What to Know About Online Ground Schools

Choosing the Right Online Ground School for Flight Training

Many factors go into choosing the right ground school for your education, especially if the ground school you choose is online. You have to consider the price, the instruction type, if you will receive an instructor endorsement at the end, etc. So, in this blog, we will highlight what to look for in your online ground school and provide the answers that allow you to make the best choice! 

Ground School vs. Flight School 

If you're starting your journey to obtain a private pilot's license, you may have come across two types of schools and wondered what the difference is. While a Ground School and Flight School provide you with the instruction needed to obtain your private pilot's license, they’re entirely different, and you can't start one school without finishing the other. 

What is Ground School 

Before you can fly an airplane alone, you must study and pass the pre-solo knowledge test and computerized aeronautical knowledge test. In addition, everything you need to learn for this exam is covered under Ground School instruction. This schooling covers typical airport/ aircraft procedures, navigation, knowledge of the aircraft you'll be flying, weather, and many other areas of ground aircraft handling. This educational foundation is required and builds confidence in pilots before they turn to the sky. 

What is Flight School 

During flight school, you will utilize what you learned in ground school and start your practical lessons to become proficient in piloting an aircraft. You'll learn tasks involved with operating an aircraft, takeoff & landing procedures, how to communicate with ATC, recover from stalls, etc. This instruction will prepare you for your first solo flight, typically after 15 hours of training with an instructor next to you on the plane. Once you complete your solo flight, your training will advance to trickier maneuvers, long-distance flight, night flying, and more. At the end of flight school, pending instructor examination, you will be deemed ready to take a practice test with an examiner and obtain your private pilot's license. 

Cirrus Airplane on Runway

The Best Online Ground Schools 

Just as it sounds, an online ground school is a regular ground school but features online instruction! When searching, it's essential to analyze your current level of aviation knowledge, the budget you've allowed yourself, and the timeframe you want your course completed. This will allow you to narrow your search and find the school that best meets your needs! Below are just a few more things to consider when looking for the best ground school - 

How many years have they offered online instruction? 

Understanding how long they have been instructing online will allow you to understand the success of the curriculum and see how structured it is. Online instruction is a new practice for many schools, and instructors still get the hang of translating their skills via video camera. 

Will you have lifetime access to the curriculum? 

When you take a course in person, you often purchase books, manuals, etc., and can look back and reference reading materials as often as you need to. With online instruction, readers may be included in the tuition but may only be available online for the course duration. Just be sure to research how your ground school intends to distribute the course materials and determine if that instruction style is right for you. 

What’s their success rate? 

Regardless of the school, you want to succeed, and each school will have different success rates. So when you've narrowed down your choices, reach out and see what those rates are. Many schools also offer a full refund if you do not pass the exam on the first try. 

King Schools Private Pilot Ground School & Test Prep 

King Schools was established in 1975 when John and Martha began flying throughout the country to teach ground school aviation courses to thousands of aspiring pilots. Now, they create video courses and provide several free certificate courses in addition to PPE training. With PPE courses starting at $279, you can access incredible ground school instruction and be on your way to obtaining your license. Read here to see what fellow pilots have to say about King Schools! 

Gleim Aviation Online Ground School

At Gleim Aviation Online Ground School, they strive to go above and beyond the traditional preparation needed to help student pilots pass the required tests. Their team of instructors coordinates safe training, making you a successful, safe pilot in less time. Starting at $124, you immediately have access to a self-directed course to prepare you to pass the FAA knowledge tests. Study at your own pace and take the test with the ultimate confidence. In addition, Gleim is so confident in their instruction that they can guarantee the exam's passing within 30 days of graduation. If you don't pass? Don't worry! They offer a full refund of the purchase price. 

Sporty’s Private Pilot Learn to Fly 

With over 60 years in the aviation industry, Sportys Private Pilot tools will help you become a successful pilot. Their Learn To Fly Private Pilots Test Course is available at the starting price of $279 and includes everything you need to prepare for your written test and earn your pilot certificate. One package contains online ground school instruction, Federal Aviation Administration test prep, and real-world training. Still unsure? Stephen B., a verified purchaser, said this: "Worked great for me. I have about a 1hr commute each way, so I would just put it on and listen. I spent about three weeks reviewing the lessons and taking the tests. Past first try on the FAA test."

Gold Seal Online Ground School

Online Ground School was an innovation in the aviation industry, and Gold Seal was the first of many schools to provide prospective pilots with accessible instruction from the comfort of their homes. They believed that ground school training shouldn't be treated as an afterthought and is equally, if not more, important than flight school. Build your foundation with industry leaders and start your education from home for free! 

ASA Private Pilot Online Ground School

When choosing the ASA Ground School, your online instruction will cover topics such as Aerodynamics, Flight Instruments, Procedures and Airport Operations, Weather, Aircraft Performance, Navigation, Communication Procedures, Test Tips, and more. This knowledge will allow you to become a safe and competent pilot and elevate your foundation or aircraft when you proceed to Flight School. You have two years to complete the course from your registration date and can do so at a pace that works best for you. 

Pilot Institute Online—Private Pilot Made Easy

At the Pilot Institute, they make achieving your Private Pilots License easy. Their online- in-person instruction costs up to $70/hr and includes an additional 35 hours of videos with excellent graphics and animations to simulate real flight experiences and scenarios. Over 11,300 students have taken this course from the comfort of their homes and aced the FAA exam. Participate in practice exams, receive instructor endorsements, and take advantage of lifetime access to the Pilot Institute courses. 

iFlyCoast School 

With several flight schools throughout the United States, iFlyCoast is an excellent choice if you're looking for in-person training by instructors partnered with American Airlines, United Airlines, Mesa Airlines, and more. Their programs offer flexibility for students, so you can choose to train at your own pace and design a program around your availability and flight goals. In addition to aircraft training, advance your education using their flight simulators. Start with zero experience, pick up where you left off, and achieve your PPL at a starting price of $16,669. 

Cessna Flight Simulator

Online Ground School FAQs - 

How long does the online ground school take? 

On average, an online ground school can take anywhere from four weeks to six months to complete depending on the motivation of the student pilot! And this course of learning allows you to review the online materials the ground school provides you with as much as you need. In addition, while attending ground school, you will likely train on a flight simulator to help prepare for the FAA written exam. 

Can you do ground school online? 

Yes! The Federal Aviation Administration does not require student pilots to take an in-person ground school to sit for an aeronautical knowledge test. However, you will need an endorsement from your flight instructor before taking the exam. Many online ground schools, such as MZeroA, Gold Seal, Gleim, and Sporty’s, will provide endorsements to students upon the completion of their course. In addition, they may ask for evidence such as practice exams to prove you have reviewed the materials and are proficient with the information.

What does ground school mean?

While attending ground school, you will be provided with the knowledge and theoretical theories needed to help you succeed as a pilot. Some topics include aircraft performance, aircraft instruments, airport operations, charts, weather patterns, etc. This differs from flight school, where you take what you've learned in ground school and apply it to practical flight lessons piloting an aircraft with an instructor. 

What do they teach at ground school?

Your instructors will provide the information needed to pass your aeronautical knowledge test throughout your training course. Information will cover topics such as Federal Aviation Regulations, radio communications, weather patterns, and more. Your training may also include utilizing a flight simulator to familiarize yourself with the mechanics of the aircraft you intend to solo on. 

Is there any free online private pilot ground school?

Yes! Several schools, such as Sling Pilot Academy and Fly8MA, offer free ground school courses to anyone who registers. Sling Pilot Academy, for example, has transitioned to an online ground school via Zoom and offers daily lessons over eight weeks. They also provide the pilot instructor endorsement needed to register for the FAA exam. 

What is the best flight training school?

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is the top choice for aviators, and if you have the budget, it should be at the top of your list. It's also the oldest and largest aviation school on earth.  To apply, the candidate should be a minimum of 18 years old, have a medical certificate, and understand Mathematics and Physics.  

Is flight ground school hard?

According to the AOPA, 80% of student pilots drop out of training each year. However, that's not to say that 80% of pilots find the curriculum challenging to understand. If you set clear goals and find a flight school that aligns with your learning methods, you can find yourself on a great path to success. 

How do I choose a ground school for pilot training?

Everyone is different, and every school will cater to each unique type of pilot. When choosing any school, you want to do yourself justice and research the type of instruction they provide, who will be instructing, what programs they offer to assist your education, and reach out to previous students to learn about their experiences at the school. This information will allow you to understand how they teach and if it will resonate with your preferred learning methods. 

Benefits of visiting a private pilot ground school?

A ground school provides pilots with an educational foundation, and attending in-person courses allows you to access other pilots and instructors who focus on a more hands-on learning approach. Have the opportunity to ask questions right when you have them, listen actively, and limit the distractions that may appear at home. This way of schooling might extend to additional weeks of learning, but the experience is worth it if that's how you best absorb information. 

Will a flight simulator help with ground school? 

Yes! And you should implement it in your daily lessons, especially when you advance to flight school. With a flight simulator, you can modify flight conditions, familiarize yourself with the instruments, and practice communicating with ATC and fellow pilots. This tool will allow you to gain the confidence of a great pilot and prepare you for almost every situation so you can handle it easily. 

RealSimGear Home Flight Simulator

What online courses will teach me how to be an airplane pilot?

To become an airplane pilot, you need to complete Ground School and Flight School Courses, and a school that offers both in multiple price ranges is Pilot Institute. However, you can only take Flight School Courses in person as this instruction is hands-on between instructor, student pilot, and aircraft.