Is Ground School required for pilot training?

by | FAQs for Beginners

Is ground school required for pilot training?Is ground school required for pilot training? If you’re thinking about becoming a pilot, you’ve probably heard about ground school and wondering if it’s really necessary. After all, you are researching flight schools so you can learn to fly a plane, not sit on the ground. Finally, if you decide you need ground school, you’ll want to know how to complete it as part of your training. 

What is ground school?

While most people remember the in-flight portion of their training, pilots also need to pass a written test, called the FAA Knowledge Test, before getting their license. Student pilots refer to the studying required to pass the test as ground school, to differentiate it from the inflight portion of their training.

What is the FAA Knowledge Test?

This FAA Knowledge Test is a written test of the theoretical knowledge needed to fly an airplane safely. It consists of sixty multiple choice questions, centered around twelve subjects, including preflight planning, navigation, weather, aviation regulations, radio communications, aircraft systems and more.The test is administered at FAA approved testing centers, and a passing score is seventy percent. You can retake the test if you fail, although over ninety percent of applicants pass the test.

Is ground school required?

There is no requirement for ground school at Part 61 schools, but Part 141 schools are required to provide ground school using a curriculum approved by the FAA. For a Private Pilot learning to fly an airplane or helicopter, the minimum ground school requirement at a Part 141 schools is 35 hours of classroom training.While ground school is not required for students training at Part 61 schools, it’s still a good idea to prepare for the test by the studying the material covered in the Knowledge Test.

How do I complete ground school?

As a student at a Part 61 school, you will have more options to choose from when it comes to ground school. The right option for you will depend on how you like to study and learn new material and how much you want to spend on ground school.The most affordable option is reading the material prepared by the FAA, along with a book of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs). However, because a lot of the material being covered will be new to you, it can be helpful to have additional explanation from trusted and experienced educational resources.Online courses prepared by aviation educators like King Schools and Sportys do a good job of guiding students through the material, and use helpful videos and animations to explain difficult concepts. Online courses are self paced, and a dedicated student can spend as long as they want working through the modules each day.In person courses put on by local flight schools are another good way to study. Structured in a classroom format, students benefit from the interaction and community provided by other people studying for the test. The disadvantage is that these classes are often on weekends or in the evening, so you’ll have to fit into their schedule and timing.Finally, you can choose to pay your instructor to teach you the required material. This is the most expensive option (you’ll be paying your instructor’s hourly rate), but you both tailor the training to suit your learning style and speed.

How long does ground school take?

If you’re using an online ground school or another self study course, the time it takes will depend on how much time you put into your studies. If you’re attending a classroom training, the courses typically take eight to twelve weeks to complete.

How old do I need to be to sign up for ground school?

Pilots studying to fly airplanes can start taking ground school at age 15. The FAA Knowledge Test is good for two years, which means it will still be valid when you take the practical test with your pilot examiner at age 17.

What do I need to take the FAA Knowledge Test?

Here’s what you’ll need when you walk into the test center to take your knowledge test:

  • A signed endorsement from your flight instructor, or;
  • A statement of accomplishment (a certificate) from an authorized flight school, or;
  • (if you are testing for an advanced rating) a current pilot certificate; 

In addition, you’ll need

  • Signed logbook entries from a certified ground or flight instructor showing you are ready for the test, and;
  • A proof of graduation from an approved home study course

How do I find a FAA-approved testing center?

All FAA Knowledge Tests are currently administered by PSI. Click on the Find a Test Center link to find a location near you.

Are you ready to start ground school?

One of the things that makes flying such a great (and challenging) activity is that requires a combination of both physical and theoretical skills. Understanding the material presented in a good ground school is an important part of becoming a safe and competent pilot. Instead of viewing it as a chore, embrace it by learning more about the equipment and environment you will be flying, making you a master of your machine.

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