Please note that regulations are from the applicable FAR/AIM (Federal Air Regulations)
Selection of a flight school is an important consideration in the flight training process. FAA-approved flight school, non certified flying schools, and independent flight instructors conducting flight training in the United States. All flight training is conducted under the regulations outlined in either 14 CFR part 141 or 61. 14 CFR Part 141 flight schools are certified by the FAA. Application for certification is voluntary and the school must meet stringent requirements for personnel, equipment, maintenance, facilities, and teach an established curriculum, which includes a training course approved by the FAA.
It is important to note that schools that are under part 141 are allowed to conduct practical (flight) tests and knowledge based tests (written). What makes these schools beneficial is that you don't have to go out of your way to another school to take the knowledge based tests. More importantly, when taking the practical tests, you will have a gouge from other students that have taken the test from the "in-house" FAA examiners. What is also another benefit of selecting a part 141 school is that they curriculum is structured and their flight courses must be approved by the FAA. One other benefit of this is that you may finish the ratings in fewer hours and less money. For example: A part 141 student is required to have AT LEAST 35 hours. A Part 61 school is required to have AT LEAST 40 hours. HOWEVER the national average to finish a private pilot certificate is about 60-75 hours. If you can finish it in the minimal amount of alloted time, good on ya.
One last very important thing to not about 141 schools is that there are several required "stage checks" that must be administered by a senior instructor. What this means is that after several lessons you are required to go up with a senior instructor that has had over 2 years experience and has passed several tests and demonstrate what you have learned. If you do not perform you are required to go up with him again at a later date after you have had some remedial training. This could cost you money depending on the standards that the senior instructor holds you to are not met, but the standards that you instructor has held you to is met. However, it is almost guaranteed that if you pass the senior instructor test, then you will pass the examiner test due to the stricter guidelines that the senior instructor gives.
Next Article: Part 61 Schools