Yes, you can! The Federal Aviation Administration, AKA the group responsible for issuing your pilot’s license, does not require you to have attended a physical ground school in order to sit your private pilot license examination.
Provided you have an endorsement from an existing and certified flight instructor, it doesn’t matter whether you went to ground school in person or studied online. Either way, you’ll be able to take the test with no problem.
That being said, although ground schools are legitimate businesses, they don’t need to be pre-approved by the FAA or authorized in any way in order to operate. It is simply their flight instructors who require FAA certification in order to endorse you.
However, it does also mean you can study from the comfort of your own home, in your own time and at your own pace, which many students may benefit from. It’s up to you to decide whether you’d appreciate the support of a class and instructor.
Can I Do Ground School On My Own?
It is certainly possible to teach yourself all of the content you would learn at ground school. As with many things in life, though, just because you can do something does not mean that you should!
Passing the highly specific and very detailed exam requires a great deal of knowledge in all manner of subjects, each related theoretically to the practice of flying. Surely it would be easier to have a qualified instructor teach you this?
When you can’t afford the costs of attending ground school, either online or in-person, then it might be your only option, in which case you’ll be able to self-study and the FAA certainly allows you to.
Do bear in mind that before you can take your official and final exam, you must have received an official instructor’s endorsement before you are able to complete that last test. This is non-negotiable and you may still have to pay for their time!
When you’re experienced in teaching yourself theory, you might not have anything to worry about, but you’ll need a huge amount of motivation in order to cover all of the subjects required. It’s about knowing if you are disciplined enough to do this!
Does Online Ground School Count?
Yes, it counts in as much as the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) will allow you to take the final pilot’s license exam whether you studied at a physical ground school institution, attended classes online, or taught yourself the content solo.
However, regardless of the format in which you studied for your pilot’s license, you will still need to be signed off by an FAA-certified instructor in order to take the test in the first place. This goes for anybody, not just online ground school attendees.
Therefore, even though you’ll have learned everything you need to know (or at least hopefully!) you still need to get a qualified professional to endorse you before the exam takes place.
You don’t need to have been taught by an instructor for them to endorse you, but you may have to spend some extra cash for them to spend their day observing you, and it could take a couple of hours for you to prove your worth before they’ll sign off!
How Long Is Ground School?
That depends on the method of study you choose! Where attending a physical or online ground school course usually takes around three months minimum in order to get yourself up to scratch, self-studying the course can take a lot longer.
Of course, everybody is different, and where one hopeful pilot is able to pick up the necessary skills in a matter of moments, others might require a little extra help and support in order to head in the right direction.
Choosing to teach yourself the content someone else would deliver to you at ground school usually takes a lot longer, around six months is a decent approximation. This is because (unless you make one!) you aren’t following a structured course.
That being said, the experience you have with flying and the type of learner you are is important. Someone with a pilot for a parent who has been in the cockpit many times already will probably find things much easier than an outright beginner.
Plus, every individual ground school institution is different, with an alternative method of education that offers its own positives and therefore takes a different approach. Spend some time researching to determine which one is best for you.
How Long Is Private Pilot License Ground School?
Unfortunately, there is no specific answer: whilst many students can complete their PPI license in between three and six months, others might require a year or even longer in order to wrap their heads around all of the content entirely.
For participants in a PART 141 ground school course, it may be quicker, as you’re working through a fully planned out, structured syllabus. Pilots have been known to complete the course in a month or less, but of course, everybody is different.
PART 61 flight school, which refers to the act of studying online for your private pilot’s license, is a little more laid back and allows you to study the content at your own pace. As a result, it can take a lot longer to work in this way.
Just because other people can finish and become a fully licensed pilot in a fixed amount of time, doesn’t mean you’ll be able to! We are all different and we all absorb information in our own individual ways, so try not to beat yourself up about it.
At the end of the day, if you rush through ground school you probably won’t pass your final exam. It’s worth it to take your time and ensure you have a firm understanding of everything you need to know. Slow and steady wins the race!
What Is Covered In Ground School?
As the name suggests, ground school is about learning everything you need to about planes before you even start flying one. Essentially, it condenses all of the intricate theories about the way planes work and how the natural world can affect your flying.
Each syllabus is different, but the content you cover will be the same, focusing on not only how aircraft function scientifically and internally, but also the way external factors can impact these functions on a daily basis.
Weather is especially important, in particular regarding reading a weather chart and understanding the science behind sun, wind, rain, snow, and everything else. Then, it’s onto all of the instruments found in a plane, their systems, and how it all works.
Once you’re all good with everything inside the cockpit and outside of the plane itself, it’s on to the real nitty-gritty: aerodynamics, performance, balance… all of the very complicated stuff that was hard to pay attention to in Physics class.
And of course, you also need to have familiarity with the runways themselves, as well as how an airport operates generally… there are plenty of things pilots need to know that you probably never even thought of!
Remember all ground schools are unique: the order and the approach used may be entirely different to that of another establishment, but the information and why it needs to be taught will always remain the same.