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Want To Become A Pilot? Here Are 8 Options For Your Flight Training

There are quite a few ways to become a pilot. Here are the 8 options you'll choose from...

International training outside the USA has different pathways and requirements.

1) Local Flight School (Part 61)

An organized Part 61 flight school will likely have a few airplanes, instructors, and a curriculum for you to follow. It's a good option for training at your own pace in a smaller, personal environment. If your goal is not to become a commercial pilot, this is a good option for you.


2) Freelance Instruction At An FBO (Part 61)

If an FBO doesn't have an attached flight school they may have an aircraft for rent and will usually provide a list of local instructors. These flight instructors usually work for themselves under their own small-business management and personalized scheduling.

Swayne Martin

3) Flying Clubs (Part 61)

Flying Clubs are a great way to save money on exclusive aircraft rentals. A small group of pilots will usually make up a flight club and everyone helps share aircraft expenses through monthly or yearly fees. Clubs will usually have a "dry-rate" for the airplane, or cost per hour without gas included. Some large flying clubs have their own instructors for training.

Click Here to use AOPA's Flying Club Finder.

Dirk Vorderstrabe

4) Freelance Instruction In Your Own Airplane (Part 61)

If your goal is to own your own airplane one day or avoid spending money on expensive rentals, buying an airplane might be a good option for you. You can hire a flight instructor to train you in your own airplane under Part 61 regulations.


5) Military Service And Training

If you're eligible, the military is a great option to complete flight training at nearly no personal cost. The real "cost" is associated with required military service that takes many years to complete. You'll leave with the experience necessary to convert your military pilot licenses to civilian ratings.


6) Flight Academy (Part 141)

Numerous flight academies offer standardized training under Part 141 regulations. They're usually large schools with quite a few aircraft, instructors, and facilities. Many Part 141 flight programs will have nearly full-time schooling. These large training academies often hire graduates to become flight instructors who later flow to other professional flight careers.


7) Airline Academy Program (Part 61/141)

A limited number of programs, like JetBlue Gateway Select Training, offer training from 0 hours of flight time all the way to the right seat of a large airliner. These types of training programs are most commonly found in Europe and are just starting to pop up in the United States. They're highly selective and usually require you to sign a contract that obligates you to work for the airline that's paying for your training.


8) University Program (Part 141)

One of the most common methods of training for young pilots is to attend a university-run flight academy. Your degree will likely be related to, or focused on, aviation. If you're looking to combine the college experience and a degree with flight training, this is a great option for you.


Having trouble finding a flight school near you? Click here to use AOPA's Flight School Finder.

Have any suggestions for a new student pilot? Tell them in the comments below.

Swayne Martin

Swayne is an editor at Boldmethod, certified flight instructor, and an Embraer 145 First Officer for a regional airline. He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota in 2018, holds a PIC Type Rating for Cessna Citation Jets (CE-525), and is a former pilot for Mokulele Airlines. He's the author of articles, quizzes and lists on Boldmethod every week. You can reach Swayne at, and follow his flying adventures on his YouTube Channel.

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