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Is Pilot Ground School Required To Become Licensed?

If you’re researching flight schools and certification options, you’ve likely come across the term, “Ground school.” This is the classroom portion of the flight training process, with the other being actual time spent behind the control wheel of an airplane. It’s an important part of turning a novice pilot into a skilled, confident aviator.  But, classroom work isn’t everyone’s favorite activity. In fact, a lot of us become pilots to get out of stuffy situations like these. So, you may be wondering – is ground school even a requirement to become a certified private pilot? The answer isn’t as simple as you might think. Let’s take a look at whether or not you need to attend ground school. 

Do I Need To Attend Ground School?

Each ground school has their own requirements. Whether or not you need to attend ground school will depend on the type of school at which you’re training. However, don’t focus on “needing” to attend ground school as a chore; rather, think about it in terms of “wanting” to attend ground school to become a more proficient flyer. Ground school is important for everyone because it exposes you to critical lessons, theories, and concepts around aviation. Active participation will only make you a safer pilot overall.

Can I do ground school on my own?

Ground school is usually done through a structured course led by a certified flight instructor (CFI). Part 141 schools actually require this, while Part 61 schools allow you to participate in a home-study course or craft a hybrid approach with a CFI. Throughout the flight training process, you’ll have to show a certain level of proficiency around subjects like the principles of flight, meteorology, navigational math, and FAA regulations. At the end of the day, it’s tough learning it all in the sky. Attending even a minimal number of classes will help reinforce these important concepts.

How old do I have to be to attend ground school?

You can attend ground school starting at age 15 to learn to fly airplanes, or 14 years old to fly balloons, gliders, or other types of ultralight aircraft. You will likely need to prove your age before taking any official FAA tests.

How long is pilot ground school?

Ground school coincides with your private pilot flight training, so it normally takes about the same amount of time. You can expect to finish ground school in a few weeks, and no longer than a couple of months with moderate training times.

Can I skip ground school?

You can skip ground school if you’re participating in a Part 61 flight program, which allows you to complete a home-study course if you wish. Part 141 schools, on the other hand, do require ground school since they strictly follow FAA-led coursework. Regardless of which flight school you attend, you will need to show that you have a certain level of aeronautical knowledge by passing the Private Pilot Airplane (PAR) exam. 

What Is The Private Pilot Airplane (PAR) Test?

In order to become officially certified as a private pilot, you must first pass the PAR exam. This is a test consisting of 60 questions, centered around 12 specific subject categories, including Radio Communications, Density Altitude Performance, Aeronautical Decision-Making (ADM), Preflight Planning, and more. The test is multiple choice with three possible answers for each question. Participants get a time limit of two-and-a-half hours and must score at least 70 percent.

What do I need to do before taking the PAR test?

In order to take the PAR test, you must meet the following criteria:


  • Hold a current pilot certificate or statement of accomplishment from an authorized flight school, or a signed endorsement from an FAA-certified instructor.
  • Hold logbook entries by an FAA-certified ground or CFI that communicate positive performance in ground training.


There are testing locations throughout the country – take a look at the FAA’s locator tool to find a testing center near you.

Where can I find PAR test study materials?

The national pass rate for the PAR test is over 90 percent, according to the latest FAA data. Although the majority of private pilot candidates see success with their test results, you should still study hard to become fluent in the many concepts covered in ground school. Add to the fact that you can take the test multiple times if you do fail, and you may not have a strong sense of urgency to pass the test. But, it will save you time and money, in the long run, to get it over with in one try. As such, make sure to study up on the PAR sample questions from the FAA, which is the closest you can get to taking the real thing.

Are you ready to start ground school?

Ground school is a necessary component of the overall flight training process. Let the team at Inflight Pilot Training, the top-rated ground school in Minnesota, help you achieve your goals when it comes to learning to fly. We’ve helped countless students pass their PAR tests and FAA checkrides, so they can go on to become confident, competent aviators. Let our skilled instructors elevate your learning experience as you take to the skies. If you’re interested in learning more about Inflight programs, contact us today or call (952) 698-3000.