Part 61 vs Part 141

Part 61 vs. Part 141

Florida Aviation Academy offers two options for flight training: Part 61 or Part 141. Typically, a flight school offers one or the other. However, in some cases, such as at Florida Aviation Academy at KPMP, both types of flight training are available, enabling students, in consultation with the Chief Instructor, to choose the approach that works best for them and their circumstances. While both training programs teach to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Practical Test Standards, the programs are run somewhat differently.

Let’s take a look at each approach.

Part 61

A Part 61 program is more flexible. The FAA publishes a list of Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) that dictates the topics to be covered and regulates the minimum amount of flight hours required. However, in a Part 61 program, the instructor has the flexibility to adapt to your learning style and pace. Instructional materials can be pulled from different sources, and the choice of what to use is at the discretion of the instructor. You also have the ability to schedule training according to what works with your schedule.

Advantages of Part 61 

The main advantage of the Part 61 program is the flexibility. Part 61 allows you to work within your schedule, and the training can be geared toward your needs. In a Part 61 situation, you are in the driver’s seat. It is also most advantageous to those who have already logged flight hours previously, as those hours may be credited towards the requirements of the program you are pursuing. This is a great advantage provided that you are aware of the regulations and process.

Disadvantages of Part 61 

One downside to Part 61 training is that it may be more costly in the long term due to the number of hours required under Part 61 vs. Part 141.  Part 61 training can also mean fewer scheduling options depending on the flight school, instructors, and aircraft to rent.

Part 141

FAA approved Part 141 flight training programs must use an FAA-approved curriculum, syllabus, and lesson plans. Part 141 approved schools are subject to regular surveillance audits, including maintenance inspections, by the FAA. A Part 141 program moves at a faster pace, and the curriculum is designed more for the career-driven student. The FAA regulates the Part 141 program often and makes sure that the programs are meeting the requirements.

Advantages of Part 141 

Part 141 programs can offer a quick and efficient way through training and require fewer hours. For example, private pilot students in a Part 141 program are required to complete 35 hours versus the 40 in a Part 61 program; the commercial pilot certificate can be earned in just 190 hours versus 250 under Part 61. (Keep in mind, however, that you are not guaranteed to need fewer hours; that is still up to you. But the requirement is less.) Another advantage of a Part 141 program is that there is consistency among instructors because the training is regulated by the FAA. That could translate into more options for flying and fewer interruptions. Finally, a Part 141 program must also meet stricter performance ratings; poor performance ratings are considered and dealt with, whereas a Part 61 program is not as regulated.

Disadvantages of Part 141 

There are a few drawbacks to a Part 141 program. One may be that the rapid pace can be overwhelming for some students. Additionally, the rigid training model does not allow for much flexibility with regards to learning style and schedule.

The choice is yours

There really is no right or wrong answer here. You need to give some thought to yourself as a student and your current situation. If you are looking for a flexible, more casual flight training program, you might be best suited to a Part 61. If you’re fired up and determined to go all in, a Part 141 might serve you best. Take into consideration the advantages and disadvantages to both programs, and make the decision that provides you with the best option for success.