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How To Choose A Flight Training Program!

Choosing a flight school is an important consideration when beginning the flight training process. There are a variety of methods to gain flight instruction including FAA-approved training centers, FAA approved pilot schools, non certificated flying schools, as well as independent flight instructors. 

1. 14 CFR Part 142 Training Centers

All flight training must be conducted under the supervision of the FAA and must adhere to the regulations outlined in 14 CFR parts 142, 141, or 61. Training centers operate under 14 CFR part 142 and are certificated by the FAA. In order to be certificated by the FAA training centers must meet stringent requirements for personnel, equipment, maintenance facilities, and must teach a curriculum approved by the FAA. Flight training centers typically utilize simulators as part of their training curriculum. Most flight training done at 14 CFR part 142 training centers is under contract to various airlines or other commercial operators and includes training in transport or turbine aircraft. Many flight training centers also provide flight training for the private pilot certificate, commercial pilot certificate, instrument rating, ATP certificate, multi engine rating, and CFI and CFII ratings.

2. 14 CFR Part 141 Flight Schools

Flight schools operating under 14 CFR part 141 are certificated by the FAA. As with flight training centers, flight schools must undergo a stringent certification process for personnel, equipment, maintenance facilities, and curriculum. The curriculum must follow an established course outline that is approved by the FAA. Certain certificated flight schools may be able to endorse their students for ground school and may be able to administer knowledge and practical tests. 

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3. 14 CFR Part 61 Flight Schools

There are many excellent flight schools that do not wish to apply for the FAA part 141 certification. These flight schools are referred to as part 61 flight schools. Part 61 flight schools have greater flexibility to their counterparts since they are not required to maintain strict flight course and curriculum schedules. Flight schools operating under part 61 must still satisfy minimum flight experience and knowledge-based training requirements to gain a specific pilot license, however, there is flexibility as to how the training may be organized. It is important if pursuing flight training with a part 61 flight school to have a CFI that organizes the flight training in an efficient manner. Failure to do so can be a disadvantage and result in repetitious training and increased cost to the student. Before enrolling in a part 61 flight school, ensure the CFI has a well-documented training syllabus. 

4. Before Enrollment

The quality of training received at a flight school is very important. Before enrolling in any type of flight instruction be sure to take a discovery flight with the flight schools and CFIs that you are thinking of using. Visit the various schools under consideration and talk with management, instructors, and current as well as past students. Request a tour of the flight school facilities and ask to see the fleet. Ask the flight school about their maintenance program for the fleet and inquire about the availability of the aircraft. Ask about hours of operation. During the tour be sure to ask questions and take notes on the answers received as well as any other noteworthy information that is mentioned or observed. Compare all notes and make a final decision based on all of the information acquired. 


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