Is learning to fly a plane on your bucket list? Or, is your dream career becoming a pilot? If you've answered "yes' to either of these questions, you've probably spent some time thinking about whether or not you should go to flight school. But there are different types of flight schools. So, how do you know which type of school you need? Learn how to choose the right flight school and instructor for you.
Know Your Long-Term Goal
Before you can begin looking at different flight school options, you need to know your long-term goals. A few things to consider include:
- Do you want to fly a plane for fun or as a career?
- Will you only be flying locally or will you fly long distances?
- Do you want to train full or part time?
- Will you be buying or renting a plane?
Once you've determined your goals, it's easy to determine what type of pilot's license you need. There are six different types of pilot's licenses: sport, recreational, private, commercial, flight instructor, and airline transport pilot.
If you plan to fly for fun, you can obtain a sports, recreational, or private pilot's license. A sports license allows you to fly light aircrafts, locally, at low altitudes. If you have a sports license, you can only have one passenger in your plane, cannot fly above 10,000 feet, and cannot fly at night. Recreational licenses have similar restrictions, but they allow pilots to fly slightly heavier aircrafts. A private pilot's license requires more extensive training, but it also gives you more options. Private pilots can fly a variety of aircrafts, as long as the have the proper endorsements. Also, a private pilot's license allows you to fly at night, as well as in and out of controlled airports.
Being a pilot can also be a rewarding career, so you might want to consider obtaining a commercial, flight instructor, or airline transport pilot's license. If you want to fly a plane locally or for a skydiving school, you need a commercial license. You can take your education a step further by obtaining a flight instructor's license, which allows you to teach others how to fly. If you plan to become a pilot for a commercial airline, you'll need to obtain a airline transport pilot's license, which is the most advanced pilot's certificate you can obtain.
Part 141 versus Part 61
When you begin researching flight schools, you'll notice that some flight schools advertise their Part 141 status, while others are classified as Part 61 flight schools. The difference between the two is simple. Part 61 flight schools offer a more relaxed training environment that's ideal for part-time students who want to learn how to fly a plane for fun. If you are planning a career in aviation, you should look for a flight school that is Part 141 certified. Part 141 flight schools have a more structured learning environment and more rigorous training, which is needed to become a career pilot.
Regardless of your aviation goals, you need to choose a flight school that fits your needs. If you have any questions or you want to make sure the flight school that you're considering offers everything you need to achieve your goals, you should contact the flight school directly.