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Part 61 VS. Part 141 Flight Schools, What's the Difference?

When looking at flight schools, many prospective pilots will find that some schools advertise themselves as Part 141 schools while others share that they are Part 61 schools. But what does this mean, and how does it affect your flight training?

How to Obtain a Pilot Certificate

Before discussing different flight schools, we must examine what it takes to get a pilot certificate. To obtain a pilot certificate, a student must complete a set amount of ground and air requirements. They must then take and pass a written and practical test known as a checkride. The student will be awarded the certificate sought upon completion of these examinations.

While there are caveats to this process, student pilots generally have to follow this same process to obtain any pilot certificate or rating. All certificates are issued on a pass-fail basis. At the end of the day, all pilots must pass the same tests, whether they went to a prestigious university or learned from an individual Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) unaffiliated with any institution.

If the tests and requirements are the same, why are there different types of flight schools?

Part 61 Flight Schools

The terms Part 61 and 141 come from the US Federal Code of Regulations Chapter 14, which pertains to aviation regulations. Within these regulations are hundreds of parts. Part 61 refers to the minimum requirements for a pilot to obtain specific certifications—part 141 regards flight schools following an FAA-approved syllabus.

Flight schools that operate under part 61 may teach however they, please. What is essential is that the student receives sufficient knowledge to obtain their pilot certificate. These schools generally have created their own syllabus and will work to ensure their students are prepared to pass the necessary exams when the time arises.

Axiom Aviation flight school is a Part 61 school. Here at Axiom Aviation, we have our own syllabus and strive to prepare all our students to become safe pilots with good piloting abilities and judgment skills. By doing so, we have built a reputation of safety and success.

Part 141 Flight Schools

Part 141 flight schools are flight schools that follow FAA-approved syllabi, meaning that every lesson taught has been reviewed and approved by the FAA. These types of programs are generally found at universities, although plenty of independent flight schools offer Part 141 training programs.

The perk that Part 141 programs offer over Part 61 programs is that fewer hours are needed to go to an airline after completing a Part 141 course. The standard hour requirement to obtain an Airline Transport Pilot certificate is 1500. However, if one has completed a Part 141 program, they only need 1,000 flight hours.

This can seem very appealing as most pilots only have around 300 flight hours upon completing flight school. However, it should be noted that Part 141 flight programs almost always take longer to complete than Part 61 programs.

University programs typically take 2 to 4 years to complete. Even the 2-year flight programs require a student to have already done two years of college before starting the program. Since airlines no longer require pilots to have a bachelor's degree, many see the extra time spent in school as a waste.

Part 141 programs at independent flight schools also take longer on average to complete. While exceptions exist, most full-time students attending a Part 141 school will take around two years to complete the program. In contrast, a student earning the same credentials will take approximately one year to complete the program at a Part 61 school such as Axiom Aviation.

Similar to all FAA-approved things, Part 141 schools tend to be more expensive. University programs tend to make it even more costly by including an overpriced degree with the training. While airlines do not currently require a bachelor's degree, this could always change. For this reason, many pilots get their rating at a Part 61 school and then obtain a bachelor's degree online or at a more affordable institution.

Which Type of School is Right For Me?

Students interested in obtaining a degree alongside their flight training may find a university with a Part 141 flight training program appealing. However, a Part 61 school will be the better choice for most people as they tend to be faster, cheaper, and more flexible. While these pilots will have to build 500 more hours before going to an airline, they tend to be at the time-building stage in their careers far sooner than their counterparts that chose to attend a Part 141 school.

Have any questions about flight training? Call or text us at (262)297-4568. Or email us at

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