There has long been debate about the advantages of Part 141 training versus Part 61 training. Pilot students are confused by the differences and are therefore unable to determine how to make the most of their benefits.
The following remains the same regardless of your train in Part 141 or Part 61: 1) Written Tests. 2) Oral examination by check. 3) Part of the verification race flight. 4) License issued.
The measure of success is the same in both types of school: 1) Instructors make or break the school. Experienced and knowledgeable instructors are key. 2) Some flight schools have a high dropout rate. Successful schools must have at least 90% of the students who train to obtain the certificates and ratings they have applied for. 3) Aircraft maintenance is important. Students should rarely have flight classes canceled due to aircraft grounding. 4) The record of accidents at school should be zero or close to zero, indicating that the school values its safety.
On the surface, it seems that all helicopter flight schools are very similar. This is why it is so useful to understand the differences between Part 141 and Part 61. The two biggest differences are: 1) Part 141 training requires the adoption of an FAA-approved Training Course Outline (TCO). Part 61 does not require a TCO to be used. 2) The flight school itself and the chief flight instructor must meet strict FAA requirements. Part 61 is not subject to these FAA requirements.
Let's start with Part 61 of helicopter training and flight schools. Today, most US helicopter flight schools are part 61. Many Part 61 helicopter flight schools start with a certified flight instructor and a helicopter. The flight instructor offers individual training for prospective students and teaches the student how to please. If the instructor is good, more students join the school and the owner buys additional helicopters and hires more instructors to meet the demand.
FAA inspections are not required for a Part 61 helicopter flight school. The flight school is free to train its students using the methods chosen. They must follow FAR / AIM flight and training school rules and regulations for Part 61, but are not subject to FAA inspections to confirm that they are doing so.
Part 141 training and flight schools need to meet very specific requirements and standards. The helicopter flight school itself receives a certificate from the Air Agency when it passes FAA inspections. Facilities and aircraft that will be used for Part 141 training are inspected. The chief flight instructor is required to make an annual check with the FAA.
On the training side, the flight school submits a separate and separate FAA Training Course Outline (TCO) for each certificate and / or rating they wish to teach under Part 141. For example, a Private Pilot TCO would be Sent. It contains lesson plans for in-flight and ground training. The flight school would have to send another Instrument TCO if it wanted to teach Instrument classifications in accordance with Part 141.
Do not assume that a Part 141 helicopter flight school offers all its Part 141 certificates and ratings. Many obtain only FAA certification for private, instrument, and commercial certificates. It takes a lot of work for the flight school to create TCO and teach in accordance with Part 141. The FAA requires the flight school to keep extensive student documentation for Part 141, including very detailed information on student progress. This is great for the student. It is time consuming for flight school.
There are some very large flight schools that offer only Part 141 training. They have set up class schedules and teach many students at the same time. They also arranged flight schedules. These few very large flight schools often have a very high ratio of foreign students to domestic students. This is because the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) requires flying schools to be FAA certified as a Part 141 flight school to apply for permission to train international students. The Veterans Association (VA) has the same Part 141 requirement for veterans to use their VA benefits.
Most Part 141 schools also offer Part 61 training for the same programs. For example, you may choose to have your Private Pilot under Part 141 or Part 61. Schools that offer both training methods offer the greatest flexibility to the student.
A student attending a Part 141 helicopter flight school gets all the benefits of attending a Part 141 school, even if he chooses to attend all or part of Part 61 training. This is because the school is subject to random inspections of FAA. They need to maintain their high standards all the time to maintain their certification.
The disadvantage of part 141 training is that TCO must be followed in the written sequence. Every student learns differently, and some people prefer the flexibility of Part 61 training, which allows the student to cover the materials in the proper sequence for themselves.
This brings out another advantage of a flight school that offers training in Part 141 and Part 61. They often use TCO for Part 61 training. This is great for the pilot student because you get the benefit of a summary. FAA-certified training course and at the same time can cover the materials in the order that suits you best.
Another advantage of training at a school that offers both is that you can combine and match your training. For example, I did my private pilot in part 61 because I wanted the flexibility to look at the curriculum. Flight instruments are very structured and have to do with learning procedures, so I chose to do my instrument training in Part 141. I found that the structured approach and learning sequence worked very well for instrument training. I returned to part 61 for my business training.
Learning to fly a helicopter is fun, exciting and expensive. Learn all you can about your helicopter flight school and the programs they offer before making your final decision. Fly safely!