Part 141 Flight School

One of the first choices you will make in your flight training career is whether or not to seek out and attend a flight school that is an FAA certified Part 141 School.

But what is Part 141 and why is it important? What’s the difference between a Part 141 flight school and a Part 61 school? Briefly, a Part 141 flight school adheres to much more stringent standards than one operating under Part 61. A flight school operating under Part 141 must follow a syllabus approved by the FAA. The school’s chief flight instructor and assistant chief flight instructor must take annual check rides with the local FAA Examiner. Also, the performance of each student is measured through progressive flight exams throughout their training. The Part 141 designation means regular and random FAA inspections of school facilities, aircraft, simulators and training devices, as well as student training records and instructor records.

A Higher Standard

Students attending a Part 141 school are required to complete a minimum number of ground school hours and to follow the training syllabus exactly. Students are likewise required to have a stage check before flying solo for the first time and prior to taking any check rides that have been trained for under the school’s Part 141 syllabus. A stage check is a simulated check ride with a senior instructor and consists of an oral examination and a flight test. This will ensure that you are ready for your check ride (s).

Part 141 schools offer you the highest possible training standards in well-maintained aircraft.

In order for flight schools to ensure the quality of training and to retain their FAA approval, they must maintain at least an 80% first time pass rate for all graduates on FAA flight tests and the examining authority must have a pass rate of 90%. If you are coming to the USA from overseas you will need to find a helicopter flight school that can offer training under Part 141 as these are the only schools that can offer you a visa. Students wishing to attend a Part 141 school are required to provide evidence of their highest level of education.

A Full Time Commitment

Part 61 schools have it easier: students are trained to the standards outlined in the Federal Aviation Regulations. The FARs list what areas of operation and topics will be covered, including the minimum number of hours required for each area. All flight schools can offer training under Part 61 without obtaining special FAA approval. However, they must comply with the statutory requirements under the CFR (code of Federal regulations) and train pilots to the standards of Part 61. Overall, Part 141 schools offer a better choice for the student helicopter pilot.

If you want to fly professionally and you can afford it, it is recommended that you plan training full time for your helicopter ratings. Training full time ensures that you do not have to re-learn skills lost during the intervals between your lessons. This means you will have to give up your day job and spend about eight months to a year in school. It is possible to complete your training on a part time basis but it will take you a lot longer.

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