Best online pilot courses review.

online pilot courses

Many online private pilot ground school courses exist, and selecting the right one is strenuous for student pilots on a budget.

In this list post, I will clear all the confusion, and ultimately student pilots can pick the right ground school for them.

I listed online ground school for PPL here in two different categories:

  • The paid online private pilot school;
  • Free online pilot courses for PPL;

As a bonus, I also discussed how student pilots could utilize free resources and free ground school to pass the PPL exam.

Although online PPL ground school is less expensive than conventional ground school courses, online courses don’t fail to provide student pilots fair value.

Most importantly, you can study from your room at your convenience.

Best online private pilot ground school.

Multiple online PPL courses are decent to pass the PPL exams, but some are better than others.

If you don’t have the time to read through the whole article, you can see the following list of courses:

In the next section, I only discussed each course’s value and how student pilots can use the resources to pass their FAA PPL exams in their first take.

Rod Machado’s PPL eLearning.

Student pilots struggle to interpret aeronautical topics because everything seems unknown to students initially.

As time passes by, pilots acquire all the necessary knowledge.

You don’t have enough time to absorb all the information naturally from experience.

Thus an online private pilot ground school from Rod Machado can help pilots learn everything quickly.

By quickly, I don’t mean the course is fast-paced.

Commonly physical ground schools are fast-paced, and student pilots fail to keep up with accelerated ground school and naturally become unprepared for the PPL exam.

Rod Machado’s eLearning is not fast-paced because it is a comprehensive course similar to college semesters.

  • The detailed animated videos allow students to understand the exact details about each topic.
  • For student pilots better comprehension, the animated videos are in natural language.
  • With short voiceovers and animated videos, student pilots will absorb all the knowledge by watching once.

Hence the course is forty hours long.

A course is essential to pass the FAA PPL knowledge test, but a well-structured course will help you become a safe and competent pilot.

By watching detailed animation, you will not forget the lessons for years to come.

What is the best part?

The available resources for student pilots to practice what they have learned.

Resources such as:

  • Flight computer simulator;
  • HSI simulator;
  • Glide Distance slider, etc.

Forty hours of learning can quickly become monotonous, but with occasional jokes from Rod Machado, this course is winning the list of online private pilot courses.

Rod Machado’s pleasant presentation made the course more enjoyable.

You can check the video to glance at Rod Machado’s private pilot online course here.

Instructor: Rod Machado

Course Duration: 40+ Hours

Price: $279

Subscription Access: Lifetime


  • best online ground school ppl

FAA Private Pilot Ground School Part 61.

This course is not just for student pilots. Any pilot at any stage of their flight training can refer to this course as a refresher.

Many students prefer traditional style explanation on a whiteboard, and this course is just right for them.

The veteran instructor claims this course is not just to pass the exam but will develop proficient pilots.

I took the course and like the way this instructor teaches.

Traditional ground school learning might not be your thing, but for many, whiteboard explanation is best, unlike animated footage, to comprehend a subject.

The course comes in 5 parts, and I linked to Part 1 of this course. At the end of the Part 1 course, you will find links to the next sections.

Part 6 is optional, and student pilots can have access to Part 6 by private messaging. Part 6 is a written endorsement from the instructor saying you are ready for the FAA private pilot written exam.

For a beginner, so many things will seem difficult to understand in your online private pilot ground school.

Rewind and watch the sections you did not understand is one benefit of PPL online ground schools.

Physical private pilot ground school is not affordable for many. Ground instructors get paid hourly, and student pilots must pay extra if they intend to review a subject.

The quality of the videos and audio in this course is perfect, unlike videos from King’s school. Although the king schools course is excellent for acquiring knowledge, their video quality is a turn-off for many students.

The Udemy course has HD quality videos, unlike the King School’s course.

Why do I like the course?

This course is an opportunity for students not training in the USA to look at Federal Part 61 ground school.

Take pilot lessons from an FAA certified flight instructor, and prepare yourself for the private pilot knowledge test from anywhere in the world.

Is this online pilot course not ideal for you?

If you are at the commercial pilot licensing stage or your ATPL, do not buy this course.

This course teaches only the fundamentals and is excellent for student pilots. Similarly, rusty private pilots can use this course as a refresher.

Instructor: Greg Reverdiau

Course Duration: Total 5 Parts = 34 Hours

Price: Complete 5 Parts = $219.95

Subscription Access: Lifetime


King School’s Online Course.

King schools online private pilot ground school has different opinions from different student pilots.

It’s normal to see various opinions when a product has thousands of users.

John King and Martha King have forty years of experience in the aviation industry teaching and training pilots.

Without a doubt, the King School online private pilot ground school is one of the best courses out there. Anyone who picks this course for their PPL test preparation will pass the exam on their first take.

Regardless, an excellent instructor will not help you pass a knowledge test if you don’t study.

Important aspect is a student pilot’s will and effort to learn.

What makes this course different from other online ground school?

  • Jon King and Martha King has over 40 years of experience teaching and training pilots;
  • An enjoyable and engaging presentation of topics helps student pilots in vivid learning.
  • King school claims that they prepare pilots for the unexpected, whether in actual flight or the FAA Private Pilot knowledge test.

In my opinion, the video quality is the only downside of this online pilot course. The footage content is excellent, but the actual video quality is outdated.

Many student pilots complain about the quality of video that seems from the 80s.

Nevertheless, you can find detailed lessons and excellent techniques to remember specific tasks in this course. An abundance of technical information is available for students to consume.

Ultimately, it comes down to the student pilots whether they will select this course or not.

You can request a full refund within 30 days of your purchase if you don’t like the course materials.

Purchase this course, and you can access the King School aviation library.

Most PPL online courses today provide ample study materials. However, books alone are inadequate to attract student pilots to a course.

On the contrary, student pilots need tools to simulate tasks to clarify certain topics. Hence Rod Machado’s PPL eLearning stands out from other courses.

Let’s consider the pricing of King Schools ground school.

This course is the priciest online ground school among all other ppl ground school courses. Thus the best purchase is often in a bundle.

The bundle comes with:

  1. Private pilot test prep training;
  2. Lessons to prepare student pilots for their check-ride.

To buy the package, you have to count 600 USD.


After completing the course and passings the three practice tests with at least 70% pass marks, King school will issue an endorsement to take the FAA private pilot knowledge test.

Visit here to find more about the course: King School.

Instructors: John King & Martha King

Course Duration: 15 Hours + 6.5 Hours

Price: $600

Subscription Access: Lifetime


Sporty’s Private Pilot Learn to fly.

If you did some research online, I guess by now you have already read about the sporty’s course.

Sporty’s learn to fly seems the most popular online private pilot ground school.

On condition that people refer to a single program means there is a reason behind that.

What is the reason?

Two excellent ground school courses online are:

  • Sporty’s learn to fly; and
  • King Schools test prep.

Student pilots pick any of these two and compare the courses with each other.

What happens next is student pilots compare king School’s outdated-looking videos with Sporty’s excellent video quality.

Both Sporty’s and King school frequently update their content to provide up to date information.

But people are judgemental.

Once they watch the 80s video quality from King School’s, they can promptly think the king school program is outdated.

They think Sporty’s has up to date information in their course.

If I compare Sporty’s with Rod Machado’s eLearning, I will say that Sporty’s is not the best in the online PPL ground school industry.

Nevertheless, none of the courses I mention in this article is terrible. All of them are of excellent quality.

How about the pricing?

The cost makes a lot of difference too—Kings school Vs. Sporty’s course, the cost is indeed a big difference.

Regardless, Sporty’s provides excellent quality training online.

Like any other ppl ground school, online sporty’s comes with several resources to prepare for the ppl knowledge test.

Resources include:

  • Frequent updates of test questions database to prepare student pilots with all they need to pass the exam;
  •  Document library containing books and PDF files that sporty’s claim to be worth more than 300 USD.

Another critical factor for the sporty’s online pilot course is including review notes for each video segment. Review notes are a significant advantage for student pilots.

Students will know which key things are essential in each chapter.

Type of materials.

Sporty’s created video materials combining video recordings in flight and animation for precise comprehension of student pilots.

Sporty includes lessons from inside an aircraft for student pilots to clarify subjects in a practical setting.

Once you purchase the course, you can have the system in several formats. Student pilots can study using smartphones, tablets, smart TV, and personal PCs.

You will have access to all the platforms by just paying once.

How Sporty’s course stands out from others?

The unique thing about this course is the test prep database. Sporty’s has 1000 questions for students to practice and a detailed explanation in clear English after answering a question.

CFI from sporty’s includes why an answer is right and wrong.

Instructors: Various Instructors from Sporty

Course Duration: 15 Hours

Price: $249

Subscription Access: Lifetime access & Updates


Gleim Aviation Online Ground School.

As a pioneer in pilot goods, Gleim aviation did not make a comprehensive pilot training course online for private pilots.

This course is for newbie student pilots to prepare themselves for the FAA knowledge test.

Gleim aviation confidently promises you a refund of your money if you do not pass the FAA knowledge test in your first attempt.

Sounds fair enough.

If you can pass your FAA knowledge test with just one attempt, you no longer need the course.

If you do not pass the test in one attempt, you can ask them for your refund and buy a different pilot course online.

The course is 35 hours long, which is adequate for your private pilot theories.

However, the course will be available to you once paid for 12 months period. If you do not complete the course within 12 months period, the course will expire.

Once expired, you can extend your online pilot course time again by paying 50% of the original price.

The course contents pilot lesson on the topics:

  1. Airplanes and Aerodynamics;
  2. Airplane Instruments, Engines, and Sytems;
  3. Airports, Air Traffic Control, and Airspace;
  4. Federal Aviation Regulations;
  5. Airplane Performance and Weight and Balance;
  6. Aeromedical Factors and Aeronautical Decision Making (ADM);
  7. Aviation Weather;
  8. Aviation Weather Sevices;
  9. Navigation: Charts and Publications;
  10. Navigation Systems;
  11. Cross-Country Flight Planning.

The best online pilot course is the one you find most suitable for you.

A pilot course may be outstanding for me but may not be helpful for you.

I may find online pilot training very interesting. However, the same pilot lessons can be very dull for you.

Though individual student pilot’s preferences matter, I always tell my friends to pick a course from the Top 3 mentioned here.

I believe you have decided to get your pilot license and want a heads up on the ground school syllabus contents.

You want to know which subjects will be taught to you in the private pilot ground training or prepare by yourself. The section of this article will help you stay ahead of your pilot training batch mates.

Similarly, from here, you can evaluate whether you are good enough to start your private pilot training or not.

I have designed this private pilot ground school syllabus as a resource for anyone to guide themselves for private pilot training.

Before going for your first flight, you will learn all the subjects during your ground school training.

Use a syllabus as a guideline, study advance, and prepare before enrolling in a flight training institute.

A step-by-step guide includes the chapters of the Jeppesen Private Pilot textbook and the topics in those particular chapters most important for your private pilot training course.

To become a good pilot, you must always keep learning.

The sooner you master the basics, the better you will do in real-world flight training.

What is ground school meaning for a pilot?

For a pilot, ground school means theory classes for student pilots to gain all the necessary aeronautical knowledge before starting the actual flight.

Student pilots may have pilot lessons through lectures from certified flight instructors or buying online pilot training courses.

Today’s most common form of ground school training is attending scheduled classes and lectures from flight instructors.

RELATED: Physical ground school VS. Online ground school.

Is ground school required for PPL?

YES, regardless of which pilot license you are applying for, ground schooling is required.

Acquiring a private pilot license is not only about learning how to fly and controlling an airplane.

The FAA will issue a pilot’s license once they trust you to be a safe pilot.

To become a safe pilot, you need to have the required knowledge from pilot lessons.

Complete the pilot training ground school, and you can take the FAA knowledge test.

Keep in mind, FAA requires the pilots to pass a knowledge test before issuing a pilot’s license.

Any countries’ civil aviation body will require a student pilot to pass a knowledge test before giving them their desired pilot license.

A smart pilot never stops learning.

Private pilot ground school syllabus.

Introduction to aviation is crucial. Flying on an airplane comes with a lot of accountability.

Even a small error by the pilot in flight can be fatal.

Therefore all the student pilots are taught basics from several subjects to build themselves as incompetent pilots.

The number of subjects to become a private pilot is the same as for becoming a commercial pilot. The only difference is you will learn the straightforward basics during private pilot ground training.

On the other hand, the subjects for a commercial pilot license are more detailed and in-depth.

Why is that?

As a commercial pilot, you will have the responsibility of passengers aboard.

And as a private pilot, you will likely fly by yourself during weekends.

Therefore more responsibility as a commercial pilot requires you to have more knowledge.

However, let’s not talk much about the commercial pilot ground training subjects.

We are here to discuss the private pilot ground school syllabus. Thus let’s begin:

To ease your trouble, I have structured the subjects according to the Jeppesen private pilot book chapters.

I am doing so because the Jeppesen textbook is the most popular book used for private pilot training.

Pupils from flight schools around the world use this book.

I am expecting you to have Jeppesen private pilot book by now.

If you do not have one, order one from Amazon now.

Subjects for private pilot ground training:

Generally, nine subjects are taught in private pilot ground training.

Aircraft General Knowledge.

The second chapter of the Jeppesen private pilot book contains all the necessary knowledge of the private pilots.

This chapter explains the parts of an airplane.

You can learn about:

  • Fuselage Construction;
  • Wing construction;
  • Construction materials;
  • Airplane Powerplant:
    • Types of powerplants;
    • Classification of piston engines;
    • Fundamental engine components and operation;
    • The sequence of engine strokes;
    • Timing;
  • Flight Instruments:
    • Pitot static instruments;
    • Gyroscopic instruments;
    • Magnetic compass
  • Fuel systems:
    • Carburetor construction and maintenance;
    • Leaning mixture at cruise;
    • Carburetor ice;
    • Carburetor heat;
    • Turbocharging;
    • Fuel injection;
  • Hydraulic system;
  • Heat & vent system, etc.
  • Lubrication systems;
  • Ignition systems;
  • Electrical systems;
  • Vacuum systems

Principles of Flight.

Principles of flight are in the third chapter of the Jeppesen book. The name of the section in the book is Aerodynamic principles.

This chapter consists of:

  • Four forces of flight;
    • Theory of lift;
    • Theory of drag;
    • Thrust generation;
    • Weight of the aircraft;
  • Stability of the airplane;
  • Design of the wing;
  • Three axes of the plane;
  • Stability of the aircraft;
    • Longitudinal (Ailerons);
    • Lateral (Elevator);
    • Directional (Rudder);
  • Flight performance:
    • Asymmetric thrust;
    • Precession;
    • Slipstream;
    • Climbing;
    • Gliding;
    • Turns;
    • Stalls;
    • Spins;
    • Spiral dives

Operational procedures.

Chapter four in the Jeppesen textbook is “The flight environment,” also known as operational procedures.

Operational procedures are crucial for student pilots to ensure flight operation safety.

Regardless of where you fly, busy or not congested airspace, this chapter will teach you to be a safe pilot.

In this chapter, you will learn:

  • Safety of flight;
  • Uncontrolled airport procedures;
  • Controlled airport procedures;
  • Aeronautical charts;
  • All special procedures;
  • Types of airspace;
  • Wake turbulence;
  • Jet blast;
  • Taxiing;
  • Filing, opening, and choosing a flight plan

Flight communication.

Chapter five has all the details of safely navigating and how to maintain communication to prevent fatal situations.

This chapter has:

  • Radar and ATC service;
  • Radio procedure;
  • Radio frequencies;
  • Phonetic alphabets;
  • Standard sequences;
  • Distress communications;
  • Priority of communication


Interpreting weather is essential to ensure a safe flight.

Chapter 6 is all about aviation weather. A good pilot knows which weather is safe for flying and which cloud to avoid.

In chapters 6 and 7 of the Jeppesen private pilot textbook, you will learn everything from basic meteorology to weather theory.

The important things to study from these chapters are:

  • The atmosphere;
  • Clouds;
  • Pressure;
  • Wind;
  • Weather services;
  • Metar;
  • Weather Hazards;
  • Moisture & Temperature;
  • Stability;
  • Air masses;
  • Fronts;
  • Cloud formation;
  • Lifting process;
  • Precipitation;
  • Fog;
  • Visibility
  • Thunderstorms;
  • Icing;

Flight Performance & Planning.

This subject is related to the aircraft’s weight and balance you will be flying as a student pilot.

If you do not stall during landing, then chapter eight is all you have to study.

In this chapter, you will study:

  • E6B computer
    • Slide rule side
    • Wind side
  • Electronic computers;
  • Pre-flight planning form;
  • Performance charts
  • Weight & Balance;
  • Cross country planning/ Diversions;
  • Basic plotting exercise


Chapter 9 in the Jeppesen Private Pilot Handbook will teach you how to navigate in the sky.

Airplane flying is not the same as driving a car. You have a bird’s eye view, and everything will look a lot different the first time.

And during the night, your route may be pitch black.

So if you do not learn how to navigate your airplane in the sky, you cannot reach your destination.

You will lose course quickly at night without visual references outside and the inability to use the VOy.

Therefore Chapter 9 will explain:

  • Latitude & longitude;
  • Time Zones;
  • Time & Longitude;
  • Bearings and headings;
  • Rhumb lines & great circle routes;
  • Magnetic compass;
  • Earth’s magnetism;
  • Magnetic dip;
  • Variation & deviation;
  • Allowing for variation and deviation;
  • Compass construction;
  • Northerly turning errors;
  • Acceleration errors;
  • Aviation charts / Maps;
  • Projections / Scale;
  • Chart index / Symbols;
  • Basic plotting.

Chapter 9 also contains sections on the advanced navigation system.

By saying advanced, I mean the radio navigation techniques:

  • Radio Communications;
  • VOR (VHF Omni-directional Range) Navigation;
  • ADF (Automatic direction finder) Navigation;
  • GNSS / GPS (Global Positioning System)
  • WAAS ( The wide-area augmentation system)
  • Transponder;
  • Primary and secondary surveillance radar

Human Performance.

The human performance section speaks about aviation physiology and aeronautical decision-making.

Chapter 10 will explain:

  • Hypoxia / Hyperventilation;
  • Nutrition;
  • Alcohol / Drugs / Medications
  • Environmental factors;
  • Sensory Sources & Sensory Illusions
  • Decompression effects;
  • Trapped gases;
  • G-loc;
  • Fatigue

The list, as mentioned above, is about aviation physiology.

NOW let’s discuss what will you learn from the aeronautical decision-making section of this chapter:

  • The accident chain;
  • The decision making process;
  • Factors affecting decision making;
  • Situational awareness;
  • Stress and stress management;
  • Personality traits;
  • Hazardous attitudes;
  • Managing risk

Lastly, a few hours of class on the specific airplane you will be flying during the training in a structured private pilot ground school syllabus.

Your flight instructor will refer you to all the relevant notes from the Pilot Operating Handbook of the airplane you fly.

If you fly a Cessna 172 Skyhawk, you will need a Cessna 172 Skyhawkw pilot’s operating handbook for a Cessna 172.

You might have to learn and memorize many things if required from this pilot’s operating handbook.

Air law and regulations.

Federal Aviation Regulations is a crucial subject. In pilot training ground school, Air law is the first subject.

The air regulations vary slightly depending on where you fly.

The respective country’s aviation administration will set the rules and publish them through their website or publications.

During your ground school classes, you will discover:

  • Licenses and permits;
  • Ratings;
  • Licensing standards;
  • Medical standards;
  • Domestic airspace;
  • Classification of airspace;
  • Aeronautical information manual;
  • NOTAMs
  • Required documents;
  • Emergencies

A Private pilot ground school syllabus is simply a reference for students pilots studying at home in advance.


5 Replies to “Best online pilot courses review.

  1. Thank you for putting this list together. However, you need to make sure that somebody proof reads or edits your content – there many grammatical errors which make your post appear unprofessional, and therefore (in my mind) makes me skeptical of the content itself. (There is no “Civil Aviation Authority” in the U.S….)


    Eric Hummel

    1. Thank you for reminding me that, Eric. Indeed, the article was never proof-read. I almost forgot to update this page, but your comment was a kind reminder. Thank you again.

  2. Only stupid ppl care about grammatical error. The point and the effort is way more important. This summary is flawless.

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