Flight training school prepares you to earn a pilot certificate. The certification is a four-part process: ground school, a written exam, an oral exam, and a flight test. Flight schools are split into two groups: Part 61 and Part 141. These two groups differ according to the set of FAA regulations under which they operate.
Part 141 flight schools require fewer hours for the various pilot ratings, but they must undergo rigorous audits by the FAA and their curriculum must follow more rules and guidelines. Part 61 flight schools require more hours for a pilot rating, but they are more flexible in their method of instruction, which is often beneficial for the part-time flight student. If you are planning a professional career as a pilot, you should consider a third type of school: nationally accredited training institutions.
The first part of flight training school is ground school. Ground school can be completed in a class with an instructor, or through an at-home course. Before you can take your FAA checkride, you must pass a computer-based FAA airman knowledge test. Your flight training will consist of time in the plane with your instructor. You’ll begin with maneuvers on the ground. Once your instructor considers you ready, you will take your turn in the air.
Make sure you pay attention to the course details before choosing a flight school. Also, take the time to meet your instructor. Flight training school is expensive, so you want to make sure you are getting the most you can for your money. Select a school that matches your personality with a well-maintained aircraft and amiable flight staff.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions about your instructor’s experience and training. Is he a Certified Instrument Instructor (CFII) or just a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI)? You want to feel comfortable with your instructor’s abilities before you begin flying with him. Flight training school is an adventure. Make sure it’s an experience you’ll enjoy and remember.
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