I know there are a plethora of options to choose an online private pilot ground school, and it can be overwhelming for student pilots.
In this list post, I will clear all the confusion, and ultimately student pilots can pick a ground school that is right 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 students pilots could utilize free resources and free ground school to pass the PPL exam.
Although online PPL ground school is a less pricey alternative for conventional ground school courses, online courses don’t fail to provide fair value for student pilots.
Most importantly you can study from your room at your own convenience.
Best online private pilot ground school.
There are multiple options available online. All of those are good enough to pass the PPL exams, but some are just better than others.
If you don’t have the time to read through the whole article, you can see the following list of course:
- Rod Machado’s 40 Hour eLearning;
- FAA private pilot ground school Part 61;
- Sporty’s private pilot learn to fly;
- King School’s Private Pilot knowledge test prep;
- Gleim’s online private pilot ground school;
- ASA PPL ground school;
- Jeppesen’s private pilot online;
- Gold Seal private pilot ground school;
- FLY8MA PPL ground school – FREE.
In the next section, I only discussed the value of each course 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 very details about each topic.
- For student pilots better comprehension, the animated videos are in natural language.
- With straightforward voiceovers and animated videos, student pilots will absorb all the knowledge by seeing it once.
Hence the course is forty hours long.
You need a course not just to pass the FAA PPL knowledge test. It will help if you have a path that will aid you to be 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 resources that are available 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 this course, with occasional jokes from Rod Machado, is winning the list of online private pilot courses.
Engaging content from Rod Machado made the course even more enjoyable.
You can check the video to have a glance at the Rod Machado’s private pilot online course here.
Instructor: Rod Machado
Course Duration: 40+ Hours
Subscription Access: Lifetime
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.
Traditional style teaching using a whiteboard to explain all details necessary to pass the PPL exam is in this video.
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 teach.
Conventional ground school-style teaching may not be your thing, but for many, this way of teaching best unlike animated footages to comprehend a subject.
The course comes in 5 parts, and I linked to the 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 that you are a proficient pilot and eligible to take the FAA private pilot exam.
For a beginner, so many things will seem difficult to understand in your online private pilot ground school.
Thus benefit of PPL online ground school is that you can rewind and watch again the section you did not understand clearly.
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 kings school. Although king schools course is excellent to acquire knowledge, their video quality is turn off for many students.
Comparing to the King’s school online ground school PPL, this Udemy course has better quality videos and updated resources to aid student pilots.
Why do I like the course?
Because I find this as an opportunity for students who are not training in the USA to take a 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.
For whom this online pilot course by Udemy is not ideal?
If you are at the stage of commercial pilot license or your ATPL, do not buy this course.
This course teaches the fundamentals of aeronautical knowledge and excellent for student pilots. Similarly, rusty private pilots can use this course for a PPL 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 opinion from different pilots.
It’s normal to see various opinions when you see a product that has hundreds of thousands of users.
John King and Martha King has forty years of experience in the aviation industry teaching and training pilots.
There is no doubt the King schools 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 at their first take.
Regardless passing any knowledge test doesn’t only depend on how excellent an instructor is.
It also depends on individuals student pilots that take the online course.
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. I am not complaining about the quality of the footage content but the actual video quality.
Many student pilots complain about the quality of video that seems were recorded in the 80s.
Nevertheless, you can find detailed lessons and excellent techniques to remember specific lessons 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.
Purchasing this course gives you access to King schools aviation library.
Providing tons of study materials at students’ fingertips is typical for most other PPL online courses today. So books alone can’t attract new student pilots to a course anymore.
Today student pilots want tools that can simulate tasks and help students remember better. 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 it is best to purchase the course in a bundle.
The bundle comes with:
- Private pilot test prep training;
- Lessons to prepare student pilots for their check-ride.
To buy the package, you have to count 600 USD.
After you complete the course and pass the three practice test 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
Subscription Access: Lifetime
Sporty’s Private Pilot Learn to fly.
If you did some research online, I guess by now you already read about the sporty’s course.
Sporty’s learn to fly seems the most popular online private pilot ground school.
When many people refer to a single program, then there must be 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 schools outdated looking videos with Sporty’s excellent video quality.
I am not saying Sporty’s is better than King schools. Both these courses are frequently updated to provide up to date information.
But people are judgemental.
Once they watch the 80s type of 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.
But comparing sporty’s with Rod Machado’s eLearning, then I will not say that Sporty’s is the very best in the online PPL ground school market.
Nevertheless, none of the courses I mention in this article is terrible. All of them are excellent quality.
How about the pricing?
But pricing makes a lot of difference—Kings school Vs. Sporty’s course, there is indeed a big difference.
That doesn’t mean sporty’s is not providing quality training online.
Like any other ppl ground school, online sporty’s comes with several resources to prepare for the ppl knowledge test.
- Test prep tools that frequently update test question database to prepare student pilots with all they need to pass the exam;
- Document library that contains books and PDF files that sporty’s claim to be worth more than 300 USD.
Other key factors I believe for the sporty’s online pilot course are they include review notes for each video segment. Review notes is 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.
There are lessons from inside the aircraft to clarify subjects to students in a practical setting.
Once you purchase the course, you can have the course 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. It contains 1000 questions for students to practice, and a detailed explanation in clear English after you answer a question.
CFI from sporty’s include why an answer is right and wrong.
Instructors: Various Instructors from Sporty
Course Duration: 15 Hours
Subscription Access: Lifetime access & Updates
Gleim Aviation Online Ground School.
This private pilot online ground school was created by Gleim aviation.
Being a pioneer in pilot goods Gleim aviation did not fail to make a comprehensive pilot training course online fro private pilots.
This course is created in a way so that the newbie student pilots can prepare themselves for the knowledge test.
As well as Gleim aviation is so confident in their course that they promise you to refund 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 do not need the course anymore.
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 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 the time of your online pilot course again by paying 50% of the original price.
The course contents pilot lesson on the topics:
- Airplanes and Aerodynamics;
- Airplane Instruments, Engines, and Sytems;
- Airports, Air Traffic Control, and Airspace;
- Federal Aviation Regulations;
- Airplane Performance and Weight and Balance;
- Aeromedical Factors and Aeronautical Decision Making (ADM);
- Aviation Weather;
- Aviation Weather Sevices;
- Navigation: Charts and Publications;
- Navigation Systems;
- 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 an online pilot training very interesting for me however the same pilot lessons can be very boring for you.
So choosing an online pilot training course is really up to you, but I have always told my friends in the industry to choose from the two mentioned pilot courses above.
I believe you have decided to get your pilot license and want a heads up on the contents of the private pilot ground school syllabus.
Either you want to know which subjects will be taught to you in the private pilot ground training or simply to 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.
All the subjects mentioned here will be taught in flight schools before you go for your first flight.
I suggest using this syllabus as a guideline for studying in advance and prepare before even you enroll 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 more apparent it will be for you during the real-world flight training.
What is ground school meaning for a pilot?
Ground school for a pilot simply 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.
The most common mean of ground school training today is by actually visiting the flight school and attending the classes there.
By attending scheduled classes and lectures from flight instructors.
Is ground school required for PPL?
YES, regardless of which pilot license you are applying, ground schooling is absolutely required.
Acquiring a private pilot license is not only learning how to fly and controlling an airplane.
You will be issued a pilot’s license when the Civil Aviation Authority is satisfied that you are a safe pilot.
In order to become a safe pilot, you need to have the required knowledge from pilot lessons.
By completing the pilot training ground school, you will be able to pass the FAA knowledge test.
It is not only that the 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.
How much is private pilot ground school?
The cost of private pilot ground school cost really varies from school to school.
Every school has their own hourly rate.
However, the cost of private pilot ground school is very inexpensive compared to the actual flight training.
Because for ground school training you do not have to count money for renting an aircraft, neither for fuel.
Similarly, the flight instructor’s hourly rate in the ground is usually not as high as it is for actual flight instructions.
So the cost of private pilot ground school might be as less as 15 USD per hour.
The flight schools may try to charge more money by compelling you to take more hours of pilot lessons in the ground.
Most of the time that is not necessary but it is just a technique for flight school scams.
On the contrary, it is normal for someone who is applying for a commercial pilot license to have more hours of pilot lessons in the ground school.
Because commercial pilot ground school is more detailed and comprehensive.
On the other hand, it is 21st century and most people have everything just in their palm.
There are online pilot courses available for the convenience of student pilots.
Why do I believe online pilot training is convenient?
Because there are online pilot lessons available today that will allow you to study from the comfort of your room.
You can study at your most convenient time.
Meaning if you are free at midnight and want to take your pilot lessons, you can simply log in to your online ground school program.
Once logged in you can study as long as you want.
However, do not sprint through the full course.
The idea of completing the pilot training online ground school at a fast pace is not good because you may complete the course yet not absorb all the required knowledge.
Now you might be thinking about the cost of online pilot courses.
Is an online pilot training ground school costly?
The truth is online pilot lessons are cheaper than taking ground school with a flight instructor.
Online pilot lessons are cheaper for the fact you have to neither pay for a flight instructor nor the flight school classroom.
You can take the pilot lessons from your preferred place at any time just by using an internet connection and your smartphone.
That is the purpose of having online pilot courses I believe.
It is not that only online pilot ground schools are cheaper, any kind of online schooling is a lot cheaper than going to a real school.
That is also the reason why there are tons of poor quality online training programs available today at a cheaper rate.
You can easily be scammed by purchasing a poor online pilot lessons program and never get a refund.
Therefore before you get scammed by someone choose to buy the online pilot courses I mentioned below.
Private pilot ground school syllabus.
Introduction to aviation is crucial. Flying 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 that during private pilot ground training, students learn the straightforward basics.
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, it is highly likely that you will 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 that.
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 in the ground.
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:
There are generally nine subjects shown during ground training.
Aircraft General Knowledge.
The second chapter of the Jeppesen private pilot book contains all the necessary knowledge required for private pilots to know.
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;
- Flight Instruments:
- Pitot static instruments;
- Gyroscopic instruments;
- Magnetic compass
- Fuel systems:
- Carburetor construction and maintenance;
- Leaning mixture at cruise;
- Carburetor ice;
- Carburetor heat;
- 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;
- Spiral dives
Chapter four in the Jeppesen textbook is “The flight environment,” which is also known as operational procedures.
Knowing operational procedures is essential for student pilots to ensure safety during operation at the airport.
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;
- Filing, opening and choosing a flight plan
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
It is essential to learn how to interpret weather 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;
- Weather services;
- Weather Hazards;
- Moisture & Temperature;
- Air masses;
- Cloud formation;
- Lifting process;
Flight Performance & Planning.
This subject is related to the weight and balance of the aircraft you will be flying as a student pilot.
If you do not will to 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 is the chapter that will teach you how to navigate in the sky.
Flying an airplane is not like driving a car. Unlike driving a car, you are in the sky, and everything will look a lot different from the birds-eye view.
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.
Without knowing how to use visual references outside and not remembering how to use the VOR, you will lose direction in the sky.
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)
- Primary and secondary surveillance radar
The human performance section speaks about the aviation physiology and aeronautical decision making.
Chapter 10 will explain:
- Hypoxia / Hyperventilation;
- Alcohol / Drugs / Medications
- Environmental factors;
- Sensory Sources & Sensory Illusions
- Decompression effects;
- Trapped gases;
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, in a structured private pilot ground school syllabus, there will be a few hours of class on the specific airplane you will be flying during the training.
Your flight instructor will refer you all the relevant notes from the Pilot Operating Handbook of the airplane you are to fly.
Such as if you will be flying a Cessna 172 Skyhawk, then you will need a Cessna 172 Skyhawkw pilot’s operating handbook for a Cessna 172.
There are many things you might have to learn and memorize if required from this pilot’s operating handbook.
Air law and regulations.
Civil aviation regulations is a vital subject. Air law is the first subject that students learn in any pilot training ground school.
Depending on your location, the air regulations are slightly different.
The civil aviation body of the respective country will set the rules and publish them through their website or as publications.
During your ground school classes, you will discover:
- Licenses and permits;
- Licensing standards;
- Medical standards;
- Domestic airspace;
- Classification of airspace;
- Aeronautical information manual;
- Required documents;
This private pilot ground school syllabus is simply a reference for students pilots to study at home.
You can use it to prepare yourself in advance or to review the most important things as a private pilot.