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Aviation Learning Center Document Student Pilot Guide - FAA-H-8083-27
Author: FAA Date: 1999
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Choosing a Flight School
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Most airports have facilities for flight training conducted by flight schools or individual flight instructors. A school will usually provide a wide variety of training aids, special facilities, and greater flexibility in scheduling. Many colleges and universities also provide flight training as a part of their curricula.

There are two types of flight schools. One is normally referred to as a certificated "part 141 school" and the other as a "part 61 school." A part 141 school has been granted an Air Agency Certificate by the FAA. The certificated schools may qualify for a ground school rating and a flight school rating. In addition, the school may be authorized to give their graduates practical tests and knowledge tests.

AC 140-2, List of Certificated Pilot Schools, lists certificated ground and flight schools and the pilot training courses each school offers.

Enrollment in a certificated school usually ensures quality and continuity of training. These schools meet prescribed standards with respect to equipment, facilities, personnel, and curricula. Many excellent flight schools find it impractical to qualify for the FAA part 141 certificate and are referred to as part 61 schools. One difference between a part 141 school and a part 61 school is that fewer flight hours are required to qualify for a pilot certificate in a certificated school. The requirement for a Private Pilot Certificate is 40 hours in a part 61 school and 35 hours in a certificated school. This difference may be insignificant for a private pilot certificate because the national average indicates most pilots require 60 to 75 hours of flight training.

The FSDO will provide information on the location of pilot training facilities in your area. A current file is maintained on all schools within each FSDO's district. You make the decision on where to obtain flight training. You may want to make a checklist of things to look for in a school. Talking to pilots and reading articles in flight magazines can help you in making your checklist and in the evaluation of a training facility. Your choice of a flight school might depend on whether you are planning to obtain a Recreational Pilot Certificate, Private Pilot Certificate, or whether you intend to pursue a career as a professional pilot. Another consideration is whether you will train part or full time.

Do not make the mistake of making your determination based on financial concerns alone. The quality of training you receive is very important. Prior to making a final decision, visit the school you are considering and talk with management, instructors, and students. Evaluate the items on the checklist you developed, and then take time to think things over before making your decision.

Ground and flight training should be obtained as regularly and frequently as possible. This assures maximum retention of instruction and the achievement of requisite proficiency.

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