Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-certificated pilot schools are regulated in accordance with Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 141. Unlike pilot training conducted under 14 CFR part 61, part 141 pilot schools are required to use a structured training program and syllabus. Part 141 pilot schools may be able to provide a greater variety of training aids and require dedicated training facilities, flight instructor oversight, and FAA-approved course curricula. Colleges and universities, which may offer aviation degrees, often provide pilot training under part 141.
A Part 141 pilot school applicant or current certificate holder may be issued a Part 141 pilot school rating(s) as per 14 CFR Part 141, §141.11 (Part 141 appendices A through J and M) for the following courses:
- Recreational Pilot Course,
- Private Pilot Course,
- Instrument Rating Course,
- Combined Private Pilot and Instrument Rating Course,
- Commercial Pilot Course,
- Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) Course,
- Flight Instructor Course,
- Flight Instructor Instrument Course,
- Ground Instructor Course,
- Additional Aircraft Category or Class Rating Course, and
- Aircraft Type Rating Course.
Note: Part 141 appendix M does not appear in §141.11. However, it is one of the possible certification courses that can be listed on an Air Agency Certificate.
Part 141 Appendix K, Special Preparation Courses:
- Pilot Refresher Course,
- Flight Instructor Refresher Course (FIRC),
- Ground Instructor Refresher Course,
- Agricultural Aircraft Operations Course,
- Rotorcraft External-Load Operations Course,
- Special Operations Course,
- Test Pilot Course, and
- ATP Certification Training Program (CTP).
A certificated Part 141 pilot school or provisional pilot school, upon certification, is issued an Air Agency Certificate and also Part 141 letters of authorization (LOAs), which are standardized letters describing the schools’ operational requirements, conditions and limitations.
Part 141 pilot schools Certification
The 14 CFR Part 141 certification process provides for interaction between the applicant and the FAA from initial inquiry to certificate issuance. The process ensures that programs, systems, and intended methods of compliance are thoroughly reviewed, evaluated, and tested. Any questions about this process should be directed to the nearest Flight Standards District Office (FSDO).
There are 5 phases in the certification process, beginning with pre-application and ending with certificate issuance. Advisory Circular (AC) 141-1 and the Flight Standards Information Management System (FSIMS) (applicable chapter reference below) contain detailed descriptions of the applicant requirements in each phase. The certification process flowchart included below provides an overview of the Part 141 certification process.
- Phase 1 – Pre-application
- In this phase applicants conduct an initial inquiry by first educating themselves on Part 141 requirements, and then contacting their local FAA office and advising of their intent to pursue Part 141 Part pilot schools certification. The Part 141 pilot schools applicant must submit a Letter of Intent. The FAA will arrange for a pre-application meeting with the applicant once it has the necessary resources to proceed with the certification.
- Phase 2 – Formal Application
- In this phase the applicant meets with the FAA for a formal application meeting and submits a completed FAA Form 8420-8 Application for Pilot School Certification to start the certification process along with all required documents for the application.
- Phase 3 – Document Compliance
- In this phase the FAA reviews the submitted certification documents to ensure compliance with Part 141 requirements. If deficiencies are found in the Training Course Outlines or in any other pre-application documents, the FAA will return these documents to the applicant with a letter outlining the deficient areas.
- Phase 4 – Demonstration and Inspection
- In this phase the FAA will arrange with the applicant to inspect the facility. At this point, the FAA expects the Part 141 pilot schools to be complete with all facilities, equipment and personnel in order to obtain and maintain an FAA Form 8000-4. Included in these facilities are the business office and main base of operations, instructors, pilot briefing areas, aeronautical knowledge training facilities, use of airports, and satellite bases. During the inspection, the FAA inspectors will carefully examine the Part 141 pilot schools to ensure that procedures, programs, facilities, equipment and personnel meet FAA requirements, are safe and sufficient for the Training Course Outline to be effective.
- Phase 5 – Certification
- When all the regulatory requirements have been met, the school will be issued a Part 141 pilot schools Air Agency (8000-4) certificate and appropriate Training Specifications (TSpec).
- FAA Form 8420-8, Application for Pilot School Certification
- 8000-4, Air Agency Certificate. (This form is available only to FAA personnel)
- AC 141-1, Part 141 pilot Schools, Application, Certification, and Compliance
- Title 14 CFR Parts 1, 11, 60, 61, 91, 97, and 141.
- AC 61-136, FAA Approval of Aviation Training Devices and Their Use for Training and Experience.
- AC 61-138, Airline Transport Pilot Certification Training Program.
- AC 61-139, Institution of Higher Education’s Application for Authority to Certify its Graduates for an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate with Reduced Aeronautical Experience.
- AC 120-40, Airplane Simulator Qualification.
- AC 120-78, Electronic Signatures, Electronic Recordkeeping, and Electronic Manuals.
- FAA Order 8900.1, Flight Standards Information Management System (FSIMS)
- Volume 2, Air Operator and Air Agency Certification and Application Process
- Chapter 9, Certification of a Part 141 pilot School
- Volume 3, General Technical Administration
- Chapter 18, Operations Specifications
- Section 14, Parts A, B, and D Letters of Authorization for Part 141 pilot Schools
- Chapter 53, Part 141 pilot Schools
- Volume 6, Surveillance