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Part 61 vs. Part 141: What's the Difference?

By Blue Line Aviation on Mar 7, 2022 11:21:00 AM

If you’re looking into flight training, you’ve probably heard about Part 61 and Part 141. You may be wondering what the difference is and which one is right for you.

According to the FAA, flight schools may operate under either. However, there are differences in instructional style and other distinctions that make it important to understand what each one is.

What Is Part 61?

Part 61 concerns the requirements for certification for pilots, flight instructors and ground instructors. It regulates several types of licenses as to who is eligible, and it establishes the aeronautical knowledge requirements and flight time requirements.

What Is Part 141?

Part 141 is oriented more to the regulation of pilot schools. Part 141 schools are required to use a structured training program and a syllabus. Pilot schools may be certified for a variety of courses for pilots and instructors.

Part 61 vs. Part 141

As a student, you can find training of the same quality under both Parts 61 and 141. However, the two programs offer different experiences in terms of flexibility, instructional style and flight hours requirements, among other factors.


Part 61 offers more flexibility. Trainees may attend part-time as their personal schedule permits. The environment is less structured and the instructor may modify the program to meet a specific student’s needs. Part 141 is more like courses you would take in college. It’s rigorous, and requires full-time attention.


The training in Part 141 is more formal and more highly regulated. The curriculum must be approved by the FAA. There must be classrooms, certified instructors and stage checks. Students must pass stage checks to continue in the course. Part 61 does not require an FAA-approved curriculum. The specifics of the training are much more up to the discretion of the instructor.

Training Time

In general, the length of time is set for a Part 141 class. It’s a formal course where students usually start together and finish the course together. When you start, you know how long the training will take. Since Part 61 is more of a direct iteration between the pilot and the instructor, the length of training is variable. It depends on how often you are available, how quickly you learn and when the instructor thinks you’re ready for the next step.

Flight Time

Because the FAA more rigorously monitors Part 141 training, it allows the flight time requirements to be less stringent. Part 61 requires 40 hours of Private Pilot License flight time and 250 hours of Commercial Pilot License. For Part 141, the requirements are 35 hours for private and 190 hours for commercial.


The cost of Part 141 is set by the school, but the cost of Part 61 is up to the individual instructor. Generally Part 141 training costs less because of the lower flight time requirement. For each type of training, the cost is dependent on the flight school or instructor reputation and the age and condition of the aircraft.

Which Is Best?

Neither program is inherently better. It depends on your goals and how much of your time you’re willing to commit to training. If it’s your ambition to be a commercial pilot, Part 141 is more likely to get you there. However, you’ll need to go to school full-time and put parts of your life on hold. If you’re mainly interested in flying as a hobby, and you plan to stick with your day job, you’ll probably prefer the flexibility of Part 61.

Choose the Right Flight School

It’s important to choose the right program, and it’s doubly important to choose the right flight school. Before you sign up, check out the school’s reputation as well as its instructors, aircraft, location and cost. If it’s your ambition to fly commercially, Blue Line offers Part 141 training with an outstanding commercial test pass rate and an accelerated course option. Learn more about how to start flying for a living!

Blue Line Aviation, established in 2012, is one of only a few flight schools in the world to provide quality flight training programs at an accelerated pace. In as few as five and a half months, students can go from no experience to fully confident and certified pilots, fully prepared for a career in aviation. Schedule a tour of our new state-of-the-art facility (located at 3149B Swift Creek Road, Smithfield, North Carolina) and let your new career take flight. For more inquiries and additional information, please visit our website, find us on social media, or contact Ashley Tucker, our Vice President of Sales and Marketing, at (919) 578-3713 ext. 305.