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I just found an ad for a "Learn to Fly Course." Can this course be used INSTEAD OF taking "ground school" at a flight school? On their site it says:

Get Your Written Test Endorsement "... We’ll even give you the flight instructor endorsement to take the written test—right from the course! You can take this endorsement to the FAA testing center, and log it in your ForeFlight logbook."

This seems odd. The flight school I'm looking at charges $1,000 for a few MONTHS of "ground school" (meeting once per week). This online course is 25% of that cost and I can study with it 24/7.

What am I missing here?

Note:
This question was reported as a duplicate. Someone previously asked IF ground school is necessary. That is NOT what I'm asking here. What I am asking here is for a COMPARISON between ONLINE ground school versus IN PERSON ground school. I would like to know if there is some intrinsic value of doing ground school in person versus online or, in other words, if one can adequately replace the other.

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    $\begingroup$ There are two different questions: 1/Is is possible to learn online, 2/Why is the online education price only 25% of the ground school price. For the second question, an element is missing: Do you learn with a remote instructor (who will be paid) or is it self-education with a software or web content? $\endgroup$ – mins Jan 17 '18 at 23:34
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    $\begingroup$ Self education is completely fine. It can save you a lot of money, and you can learn at your own pace before committing to getting a license. Refer to Dave's answer about ground school requirement in part 61 vs 141. And if you hit any questions while studying, you are welcome to ask here! $\endgroup$ – kevin Jan 18 '18 at 1:18
  • $\begingroup$ There many who learns better alone than in groups. At his/her own pace, with audio/video materials. $\endgroup$ – Stone Jan 18 '18 at 7:52
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    $\begingroup$ Which country are you asking about? We already have an answer for the US and for Canada. $\endgroup$ – Pondlife Jan 18 '18 at 15:44
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Here in the states this depends on if you are training at a part 61 school or part 141 school

Strictly speaking there is no ground school requirement for a part 61 school and you are even allowed to study the material on your own. However your instructor must endorse you for the written test so many schools prefer to know that you did at least some ground school usually from them. Online is more than acceptable in this case (especially if they provide you with the endorsement) however its best to talk to your instructor before doing so and make sure they are ok with it.

§61.103 Eligibility requirements: General.

(1) Conducted the training or reviewed the person's home study on the aeronautical knowledge areas listed in §61.105(b) of this part that apply to the aircraft rating sought; and

(2) Certified that the person is prepared for the required knowledge test.

(e) Pass the required knowledge test on the aeronautical knowledge areas listed in §61.105(b) of this part.

For part 141 it depends what they got approved in their curriculum. You can find the full regulation here.

§141.55 Training course: Contents.

In the 141 case you most likely can not complete the training on line due to the fact it wont fall under their approval.

Also of note from this FAA doc

Note: If you are enrolled in a part 141 school with test examining authority, the school will administer the knowledge test during the curriculum.


Its important to note that it does not matter if you are training at a part 61 or part 141 school you end up with the same PPL.


You can find 100% of the information you need to pass the written test for free in the FAA's published handbooks particularly this one.


On a bit of a personal note, I started at a 141 school that shut down about half way through and finished my PPL at a part 61 school (with the same instructor). At the 141 school there was a rigid curriculum and almost always a half hour to hour of ground instruction prior to our flight as dictated by their approved curriculum. At the 61 school I was allowed to work the material at home before hand and come in mainly for my flying but 15 min of discussion usually occurred prior to my flight anyway. I did at least 50% of the ground material on my own and passed the written without any issues but its important to understand what you are undertaking if you go the self study route.

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My wife & I both just studied at home and learned how to answer each question in the Knowledge Exam (the ones you just have to memorize are the worst) (back in ate 1994 for me, sometime in 1995 for her) and knew where the question came from. Being college grads helped, we knew how to study.

Anything we couldn't figure out/didn't understand, we played "stump the instructor" with as part of a flight lesson. we co-owned a C150 at that time. He had no problem signing us off to take the exam after the kinds of questions we asked. Took us both nearly a year of lessons, flying out of a little 1682 foot strip with obstructions on both ends. Had to be really good at landings to get a plane in there before one could solo.

I did the same for my instrument knowledge exam, learned how to answer every question, and asked my instructor during flight lessons (or at work, he was my boss) for the ones I couldn't figure out.

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