For most, learning to fly is done as a fun and challenging recreational pursuit that also offers business and family travel benefits. For others, it is the beginning of a career path. Before selecting a school, you should consider your reasons for learning to fly, your learning style, and your lifestyle, as these factors will affect the type, and perhaps even the location of the school you choose to attend.
You will hear flight schools describe themselves as operating under Part 141 or Part 61. The terms Part 141 and 61 refer to the Federal Aviation Regulations under which the training is conducted. Both are approved to instruct candidates for pilot certificates. Another term used is ab initio training. Ab initio training means a student is trained from zero time to the point of being ready to step into an airline career job.
Part 141 Advantages
Under Part 141 of the Federal Aviation Regulations, a flight school is required to follow a more structured paperwork regime, maintain proper classroom facilities, and more stringent curriculum requirements. For this added oversight and structure, the regulations allow the school to qualify a private pilot candidate in as few as 35 (instead of 40) hours and a commercial license in as little as 190 (instead of 250) hours. Of course, the ability to qualify students in less time is no guarantee that a Part 141 student will have the skills to avail themselves of this advantage. Another advantage of Part 141 schools is that they can sponsor J1 and the new M-1 visas. Many Part 141 schools also offer VA benefits to qualifying candidates under the Montgomery GI Bill.
Part 61 Advantages
A Part 61 flight school is typically a little less structured than a Part 141 school, but that does not mean that you will not get excellent training at a Part 61 program. In fact, many schools (including ours) offer both Part 141 and Part 61 options. In either case, they must train you to pass the very same practical test and checkride. Training under Part 61 generally allows you more flexibility. There is no requirement for a set flight or ground training schedule, dedicated classroom, stage checks, or supervising staff.
If your goal is to fly for pleasure and occasional business, a less academic, Part 61 environment may be better suited to your time schedule, whereas career-minded students should strongly consider a full-time, structured Part 141 program that gives them the ability to earn all necessary advanced certificates and ratings with the minimum time and money possible. Fortunately Monarch Sky is both a Part 61 & Part 141 FAA approved school, so you have the best of both worlds!
Which is Right For You?
Depending on what type of flying you intend to do in the future, either program may be appropriate. As a general rule, if you do not need to do a Part 141 program, then it will probably be less restrictive to do a Part 61 training program. At Monarch Sky, we conduct all of our training with the same equipment, experienced staff and facilities no matter which program you choose. The following snapshot may assist in helping you choose between Part 61 & 141.