Real Answers from Real Pilots

Difference between Part 61 and Part 141 Flight Schools

(Tom) #1

I took an intro lesson a couple weeks back at a local flight school where I may decide to get my Private Pilot’s License before going to a more serious place like ATP to finish getting my Commercial ratings etc.

He threw around a lot of numbers when referring to the different types of Aviation schools, like 141 etc. I honestly don’t remember the exact numbers he mentioned, but I do remember them having something to do with the speed they teach at, maybe something more?

Could someone help clarify these numbers that refer to flight schools? (what they mean, what they do differently from each other)



There are basically 2 types of training programs available in the US, Part 61 and Part 141. Part 141 schools have curriculum that has been approved by the FAA. Every aspect has been signed off and approved and is specifically dictated. (ie, Day you will spend X hrs ground school on ABC, fly X hrs in flight working on DEF etc). The main advantage here is due to the highly structured syllabus you can actually qualify for a license with less time. There are however “Stage Checks” that must be passed throughout the program before you advance. Part 61 gives the school much more flexibility as to what and how they train. The advantage here is since they have the flexibility they can accelerate the training based on the individuals performance. For example if you can master steep turns after 1 hr of instruction the Part 61 school will say great lets move on vs the Part 141 which MUST stick the prescribed number of hours for each maneuver regardless of your ability.

ATP is a Part 61 school as there is no way they could accomplish the same level of training efficiency as a Part 141 school.



I got my private at a part 141 school and it was a nightmare. The paperwork was intense and the stage checks totally unnecessary. Even the 141 promises efficiency it does not deliver. Think about it, it is a government run program :slight_smile:

(Tom) #4

thanks for your advice, I just was curious how long it took you to get your private pilot’s license at your 141 flight school. I’m hoping to start flight school in January, they say it takes about 3-4 months at the most, but we’re going into winter and this probably makes the process a little longer due to weather.

I’ll be honest with you, I really, really, really want to go right to ATP flight school so I can shoot right through it, but the current set-back is an apartment lease that i’m struggling to get out of, keeping me from being able move to another city for ATP. So i’m kind of grounded in Milwaukee for most of next year; this is why i’m looking at Part 141 Flight schools around town instead. And another question: Were you flying part time, and working a job on the side or going to college for Aviation?



It took me eight months to get my private at the 141 school, which is way too long. I can’t see it happening at a small school in four months, but I suppose it is possible. I was training part time while I was attending a non-aviation college.

When does your lease expire? I could see doing your private at a small school and then transferring to ATP for the rest, that is what I did. Which ATP location are you thinking of attending?


(Tom) #6

My lease lasts until August 2nd, 2017 (7 months). Your advice in the second paragraph is EXACTLY what I was thinking of doing.

I still want to check out one other Aviation school in Milwaukee. I already looked at a place in Waukesha WI, which is for a fact a 141. The Instructor I took an intro flight with suggested I check out Gran-Aire because they have better equipment. It’s not clear whether or not this one’s a 141 or 61; are Part 61’s like ATP rare?

There’s a problem with these; they only meet the bare minimum FAA requirement of 40 hours, so i’d need to fly a ton on my own even after I get my license (god knows how much more money & time that would cost).

The Private section at ATP comes out as $13,000, so i’d hope i’d be saving at the very least a little money (not time) by getting the Private elsewhere before joining ATP, but again having to get the additional 40 needed hours makes me worry quite a bit. If you have ANY advice on how to get the extra 40 hours i’d very much appreciate it, as you can see this stupid apartment lease is driving me INSANE. It may not even cover the time I need to complete 80 hours of solo flight in Milwaukee.

As far as location for ATP, that would most likely be in DuPage Illinois. It’s closest to home, plus I have family in Chicago so hopefully they can help me save a boatload of money by NOT housing with ATP. I would also hope ATP sends me elsewhere to instruct, preferably California/Arizona where the weather is far warmer and more consistent, and for the sake of getting out of the Midwest for change!