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2 Answers

61 vs 141

Asked by: 2633 views Commercial Pilot

My son is just finishing up his instrument ticket and asked me a good question.  Which is a better path to proceed in order to get the commerical.  Obtaining time and training under part 61 or going with a 141 school?

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2 Answers



  1. Sam Dawson on Oct 16, 2012

    There is no “better path” between 61 and 141. It depends on the school. Have your son interview different CFI’s and schools and go with the better fit.

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  2. Scott Friend on Oct 16, 2012

    I agree with Sam says.. and he is a great CFI, he accompanied me on my private pilot dual long xc – and I feel he was by far the best instructor I had during all my private pilot training (and one of the best I have flown with yet).

    The checkride is the same, and pursuant to the PTS regardless if the training was through part 61 or part 141.

    However, there are big differences between the two structures. I earned by ASEL with part 61 training, and went for my IFR rating under part 141.

    A lot of part 61 CFIs and/or schools will use a 141 compliant course. Part 61 has more flexibility, 141 is more structured – but some students have been known to complete part 61 training quicker than others in 141.

    Part 141 has specific check points that require another instructor (usually the chief flight instructor) to perform a stage check. This provides great feedback on a student’s progress. In a part 61, most instructors will agree (or even recommend) having another CFI perform a mock check-ride. Similar.

    I understand that for some Part 141 schools financial aid is available that cannot normally be found in a part 61. The routes for part 141 cross countries need to be published and approved by the administration.

    The biggest difference is the experience requirements. The FAA seems to see that the structure and stage checks make the “quality” of training sufficient to exempt experience.

    I earned by Private certificate in December, and approximately a month later I had my IFR rating. I took about 10 days in a part 141 to get my IFR rating. The training itself could have been completed in 10 days under part 61. I exempted myself from the 50 hours xc experience for the IFR rating. I passed my checkride first attempt (and it was a night-flight checkride). But, I did not feel that I was as competent as I should be.

    While I was legal to fly IFR, I was not feeling competent for IMC (I did get a lot of actual IMC during my training). The reason is that I was inexperienced.

    Now, does 50 hours of cross country make someone a better pilot, not necessarily. But the idea is that the more experiences the better one will be as a pilot.

    The number of hours is not as important as the quality of the experiences. Another comment about my one flight with Sam was he introduced me to actual IMC during that XC flight (thanks to KELP for vectoring us).

    So, there are reasons over one or another, but at the end it is important that we all strive to continue to make ourselves better pilots. I am working on building my EXPERIENCE (not just time) before working on my commercial maneuvers.

    Good luck to your son.

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