A question about FAA 61 from a private pilot

Hello everyone, I’m a new member here!

I have a topic that I’d like to ask about, and I really appreciate any kind of help you can provide.

I hold a PPL and did it in a part 141 school, and after completing it, I put my flight training on hold due to some reasons. Now, I’m planning to resume my training, starting with the instrument rating, and to lower the costs, I’m thinking about joining a part 61 school, so that I can get a part time job and do my flight training as well, with the main priority on my training.

When I was contacting some schools, one of them mentioned to me that part 141 is better for future careers, students who trained under part 141 are preferred to students under part 61.

Is that correct? I’d like to hear some opinions from those of you who know better than me in this regard before I take a decision.

Apologies if this topic has been discussed many times previously, but I couldn’t find something recent, and many threads are locked so I can’t access them and post my questions over there.

Thank you!

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I’m not sure it this is right. It could have been a marketing tactic to get you to study with them.

Some of these IRL pilots will know more than me, hopefully they can help!

@schloopy91 and @DeerCrusher help is needed.


Also welcome to the community! Contact me for anything :)

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@anon71974898 will also be a great help

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Thank you for the welcome and for your opinion, Alec!

I was also thinking the same, as the school operates both parts, and then he mentioned that the instrument ground is not as extensive as the private ground one.

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Thank you for the welcome and for your opinion, Alec!

I was also thinking the same, as the school operates both parts, and then he mentioned that the instrument ground is not as extensive as the private ground one.

Also, thank you for the advice @SWA1997 !

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I’m almost done with my PPL at a 141. IMO, a rating is a rating. Having a rating shows a standard level of skill and competence no matter whether you went through 61 or 141. However, since most 141s have stage checks and 61s tend to be more self-guided, stage check failures might stand out in the future if this applies to you, but isn’t a major concern afaik.

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This is a bit of a marketing tactic IMHO. Most of my instructors were Part 61 all the way to their CFI and are (edit: were, before 2020 hit) mostly happily working at both major and regional airlines. Some even continued as instructors and one even started his own flight school and is loving it.

I’ve done all my training under Part 61, and I don’t regret it one bit. In fact, I created a topic here for people thinking about flying training in the US.

Feel free to PM me with any questions!

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In fact one of the major marketing pushes that Part 141s like to use is that stage check failures won’t go on your “official” FAA record, unlike Part 61 checkride disapprovals. So this is definitely not a concern.

PS: I’m Part 61, and failed my commercial multi add-on once (short-field landings in a DA42 can sometimes be a pain to judge, I landed just a hair too far beyond the mark). I felt super beat up about it - but honestly realised that it won’t really matter, especially if you show training and pass the next time around, like I did.

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Thank you! If I got you correctly, the stage checks is when another instructor sits with you for an hour of ground, then flies with you to examine your progress, right? If so, I did my PPL back in 2019, and at my school, they called them Prog-checks.

For that, and if it’s possible, I will try to arrange something similar with the flight school I will attend as an additional step to make sure that my training is going in the right direction. As for ground and theoretical studies, it doesn’t concern me that much, as I worked as a tutor and have a degree (not related to aviation) so I can do self study with the aid of books and an online course (I bought King’s Schools instrument course, and while it’s not the most fun, it’s very informative, and their test prep package was very helpful in getting a 98 score on the knowledge test!)

I’ve saved some cash and invested in a basic home flight sim to keep my skills as sharp as possible (I’m still new to the simulator scene), so I hope that will help.

Good luck with your checkride! Hope you’ll successfully pass it!

Thank you for replying and for offering an expert opinion! I was also not sure about this, but I thought it would be better to ask. I talked to schools who operate part 61 exclusively, and the chief pilot of one of them told me that the main difference is that if I want to work as an ATP (being a 61 graduate), I have to complete the 1500 hours mark, whereas the 141 student can start working from 1000 hours if he or she has a major in an aviation related study.

I do hope that my next flight school will be helpful and provide good training, and I can work things out with my future instructor to achieve my goals towards becoming a CFI.

I’ve seen a quote of a pilot about this topic that it shouldn’t matter that much because what matters is the quality of training, and the pilot license doesn’t mention part 61 or 141.

I’m planning to put my main focus on my studying as I want to be done before the end of 2021, but at the same time, I need to have a part time job to lower some of the expenses without interfering that much with my goal.

Not exactly correct. I went to a Part 141 school from Private through Commercial Multi. and I had not real complaints other than the cost. But its aviation, so that’s to be expected. I have met, flown with and spoken with numerous pilots who have attended both 141 and 61 flight schools. And honestly its pretty well split down the middle. 50-50. Pre-Covid, airlines were on the verge of this “pilot shortage” that we have been hearing for years.

Airlines were eager to get their hands on anyone that was qualified. Did they have the hours? Did their application check all of the boxes required for employment? If yes… you were hired or at least had a very good shot at getting hired. Some airlines will be picky such as Southwest and Fedex where they require or prefer candidates to have a degree of some sort. If its an aviation degree, even better!

That said, on the 61 side, ATP Flight Schools trains pilots under Part 61 regs. The twist is that ATP teaches to the upper end of the spectrum of the chart where training can be more rigorous. But that pays off in the end as airlines are starting to partner and hire more folks from ATP than any other Part 61 flight school.

Word on the street is that ATP is considered to be the pilot mill of the farm. ATP is able to pump out pilots like crazy from start to finish. I never went there, but have heard numerous stories. Nothing but good stuff coming from them. Something to consider if they’re near you.


TLDR; Part 61 and Part 141 will not decide if you get hired with a company or not. If you have the hours and meet the requirements, you will have a very good shot at getting hired.

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It honestly depends on you. I would say though if you’re like me, a full time student, part 61 is the way to go since it offers much more flexibility. You can pretty much fly five times one week, and one time the following and still not be left behind in terms of progress. At some 141 schools the stress in flight training and the stress accumulated in everyday life can be overwhelming.

You should consider the reputation of some school as well. My CFI went to a part 141 school down in Carlsbad, CA and his instructor (19 year old kid) told him to shut up and just fly the plane for 2 hours doing absolutely nothing just so that he (the 19 year old) can build flight time.

PS: I’m just a private pilot so I can’t offer the advice big boy pilots can give you.

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Yes, they’re intended to help you prepare for and simulate the actual FAA checkride.

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Think about why this might be — this time last year, airlines were facing a pilot shortage and were looking to hire pilots at a much hire rate than they will be over the next three or so years. Part 141 grads are eligible for a restricted ATP after 1,000 hours, whereas part 61 grads will need the full 1,500 hours. Last year, it might have been better to go to a 141 program and get hired sooner. Now, you’re going to be well over 1,500 hours before you get hired any way you cut it.

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I would say generally it’s a pointless distinction, save for university part 141 programs. I did my training through ATP as @DeerCrusher mentioned which is part 61 but it really doesn’t feel like it, it’s more firmly structured than plenty of 141 programs out there. I agree with the pilot mill aspect, however I made it through the program with no checkride failures including my instructor tickets and am very happy with my knowledge level and experience, although I will say that I took a lot of knowledge into the program and did plenty of learning on my own.

The major benefit that part 61 offers is flexibility. Say you’re struggling with landings leading up to your solo flight (which is going to be set to happen when you reach a specific number of flight hours or something like that at a 141 school). You don’t really have the option to do focused remedial training outside of what is allocated in the syllabus. Part 61, you and your instructor could just talk about what you need and go fly as much as you want until you both feel confident.

The main selling point of 141 training is efficiency in how quick you get all your ratings, and I would just say that’s not true. Probably the most highly regarded school in the country in terms of training speed (as well as graduate job placements for that matter) is part 61, not 141. I’m well on my way in my professional career with all part 61 licenses.

Btw @DeerCrusher, not sure how long it’s been since you did some research but I would not say the conversation around ATP is ‘nothing but good stuff’ haha, but personally I had a very good experience.

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Can confirm. People are actually starting to look down on ATP in the aviation circles, tbh. Calling it an over-priced so-called pilot mill which doesn’t guarantee you anything more than a regular Part 61, unlike what they advertise.

I think the truth is somewhere in the middle. I don’t think it’s looked down by anyone that is in charge of pilot hiring, their graduates are very well respected as evident by the numerous airline partnerships. I am a cadet with a seniority number for two separate regional airlines, which I was able to obtain with basically no interviews due to where I was coming from. I also have a colleague who successfully interviewed into the United Aviate program, which is brand new and guarantees him a job at United in a couple years and he just got hired at ExpressJet right at 1500 hours despite their furlough situation. Those opportunities are not available to students at mom and pop schools.

As for the price, I also disagree with that, at least when I signed up a couple years ago. I know that it has since increased for fewer multi engine hours and writtens/Jeppeson charts no longer included in the price, but if you want to go all the way through with all 3 instructor ratings, that’s around the price you will pay anywhere.

As for quality of training, it’s entirely luck of the draw and comes down to you and your instructor. My first instructor was fired my first week, but my second one was excellent, I worked with him all the way through and I still talk to him regularly.

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what is a part 141? some sort of code book for FAA?

No you have two types of flight schools part 61 and part 141. Part 61 has a more flexible schedule where you can go at your own pace and part 141 is where there’s more of a structure to it. Main difference is the teaching style not the quality you’ll get from learning at one or the other.

This is what I am participating in currently(kinda). I work for my flight school cleaning planes and get credit towards my training. I havent been doing this since covid though :c. I love the idea of part 61 Schools, they are a great starting place. The part 141 schools are rigorous and fast pace. Their main priority is to get you to the airline and get your PPL and ratings ASAP. If you looking for a better more in depth experience and more one on one work and more time to understand topics. I would recommend doing what I am doing. Getting my PPL with a part 61 then transitioning to part 141 school to get into the airlines as it is cheeper if you already have your PPL.

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in that case i’d go to a part 61 because a 141 will over promise and over guarantee. take your time on it and do 61

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