Choosing a Flight School

Hello IFC, Today I am going to be sharing some more of my training advice with everyone. The first thing you should do in order to start your journey as a pilot is to find a flight school. There are many options out there and they all cater to different needs. There are mom and pop businesses that have a few planes and a few contract instructors,a part 61 flight school and or part 141 flight school/college. Personally choose the one that is the best fit for what you want to do. If you want to be an airline pilot than a college flight school and doing your training part 141 might be the best for your needs while if you want to just fly around and do it for fun, a part 61 flight school may be best.

Part 61: Usually smaller flight schools that have a few airplanes and instructors. Has to follow all FAA mandated hour requirements for certifications. Example of this would be:
Private Pilots License: 40 hours FAA minimum
Commercial Pilots Cert:250 hours
ATP:1,500 hours

Part141: Most College/University flight Schools. Cost less to go to as you get your certifications in less time. Usually have a big fleet of airplanes and lots of flight instructors. Offer four year degrees as well as two year degrees. They also offer a R-ATP… Example of these would be.

Private Pilot’s Certificate: 30 hours
R-ATP: 1,000 hours (Bachelor’s Degree 4 year accredited part 141)
R-ATP: 1,250 hours (Associates Degree 2 year accredited part 141)

Fill free to ask questions in the comments below?


General Question:

Should I go to Purdue/Embry-Riddle/University Of North Dakota/Ohio State to get a degree in aviation management/business or commercial pilot?

It’s really what you want to do. I suggest commercial pilot but any of those are great

What about ground school? I am enrolled into Gleim Ground school, havent started yet but is it ok for training?

Yes that’s what I’m using for my insturment training through my college. It’s a work on your own study program

This is the only acceptable solution.

@naro Do your work.

If I want my Commercial License, should I get a Master of Science in Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle as my degree?

I plan to attend ATP Flight School in Las Vegas, Nevada or Phoenix, Arizona to become an airline pilot using the Airline Career Pilot Program.

Other than the name, what stands out to you about Embry Riddle? That’s the question you should ask yourself. I never went to Riddle. I got accepted but chose not to go there simply because of the cost it was going to take to attend. Masters degree? Honestly, it isn’t required if your ultimate goal is to be a pilot. A Bachelors will suffice, but hey, a Masters is something that you’d have over Joe Shmoe who has a Bachelors. You’d have that advantage I suppose.

There are many and I mean, MANY other schools that offer the same great education as ER if not better for a lot less. Liberty, UND, SIU, Purdue, Delta State, OSU, The Ohio State University, Auburn, etc. all have excellent Aviation programs.


Embry-Riddle is important to me because all of the pilots that I know have attended Embry-Riddle.

That’s fair. But just realize the cost will be substantially higher than other flight schools. Also keep in mind that just because other pilots that you know went there, it may not be a fit for you and your financial status. Everyone is different. Choosing a flight school is not as easy as saying “I want to go to ABCDE Flight school”. No joke, you have to look at 4 or more schools and compare them. Who has a good safety record? Do they have the degree you’re looking for? Is it affordable? Location of the flight school? What classes will I be taking?

Again, its not as simple as saying, “I’m going to this flight school because I know Jim Bob who went there.” That’s a bad mindset to get in to. While it may be a reputable school, its definitely not the best. I’ve personally met better pilots from the schools that I’ve listed when compare to the ER pilots. Most think they’re a Top Gun pilot. 😂


What you want to get a degree in is totally up to you! If you go to an aviation school like embry riddle than yes a degree in aviation would be good. Commercial license is broad in the US. It basically means “for hire” while an ATP lets you fly the big airlines along with the commercial

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I agree! I’ve gone to three different flight schools and have finally found the one that’s best for me

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Embry-Riddle is definitely my top priority… but costs are a huge issue.

I’m trying to achieve National Merit Semi/Finalist to get scholarships…

Apparently the average (50th Percentile) ACT is around 25 and SAT is 1080…

75th Percentile seems to be 29 ACT and 1320 SAT which I can consistently get but I don’t think it warrants good scholarships.

2017-18 acceptance rate was 66%…

Anyone here have experience with scholarship money at aviation schools? Would be very helpful.

That’s a good point. My Navy command just blacklisted one of the flight schools because of poor maintenance. This means no sailors may attend this school while under this command, pilots nor controllers. We train all NFOs/CSOs so it’s bad.

So does Ground School teach me how to fly? Whats the difference between that and a college, apparently after I complete the program I am signed off to take some theoretical test.

Nooo a ground school gives you the knowledge to understand aviation and flying. You will have to take a written test over this knowledge that you’ve learned and must get a 70 or better on the test. You also must have an instructor endorsement to take it. The actual learning to fly will take place in the airplane with a CFi

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So Ground school gives you the knowledge to fly, and Flight School gives you the skill to fly. Is that correct?

Yes that is correct

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Hey, I’m a current Purdue student within the School of Aviation and Transportation Technology. Just like you, I was looking at Riddle, Western Michigan, North Dakota, and several others. I took a tour at Purdue and absolutely fell in love with it. Statistically speaking, Purdue is number one in most Aviation Majors across the United States and the school lies within Purdue’s Polytechnic Institute which also ranks top of the list for technology related majors.

There’s really 4 main things you can do within the School of Aviation: Professional Flight Technology, Aviation Management, Unmanned Aerial Systems and Aeronautical Engineering Technology (not to be confused with Aeronautical Engineering).

  • Professional Flight - your typical part 141 flight school. Includes lectures along with flight labs where you can log time in aircraft. Typically, students who come in with a private start working on building time but don’t even think about getting your instrument or commercial until your sophomore/junior year. As it is highly regulated under part 141, you have to go at the pace that the University decides. Most come out as a CFI by the end of junior year and continue to build time that way. If you meet the requirements, you are eligible for a R-ATP which will cut you 500 hours for entry into the airlines. A fair warning, the major is extremely narrow with job opportunities; the only real pathway is to becoming a pilot. Lose a medical, lose interest, lose something, and it can all go down to shambles. If you think about it, 500 hours is maybe a year longer of instructing if you are full time. Don’t get me wrong, the Flight program is great, arguably the best, but the reality of things is that you can obtain the exact same thing at a part 61. This doesn’t only go for Purdue but for all 141s.
  • Aviation Management - best one in my opinion (because I’m an Aviation Management major). A very broad study of the aviation industry. Business, ATC, etc. It’s all there at your fingertips. Great professors with a relatively balance-able workload. You can get most general jobs in the industry with this degree and it is for sure more versatile than Flight. If you were wondering, Purdue has a part 61 flight school across the way, and I’m pursuing my certificates there while studying management. It’s great!
  • Unmanned Aerial Systems - pretty small program don’t know too much about this one. You get to work with drones and robots a bunch which could be fun.
  • AET - mechanic school, work on planes, definitely not as difficult as Aeronautical Engineering (which is in a totally different college itself).

As for Riddle, don’t count it out but there are so many more reasons to come to Purdue. I always saw Riddle as a trade school while I was able to get a true college experience with a great School of Aviation behind me. If you are really interested in coming to Purdue, come take a free tour. I remember when I took mine a few years ago, and guess what, now I’m one of the tour leaders! Funny how it came full circle, but yes I truly do like it here and think that you will too. If you have any specific questions, you can drop a message in my inbox.