that you have a choice regarding the structure of your flight training, both school types have their benefits.

Third Coast Aviation LLC believes that providing our student pilots flexibility is the best way to ensure successful completion of your training.  To ensure that you have the ability to achieve your pilot’s license, we:

  • operate under FAR Part 61,
  • provide group ground school classes at convenient times throughout the year,
  • provide an Advanced Aviation Training Device (AATD) as another means of ensuring your competence and safety, and
  • provide a diverse flight line maintained for your safety.

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