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Flying Schools in the USA

Flying in the USA is governed by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration)

Things work a little differently here.  You can apply for your Student License directly through your most convenient Flight Standards District Offices (FSDO), - they do other stuff as well - OR you can ask a Flight School to handle the process for you for a fee.  Click the link above to find your nearest FSDO.


Find your Flight School using this link.  You can search by State, by City, by name of Flight School, or simply click the "Show All" button.

Pilot Licensing is a little different to other countries.

You can so a Sport License, a Recreational License, or a Private Pilot License, (PPL) for personal business, personal travel or a recreational license.  The higher licenses are much the same in all countries, including the USA with a Commercial Pilot License (CPL), or an Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL).

Where can I find FAA's Airman Knowledge Test Questions?

Where can I find FAA's Practical Test Standards?

Search for a specific USA flight school 

or click to Show All button to see the entire, very long list

Pilot Study Tips

How To Study

You should recognize the advantages of planning a definite study program and following it as closely as possible. Haphazard or disorganized study habits usually result in an unsatisfactory score on the knowledge test.

The ideal study program would be to enroll in a formal ground school course. This offers the advantages of a professional instructor as well as facilities and training aids designed for pilot instruction. Many of these schools use audiovisual aids or programmed instruction materials to supplement classroom instruction.

If you are unable to attend a ground school, the self-study method can be satisfactory, provided you obtain the proper study materials and devote a reasonable amount of time to study. You should establish realistic periodic goals and, equally important, a target date for completion. Self-discipline is important because it is too easy to "put off" the study period for some other activity.

When To Take The Test

Experience has shown that the knowledge test is more meaningful, and is more likely to result in a satisfactory grade, if it is taken after beginning the flight portion of the training. For optimum benefit, it is recommended that the knowledge test be taken after the student has completed a solo cross-country flight. The operational knowledge gained by this experience can be used to advantage in the knowledge test.

Where To Take The Test

Computer testing centers have been certified to administer FAA knowledge tests. You will be charged a reasonable fee for the administration of FAA knowledge tests. You can locate a computer testing center Online, or contact the local FSDO for more information.

What The Test Items Are Like

Knowledge tests have only multiple-choice questions. You can practice for the test by reviewing the question bank of test questions.

Pilot Schools Information

Types of Pilot Schools & Choosing a Pilot School

Pilot Training Providers

Pilot training is available on-site at most airports, either through an FAA-certificated (approved) pilot school* or through other training providers. An approved school may be able to provide a greater variety of training aids, dedicated facilities, and more flexibility in scheduling. A number of colleges and universities also provide pilot training as a part of their curricula.

* FAA-approved pilot schools are certificated in accordance with Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations part 141.

Enrollment in an FAA-approved pilot school usually ensures a high quality of training. Approved schools must meet prescribed standards with respect to equipment, facilities, personnel, and curricula. However, individual flight instructors and training companies that are not certificated by the FAA as "pilot schools" may also offer high quality training, but find it impractical to qualify for FAA certification.

Another difference between training provided by FAA-approved pilot schools and other providers is that fewer flight hours are required to be eligible for a pilot certificate when the training is received through an approved school. The flight hour requirement for a private pilot certificate is normally 40 hours, but may be reduced to 35 hours when training with an approved school. However, since most people require 60 to 75 hours of training, this difference may be insignificant.

Check for FAA-approved pilot school locations online, or contact your local FSDO for training providers in your area.

Choosing A Training Provider

You must make your own decision on where to obtain flight training. Once you have decided on a general location, you might want to make a checklist of things to look for in a training provider. By talking to pilots and reading articles in flight magazines, you can make your checklist and evaluate different options. Your choice of a provider might depend on whether you are planning on obtaining a recreational or private certificate or whether you intend to pursue a career as a professional pilot. Another consideration is whether you will train part-time or full-time.

Do not make the mistake of making your determination based on financial concerns alone. The quality of training you receive is very important. Prior to making a final decision, visit the provider you are considering and talk with management, instructors, and students. Evaluate the items on the checklist you developed and then take some time to think things over before making your decision.

After you have decided where you will learn to fly and have made the necessary arrangements, you are ready to start your training. An important fact: ground and flight training should be obtained as regularly and frequently as possible. This assures maximum retention of instruction and the achievement of proficiency with the least expenditure of time and money.

Page last modified: October 09, 2020 12:08:12 PM EDT

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