THE Balloon Flight School
In order to answer the question of the benefits of attending a 14 CFR 141 balloon training school for your pilot flight or ground training, first you must know what it is.
14 CFR Part 141 provides for a pilot training school to be certified by the FAA as meeting more stringent standards than other 14 CFR 61 instructors. For example, the chief flight instructor teaching students preparing for a private pilot certificate must have at least 400 hours of pilot-in-command time, must have at least two years and 200 hours of instructing experience and must take a check ride with an FAA inspector before becoming the chief instructor. The hour/experience requirements for teaching to a commercial certificate are even greater.
Statistics show that FAA approved 141 schools have a higher rate of successful completions than other instructors. Also, statistically, 141 schools have fewer students dropping out. So some organizations require that their pilots take training from a Part 141 school.
Any commercial balloon pilot can provide flight training to a student, but a 141 school has to meet specific criteria under the supervision of the FAA: the instructors have to have an annual check ride on instructing; the chief instructor has to take 16 hours of annual ground training; the FAA has to approve the briefing areas, the aircraft used for training, and the training course outline (which means unlike most commercial pilots, a 141 school actually has one); and the FAA does periodic inspections to be sure the extra criteria the 141 school has to conform to has been met on an on-going basis.
When training at a 141 school, you know that they have training experience, and can be more confident that the instruction you get is above average. Because of that, the hour requirements for pilot certification are less than through 14 CFR Part 61. It is possible to get a private certificate in 8 hours instead of 10, and as of August 1998 a commercial in an additional 10 hours. (However, remember that even Part 61 lists the minimum required hours and does not mean every pilot is ready for a certificate in the minimum required number of hours.)
An additional advantage to training at a 141 school is that they usually have the equipment and personnel to devote to training so you can finish in a shorter period of time than with most instructors. By training on a regular basis you will also have the benefit of consistency-the more frequently you fly, the faster you will improve.
A 141 school is a good place to go for initial pilot training, or to polish your skills and knowledge for a commercial rating.
Does going to a 141 school guarantee good training? No, like repair stations, some are much better than others. Knowing the school’s reputation or checking with the school’s former students is a good way to ensure that you are getting a quality school.
By Elizabeth Wright-Smith
Why a 141 school? No, What is a 141 school?
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