Flight School vs. Ground School

If you’re working towards your dream of becoming a future aviator the type of pilot you become will depend on your training. In training, you will gain aeronautical knowledge, master flight maneuvers, and acquire habits that will carry you through your aviation career. Although your flight instruction is foundational to learning to fly, you’ll also need ground training. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between flight school and ground school and why you need training from both.

What is Ground School Training?

Before you can fly an airplane alone for the first time, you need to pass a pre-solo knowledge test. The test covers airspace rules and procedures for the airport where you’ll perform your first solo flight. The test also verifies your knowledge of the aircraft you’ll be flying. Aside from this ground school covers many other ground training areas.

  • Private Pilot Ground Training – Before you can get your private pilot license, you’ll need to pass a computerized aeronautical knowledge test. This test covers subjects such as the Federal Aviation Regulations, navigation, radio communication procedures, and aerodynamics.
  • Commercial Pilot Ground Training – In addition to what you learned during your private pilot training, you will need to have knowledge in advanced areas, including performance charts, emergency operations, and how to use air navigation facilities.

What is Flight School Training?

In flight school, you learn how to perform the maneuvers, procedures, and tasks involved with operating an aircraft. You’ll learn how to takeoff, communicate with air traffic control, and recover from stalls. You’ll start off using a flight simulator to get comfortable with the feel of handling a plane with your instructor next to you. After 10 to 40 hours you will be ready to try a solo flight.

  • Private Pilot Flight School Training – After you complete your first solo flight, your training will continue to cover more complex operations, including cross country, night flying, emergency procedures, and instrument maneuvers. Most people will take 60 to 75 flight hours to earn their private pilot certificate.
  • Commercial Pilot Flight School Training – Commercial pilots will go through more intense flight training during flight school. It will include instrument, high altitude, and complex aircraft operations. Commercial flights require flying between different airports, so you’ll need to know how to operate within controlled and uncontrolled airspace. A commercial license will require between 200 and 250 hours of flight hour training.


Pilots need to master the skill of flight and have sound aviation knowledge. Flight and ground school gives you both. Whether you’re getting your license for recreational use or will become a commercial pilot, choosing a qualified flight school makes all the difference in time and money spent. Come visit our Florida campus or Tennessee campus. You can request a tour and see all that CTI has to offer our students.

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