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Differences between Part 61 and Part 141 Flight schools

Differences between Part 61 and Part 141 Flight schools

Differences between Part 61 and Part 141 Flight schools have either or both authorizations.

Part 61 and 141 are sections of the Federal Aviation Regulations. They outline the requirements for an individual to obtain a pilot’s certificate or rating. Each section has it’s own details as to what is required during the training process which will make the candidate eligible to take their checkride. How do they differ? Part 61 is more open when it comes to the overall structure of the training timeline. Any flight instructor can train under Part 61. Given the openness of the training time line, the overall flight experience requirements are slightly higher.

To train under Part 141, a student must be officially be enrolled in a 141 course. Only schools that have been evaluated and approved by the FAA can issue these enrollments. In order for a school to be approved, it must count on a strict syllabus for the training course. The student must follow the syllabus exactly. Given the enforcement of adherence to stringent protocols, the over all experience requirements are less demanding.

The following chart depicts the comparisons for the initial Private Pilot

Flight Experience
Part 61 Part 141
Total Time4035
Solo Flight Time105
Solo Cross Country53
Dual Instruction2020
Night Flying33
Cross Country33
Instrument Instruction33
Cross Country Distances1 flight 100 nm distance1 flight 100nm distance
Take Off/Landings Night10 full stop10 full stop
60 days prior to flight Test33


While choosing, the student should analyze individual study habits and ultimate aviation goals. Benefits to doing a part 61 course mainly concentrate in the flexibility it entitles. If the student needs to skip one lesson and come back to it later or is not able to train on a regular schedule, then the right choice is part 61.

If the student’s ultimate goal is professional flying, having completed a Part 141 course may be preferred by some employers. Sometimes part 141 is a requirement if the student is using financial assistance to pay for his/her training. If the student keeps up with studies and trains on a consistent basis, Part 141 is the correct choice. At completion, either section finishes with a pilot’s certificate with same privileges. Selection depends on the form not the contents.