Part 61 vs. 141 Flight Training - Which One is Right For Me?
There are two sets of FAA regulations governing flight schools. They are part 61 and part 141. The most common and least important difference between the two is the minimum flight time required to obtain a private pilot certificate - 40 hours for part 61 and 35 hours for part 141.
The national average to obtain a private pilot certificate is around 55 hours depending on the student ability and frequency of lessons so the minimum required flight time is not a factor.
All flight instructors are licensed by the FAA. They must undergo training and testing to become and remain qualified to instruct student pilots. Part 61 schools are a business that typically rent aircraft and employ licensed flight instructors to conduct flight training. Part 141 schools are also businesses that conduct flight training however the flight school is licensed by the FAA.
Learning to fly at a part 61 school gives you flexibility to meet your schedule and learning abilities. You will be one-on-one with an instructor and can learn at your own pace instead of a classroom with many students. You can schedule at a fast or slow pace and take a little time off when needed to take vacations or meet other personal obligations.
Typically part 141 schools charge more for aircraft rental and flight instruction. This is due to the increased cost of operation due to the FAA requirements.
Both must train pilots to the same standards and must pass the same testing and proficiency set by the FAA.
So whether you choose part 141 or 61 you will get to the same place and the license is the same - it really comes down to personal preference. If you need a structured approach and can afford the cost a 141 school is right for you. If you feel comfortable learning at your own pace and want to save money then a part 61 is the best choice. Most of your flight training will be one on one with an instructor whether you are 141 or 61. You will get the same level of training and become a proficient pilot either way.