Flight Training: Part 141 vs. Part 61

As a new pilot there are two methods of flight training you can pursue; Part 141 and Part 61. There are pros and cons to each method so to help you decide which type of training is right for you we put together this quick guide.

But before we dive in, let’s take a look at what Part 141 vs. Part 61 even mean.

Both training methods are actually a reference to the regulations that govern them a.k.a. the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs).

FARs govern everything in the world of aviation, from the type of training you receive to when maintenance is required on airplanes.

As you pursue various licenses and ratings you’ll come to know the FARs quite well.

Part 61 outlines exactly what you need for pilot certification while Part 141 governs training from flight schools.

An easy way to look at it is a solo certified flight instructor could train you under Part 61 but if they are not part of an approved Part 141 school, they could not train you under those regulation. 

Only FAA approved flight schools that have met all requirements are able to train under Part 141. 

To figure out which is best for you watch the video below or continue reading.

What is the Difference Between Part 141 and Part 61 Flight Training?

The primary difference between the two is the minimum number of hours you have to fly to become a pilot and the standardized curriculum you’ll be taught.

You’ll learn the same material as you go through both training methods but at a Part 141 school you’ll typically move more quickly.

Both methods require you to meet the same standard of performance to obtain a pilot certificate, and you earn the same exact pilot certificate regardless of which regulations you train under.

Neither system is better than the other; there are pros and cons of both, but ultimately it’s a matter of personal choice. It all depend on your specific needs and goals.

Flight Hours for Part 141 vs. Part 61

Under Part 61 someone pursuing their private pilot needs to fly a minimum of 40 hours. Under Part 141 you only need to fly a minimum of 35.

While this may sound like a huge perk it’s important to note that the national average for obtaining a private pilots license is between 65-70 hours regardless of the type of training.

Part 141 vs part 61 flight training

Where the FAA minimum requirements really matter is if you are going for your commercial certificate.

Under Part 61, you’ll need to log 250 total flight hours. But you can do so in any way you want. Go visit family, take friends flying, go to a fly-in, and have fun with it! 

Under Part 141, you’ll only need to log 190 flight hours, but only if all the hours are flown in the schools approved aircraft, all ratings are attained in the minimum hours, and every flight follows a pre-approved syllabus.

Curriculum for Part 141 vs. Part 61

Part 141 schools offer a very structured training environment.

This can be great for those of you who thrive in more strictly organized settings, but for others – especially those not interested in pursuing a career in aviation – it may be too rigid. 

Many Part 141 schools may not allow you to choose your instructor, however most good ones will allow you to be reassigned to another instructor in cases of incompatibility.

Just getting started with your flight training? Check out our article on the best flight bags for student pilots to help you start collecting the gear you'll need for training.

In order to train students under Part 141 regulations, a flight school must go through a strict FAA approval process, meet certain FAA requirements, and have each curriculum reviewed and approved by the FAA.

In addition, Part 141 schools are subject to regular surveillance audits by the FAA and must meet minimum pass rates on the practical exams.

Learn the difference between part 61 and part 141 flight training

Part 61 instruction on the other hand isn’t generally as strict in organization of the material.

While you’ll learn the same material as part 141, you’re instructor doesn't’ need to follow a specific order and can teach in whatever order they choose.

In general, Part 61 instruction moves at a slower pace.

The main advantage of Part 61 flight training is the added flexibility. Since you aren’t following a strict training plan you can bounce around a bit more in your training.

Part 61 training is particularly well suited for pilots who aren’t planning on working professionally.

So if you’re planning on learning on a part time basis, Part 61 is probably for you.

Still not sure which one is right for you? Nathan, our head of sales is an expert at helping future pilots find the best training to meet their needs. Give him a call or send us a message here.

  • Updated September 25, 2019
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