To better understand the two different types of flight training methods, it is helpful to determine exactly what these terms mean.

The term “part” in this case refers to a part of the Federal Aviation Regulations, or FARs. The FARs outline requirements for pilots, flight schools, maintenance requirements, and many other aviation-related topics.

Part 61 of the FARs is all about the regulations for pilot certification. It outlines the topics covered during flight training and the amount of flight hours required to obtain specific flight certificates. Part 141 describes regulations for flight training institutions and flight schools. Under Part 141, a flight school must seek and maintain FAA approval for its training curriculum, syllabus and lesson plans, creating a more structured flight training environment. A Part 61 training environment is less strict, and leaves an instructor with more flexibility to change the training program as he sees fit. Both training programs teach to the same FAA practical test standards.