Part 61 vs. Part 141 Certification Programs

When it comes to flight training, there is one question that every pilot faces: What’s better a Part 61 or a Part 141 certification?

Not to be confused with Area 51, Part 61 and Part 141 are the terms to designate how a flight school is run. The names come from the sections in the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) rulebook; better known as the Federal Aviation Regulations or FARs.

The FAA has rules they have written out for pilots, aviation transportation operators, and flight schools to follow. When the FAA is talking about flight schools they will operate under either the Part 61 rules or the Part 141 rules. There are a few instances of flight schools that are able to manage both, such as CTI.
Each one has slightly different requirements because of the creation and following of the curriculum. Ultimately, either option will make you a pilot, but figuring out which one is right for you might take some introspection and inspection of the flight school.

Part 141 Features
Although technically this route is called the Part 141 route, another acceptable name would be the FAA Plan. Nobody actually calls it that, but that monicker will make sense once it’s realized that the Part 141 curriculum is written by the FAA. Because the FAA has written out the curriculum, it makes the training much more structured. It’s a rigid timeframe from start to finish. Many times it’s closer to being a typically trade school or collegiate route. Since it’s more structured, it may not be flexible enough for every schedule though. However, the FAA allows for a lower minimum hour requirement for each license. So, to get your Private Pilot License (PPL) it only takes 35 hours; and, 200 hours for the Commercial License. There is also the option of getting a restricted-Airline Transport Pilot (R-ATP) license. This will allow for someone to be hired as a pilot for an airline as a First Officer until they obtain the unrestricted Airline Transport Pilot License (ATP) at a minimum of 1500 hours. If coming from a military aviation background an R-ATP license can be issued with only 750 hours; if the pilot attended a 4-year aviation college then 1000 hours are required for the R-ATP; if the pilot attended a 2-year aviation college then 1250 hours are required to get the R-ATP.

Part 61 Features
Sometimes, a slightly different route to flight training works better. That’s where Part 61 comes in.
The Part 61 flight school offers a much more flexible option. Since the curriculum can be completely customized, the ground school can be taught online. There are numerous options to get the online ground school, which all offer an endorsement for your logbook after completion. This endorsement is what allows you to take your written exam. Scheduling flights is much more flexible as well. The issue is that the hour minimums are higher: 40 hours for PPL; 250 hours for Commercial License; no option for an R-ATP license.

Which is Better?
When it comes down to it, both a Part 141 and a Part 61 flight school will give you the necessary credentials to become a pilot. That’s the primary goal of going to flight school. To know which is “better” is a bit subjective of a question. Some students will learn better with the rigidity of a Part 141 program. Other students will benefit from the schedule flexibility of a Part 61 school. Whichever option is chosen, it can get you to your end goal of becoming a pilot.

Fortunately, CTI offers both options to help you get to where you want to be. So whether you need strict scheduling or flexibility, CTI can get you there. Contact us today for more information!

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