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FAR Part 141 vs Part 61

What’s The Difference? – FAR Part 141 vs Part 61

OCFC is FAA certified Part 141 school. As an FAA certificated Part 141 school, OCFC is approved and participates in the Student and Exchange Visa Information Service (SEVIS) program and is authorized to issue an I-20 form to a prospective student for enrollment into a flight training program under an M-1 visa issued by the US Embassy or an M-1 status within the United States.

To achieve a broad range of general and commercial aviation goals, OCFC offers affordable, safe, convenient and several modes of training to suit the many different needs of our pilots during flight training. OCFC is a Part 141 certified flight school and offers standardized flight training. While Part 141 programs appear more extensive and expensive, students may opt to complete their flight training under Part 61 and set their own schedules.

Essentially there are two types of flight training schools. One is FAA certified and regulated known as Part 141 flight school and the other as Part 61. The word “Part” refers to a part or a chapter within the Federal Aviation regulations. OCFC is certified to train under both sets of regulations.

Part 141 was established to certify flight schools- to develop and establish standardized syllabus, training methods and standards. Part 141 certification governs the certification of the entire school including syllabi, courseware, instructor qualifications, training aircraft models, aircraft maintenance, physical facilities, simulators, record-keeping and more.

Usually, enrollment in a Part 141 school ensures a standardized, higher quality, and continuity of training.  Flight schools approved under part 141 meet the prescribed standards with respect to equipment, facilities, personnel and curriculum and which are reviewed on a regular basis by the Federal Aviation Administration to ensure quality training.

Part 61 on the other hand is an older set of regulations governing flight instructors and their one-on-one training.  Basically, it spells out what you need to know, what flying skills you must develop, and the minimum number of training and solo flight hours.  Any flight instructor can teach under Part 61, doing what he or she fees is appropriate as long as the minimum training is met.  Most schools that solely operate under Part 61 do not meet the requirements of Part 141.

What is Part 141? 

FAR Part 141 describes regulations for flight training institutions and flight schools. Under Part 141, a flight school must seek and maintain FAA approval for its training curriculum, syllabus and lesson plans, creating a more structured flight training environment.

Fewer Hours 

In this highly structured environment, good students can progress towards their ratings faster, often saving thousands of dollars.

  • Private Pilot Certificate: 35 hours minimum
  • Commercial Pilot Certificate: 190 hours minimum
Stable Curriculum 

Part 141 schools are strictly defined environment for accelerated learning. These flight schools are created for career pilots. While both Part 61 and Part 141 are policed by same FAA standards, a Part 141 Flight School can operate more efficiently while training pilots toward a specific career path.

The FAA reviews these schools and their curriculum regularly for consistency, continuity and acceptable practices.

Professional Environment 

Part 141 schools operate with measured certainty. Student must complete stages before they move to the next. Instructors follow an FAA-approved syllabus with identical training standards, which simplifies learning from various instructors.

Part 141 schools must maintain satisfactory performance to meet the FAA’s standards.

Part 141 training can be fast-paced. Standardized learning is accelerated, and students are required to study consistently, resulting in students who earn pilot certificates faster and save money in the process. A much larger percentage of pilots who start flying with a Part 141 finish their ratings.

What is Part 61? 

A Part 61 training environment is less strict, and leaves an instructor with more flexibility to change the training program as he sees fit. Part 61 training must also teach to the same FAA practical test standards.

Additional Hours 

The story unfolds with simple math; a minimum of 65 hours more are required to obtain a Commercial Pilot Certificate. Multiply 65 by the going rate of aircraft rental and the amount you can save is staggering.

  • Private Pilot Certificate: 40 hours minimum
  • Commercial Pilot Certificate: 250 hours minimum
Non-Regulated Curriculum 

While Part 61 Flight Schools must adhere to FAA practical standards for pilots, these schools are not monitored as a Part 141 School. In fact, any pilot with a Certified Flight Instructor rating can call himself a “flight school.” Without the FAA standardization and checks, Part 61 instructors might not be penalized for being sub-par. A high failure rate, for example, may go unnoticed.

Non-Standardized Environment 

Part 61 schools are not required to perform stage checks with a check pilot; you could be learning bad habits.

Part 61 schools are not monitored on their performance, and the only indication a student pilot would have of this is a failed check ride with the FAA, costing you time, money and frustration.

Part 61 schools teach pilots at whatever rate the student wants, often extending the training to double or triple the required minimum hours, and months of additional time. We hear of student pilots who “just never finished getting their license,” which can be more of a factor of a poor learning structure than lack of motivation.

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