What is the difference between FAA Part 61 vs. FAA Part 141?

FAA Part 61 and FAA Part 141 refers to sections of the Federal Aviation Regulations. All Flight Schools and all flight instructors initially follow the requirements and train to the requirements of the Federal Aviation Regulations FAA Part 61. Many years ago, a group of very large, successful flight schools approached the FAA with the concept of a second set of regulations. The schools proposed that if they could demonstrate that they maintained a facility that met strict FAA standards, a set curriculum that was FAA approved, retained meticulous records of all student flight and ground lessons, available at all times to FAA inspection, maintained aircraft that met more stringent oversight, and employed teaching techniques and personnel approved by the FAA, that they could reduce the number of required training hours. Thus was born the FAA Part 141 Flight School. Today, just a small fraction of all United States flight schools are FAA Part 141 approved.

You may ask what are the advantages to you as a flight student. There are many…

  • Under FAA Part 141, minimum flight time to earn your Private Pilots License is 35 hours instead of 40 hours for FAA Part 61
  • Under FAA Part 141, minimum flight hours to earn your Instrument Rating is 35 hours instead of 40 hours under FAA Part 61
  • Additionally, under FAA Part 61, students are required to have 50 hours of Cross Country Flight Time prior to receiving their Instrument rating. Under FAA Part 141, there is no such requirement. Therefore, there is a major advantage in time required to earn your instrument rating under FAA Part 141.
  • Under FAA Part 141 minimum flight time to earn your Commercial Rating is 190 hours. Under FAA Part 61, minimum time to earn your Commercial Rating is 250 hours.

By training in a FAA Part 141 environment a student can save at least 60 hours of flight training to earn their commercial certificate. That can represent as much as $13,500.00 in actual savings. But the real advantage is much more. By maintaining the high standards of FAA Part 141, you are receiving flight training based upon an approved, curriculum based program. In every step of your flight training, you will know exactly where you are, every step of the way.

There is another even bigger advantage to a FAA Part 141 program. In today’s environment, flight instructors are moving quickly to careers in aviation. Airlines are hungry for pilots. And so it is not unusual for a student to transition through multiple instructors as they train. Unfortunately, in a FAA Part 61 program, your entire flight training record is contained in your logbook, endorsed by your instructor. Midway through your flight training, if your instructor leaves, your next instructor will be required to review all your skills before he endorses your logbook for your solo, your private pilot flight test and all flight endorsements. In a FAA Part 141 environment, the school retains your flight records and so your flight training is seamless.

We have had many students arrive from other schools for our finish-up program that have said that they started and then had to restart multiple times because their instructor left. While we cannot change the pilot shortage, we can assure that if an instructor leaves, that it does not impact your flight training to the extent that you have to demonstrate all tasks again to your new instructor prior to moving forward. I believe that is the biggest advantage to training under FAA Part 141.