7 Private pilot license’s online ground schools approved by FAA.
The private pilot license requires ground schooling. Student pilots adhering to FAA PART 61 prefer online ground school. Yet, with too many available options for schooling online, it is challenging to choose a suitable online course. With so-called review articles, knowing what each CFI offers online has made choosing more confusing. Hopefully, from this review article, you can find the appropriate course and pass your knowledge test.
Attributes of a ground school that make a course worthwhile for student pilots:
- Acquire aeronautical knowledge without being overwhelmed;
- Ease of access anywhere from any device to study at your own pace;
- Instructor’s ability to articulate information and explain within a short period;
- Additional resources within a budget;
- Endorsement from a CFI to take the FAA private pilot knowledge test, Passing the knowledge test (written exam) on their first attempt;
- To become proficient in actual flight operations;
- Passing the Checkride with ease;
- Ability to Review as much as you need;
- Lastly, a good customer support in case you need clarification.
At a glance, all online ground schools qualify with all these features. However, expecting everything you need in a single course is not practical. Some CFIs are better at one thing in contrast to others. I’ll point out what to expect from different private pilot license online ground schools in this article so you can choose a suitable one.
Let’s begin by listing the popular online ground schools crucial for building a solid aeronautical foundation.
- Rod Machado’s 40-Hour eLearning: A budget-friendly and detailed private pilot ground school from a veteran flight instructor;
- WiFiCFI Private Pilot: Least expensive with valuable features for student pilots;
- Gold Seal private pilot ground school is detailed to the core for better learning.
- King School’s Private Pilot knowledge test prep: Pricey because it’s from industry experts. Ancient video quality is a turn-off;
- Sporty’s Private Pilot Learn to Fly: A famed pilot shop with experienced flight instructors;
- FLY8MA Private Pilot Ground School: Affordable monthly subscription option with access to different courses.
- Gleim’s online private pilot ground school is inexpensive but not updated frequently.
7 online ground schools for a worthwhile private pilot theory learning experience.
A student must have a knowledge test endorsement to be eligible for the FAA private pilot knowledge test. Hence, an online ground school from FAA flight instructors plays a significant role in getting a private pilot license. Similarly, PART 61 student pilots who don’t like scheduled ground classes enroll in online courses.
1. Rod Machado’s 40 hours of online PPL ground school has a competitive price and lifetime access.
A budget-friendly and detailed private pilot ground school from a veteran flight instructor.
Course Duration: 40+ Hours
Price: $ 279
Lifetime Access & Free Updates.
Rod Machado a renowned name in the American General Aviation. He is well-known for his aviation seminars and for articulating information with humor. Teaching and entertaining simultaneously is challenging, and it looks like Rod Machado has mastered the art of both.
Thus, I can confidently say Rod Machado created this course for student pilots who may get bored quickly. Although aviation and flying are appealing subjects, students lose interest in studying when they have difficulty understanding any topic. To learn, one must understand the subject, and Rod Machado’s 40+ hours of animated videos with voiceovers made learning less stressful.
Thus, Rod Machado’s eLearning is excellent for absorbing aeronautical theories without being overwhelmed by humor and slow-paced (40+ hours) learning.
Secondly, for PART 61 student pilots, this 40+ hours long course isn’t a problem as they can access it from any device using a WiFi connection.
Nevertheless, some trainees prefer ground schools that are on point and can help student pilots get by in getting their pilot licenses. This 40+ hours ground school is unsuitable for them, and they can look into other options listed below.
Another positive thing about Rod Machado’s ground course is that it’s a bundle of additional handy resources:
- Flight computer simulator: Learn to use a flight computer from your smart device;
- HSI simulator: Practice how to read a horizontal situation indicator for free;
- Glide Distance slider;
- Rod Machado’s Private Pilot Handbook (PDF);
- Rod Machado’s How to Fly an Airplane Handbook (PDF): Excellent book to learn actual flying techniques;
- Rod Machado’s PPL Workbook (PDF): Use this book as a test prep to practice.
After you complete ground school and pass the quizzes with satisfying scores, Rod Machado issues a knowledge test endorsement like the picture below.
With the bonus private pilot workbook, you can further evaluate your knowledge and prepare for your FAA private pilot knowledge test.
Being a veteran flight instructor with excellent articulating abilities, Rod Machado instills the fundamentals of aeronautics and flying in student pilots’ memory. This allows student pilots to retain information for a long time.
Retaining information for a long time is crucial in obtaining a private pilot license and becoming a safe pilot.
During flight training, the ability to quickly render necessary information and apply in-flight impresses flight instructors.
The unique teaching style of experienced flight instructors builds proficiency in flight. Hence, you’ll be ready for your Chekride after enrolling in this course.
Finally, Rod Machado gives lifetime access to his private pilot ground school with a one-time payment. This allows students to review lessons anytime, forever. Maybe you need a refresher to renew your private pilot license after a year or two. Returning to this 40-hour course would be the best thing you can do.
The course is updated frequently with the latest FAA Airmen Certification Standards, and you can come back occasionally to learn about the new rulings.
Rod Machado is passionate about teaching pilots. He created this course from years of experience. As a result, this ground school course has tons of information similar to a college semester. On the contrary, student pilots may find it monotonous and look for shorter courses.
If you’re up for becoming a competent pilot, pick Rod’s online ground school. If you’re hurrying to pass your knowledge test, you can choose something concise that explains the essential topics.
2. WiFiCFI Private Pilot Online Study Course.
Famous for the least expensive price with heaps of features to grasp private pilot training lessons.
Course Duration: 40 Hours.
Price: $ 149.99
Lifetime Access & Free Updates.
I placed WiFiCFI second on this list because WiFiCFI has the least expensive subscription price. They boast about charging 2.5 USD for an hour of private pilot lessons. Furthermore, they have a monthly subscription plan that you can use to access all the courses in WiFiCFI, including CPL, IR, and CFI ground school.
WiFiCFI ground school is abundant, with information packed in a course of 40+ hours. Though I don’t know much about the flight instructors on WiFiCFI, I’m confident they are great instructors by watching their FREE video lessons. Take a look below.
A 40+ hours course implies it’s detailed and likely not overwhelming with their pace of online classes. Take your time to absorb as many tips and tricks as you want to learn by signing up for their course. Being an online ground for private pilots, you can log in to the course anytime using smart devices.
Acquiring 40 hours of video lessons for 149 USD is a fair price for students on a tight budget. Those who want a more flexible option to try and check before committing to the WiFICFI lessons for private pilots can subscribe for a month with only 24 USD.
From the few videos I watched from WiFiCFI, I can assure you the flight instructors can explain theories very well. As an American, don’t hesitate to check out their course for at least a month. There’s no loss, and you might complete the entire ground school with 24.99 USD.
The 1000+ flashcards tool in the course to assess your knowledge is worth mentioning. Furthermore, you can generate quizzes to test your mastery and build confidence for the written exam within the platform. Besides, like any other ground school, WiFiCFI issues a knowledge test endorsement. Thus, it’s a course to prepare for a private pilot knowledge test and pass it.
For a PART 61 trainee pilot, flying is an expensive hobby. However, WiFICFI’s monthly plan is the cheapest solution in the market to complete Private Pilot online ground school and get a knowledge test endorsement.
Like Rod’s bundle package, WiFiCFI has lifetime access to use it for review and refresher in maintaining your private license. Lifetime access is only available for those who pay a one-time payment of 149 USD.
The only drawback of the WiFiCFI course is that this course can’t help much with your Checkride.
WiFiCFI promotes a separate course on its website that is specific to Checkride’s needs. The online ground school is only for those who need to understand the basics of aerodynamics, principles of flight, aircraft engines, navigation, and flying weather.
They have included several hacks and tips for better flight performance, which would be useful during flight drills.
WiFiCFI gained popularity due to its super affordable price tag. The monthly subscription option is also one way to determine if they suit your needs. With accessibility from browsers and Apple/android apps, you can subscribe for a month and check what they have inside.
Not including a private pilot course for Checkride preparation is the only disadvantage. However, with this price tag, you really can’t complain.
3. Gold Seal Private Pilot Ground School.
Popular for their engaging video clips and interactive tools in the online learning system.
Course Duration: Total 5 Parts 34 Hours.
Price: $ 299
Lifetime Access & Free Updates.
Gold Seal has been training private pilots online for the last 15 years. Without a doubt, they have mastered the art of online ground school. They claim their online learning system is knowledge transfer.
They boast their video lessons are not designed traditionally. This is true because HD videos are created in various ways, such as sometimes from inside the airplane and sometimes animated videos of the airplanes to comprehend better.
The video clips are also engaging, and the user-friendly interface has made learning a fun experience. There are interactive tools within the learning system to clarify things further for students. The interface is unique and an excellent way to immerse yourself in your lessons.
I listed Gold Seal in the third position due to its price and course length.
Not all PART 61 student pilots intend to spend a long time studying. Many of them are lazy, to be honest. They want to get over with studying and get their pilot license.
Likewise, the price of this course is higher than many other online ground courses. Student pilots typically prefer courses at a lower price and get their knowledge test endorsement ASAP.
Nevertheless, you must understand Gold Seal has put a lot of work into creating this learning system (not just a course), and the 299 USD price tag is very reasonable.
Honestly, acquiring knowledge has become more effortless in the 21st century, and Gold Seal has up their game, creating competition for other online instructors.
Being an online learning system means you can access it from any device using an internet connection.
Each video lesson has supplementary resources added to the interface to learn further. There are quizzes to take after most lessons to cement your findings from each lesson.
There are sections in the course that discuss practical flying. It’s a crucial topic because your flight safety relies on what you know and understand during your ground school. Learning about practical flying on the ground and in-flight prepares you for your Checkride.
If you prefer a traditional way of teaching, then Gold Seal may not be your deal. If you need an instructor to look into your eyes while talking to you, then you can choose a private pilot ground school from Rod Machado or King’s School as well.
However, with a money-back guarantee, there is an opportunity for you to take a glimpse into their excellent training system. 24/7 customer support makes signing up easier and contacting real flight instructors for clarification even simpler.
4. King School’s Online Course.
It’s a pricey combo with a test prep from industry experts.
Course Duration: 15 Hours.
Price: $ 299
Lifetime Access & Free Updates.
King School’s online ground school for pilots has received various opinions from different users. I see all kinds of statements coming from thousands of reviews from student pilots.
John King and Martha King have forty years of experience in the aviation industry teaching and training pilots. With four decades of experience, you can only imagine the extent of the knowledge they acquired and are sharing with novice student pilots basically for pennies. Thank the internet.
King School is famous for sharing tricks for private pilots to remember key information when required. Their ground school is infamous for having ancient video quality, Though, in recent times, they have updated their video clips with HD-quality videos.
John King and Martha King have an excellent ability to make learning easier. Student pilots who follow them grasp aeronautical knowledge with ease.
King School’s students emphasize that John King’s interactive, cheesy teaching style implants the topic in their minds and automatically yields when necessary.
It sounds dramatic, but student pilots claim John and Martha improved their decision-making skills.
If you’re not a full-time trainee and don’t have hours to commit to studying, then this is the course for you. This fifteen-hour course is designed to pass the FAA private pilot knowledge test. Like any other online course from FAA-certified instructors, this ground school endorses students for knowledge tests after successful completion.
However, compiling flying proficiency methods in a fifteen-hour course is challenging. Hence, this is not a course you can use to pass your checkride. A separate course is available on King School’s platform to assist Checkride examinees.
Every time you complete a section in the course, you can generate a mock test using the Test Prep included in this bundle. Use the mock tests to prepare for the FAA knowledge test.
John and Martha King have tons of experience, and they strategically share their expertise with the student pilots in different courses. I can’t complain, as it’s their business model.
Regardless of their pricey bundle compared to other digital ground schools, King School courses are great for passing the knowledge test. The course would prepare for FAA exams and exams anywhere in the world.
They’re so confident about students passing their exams that they offer a refund if a student fails in a year. King School is suitable if you aim to quickly pass the knowledge test and hop into an airplane for training.
5. Sporty’s Private Pilot – Learn to fly.
Online Private Pilot course from a famed pilot shop.
Course Duration: 15 Hours.
Price: $ 299
Lifetime Access & Free Updates.
Sporty’s Learn to Fly course is precisely what the name implies. This online ground school focused on learning to operate aircraft with many in-flight videos. is it enough to pass your checkride? Being good at practical flight can contribute to passing your Checkride seamlessly.
So, what is the most crucial aspect of a ground school? Ground school is essential to understanding facts about flying and learning fundamental theories.
I understand that Sporty’s created a great course for beginner pilots. They claim that this course is enough to prepare for a Sports pilot license, Recreational pilot license, and Private pilot license. However, let’s focus only on private pilot license online ground school.
Sporty’s produces outstanding videos and lectures. Learning to fly from an instructor demonstrating from inside an aircraft while flying is superior.
Regardless, the issue is 299 USD for 15 hours of video lessons. I understand 299 USD seems like the industry standard for pricing online ground school.
Imagine the entire private pilot ground school is crammed into 15 hours, including actual flying lessons. So, if you intend to learn more theory and less about real flying, this may not be your course.
This may not be your course if your primary goal is to pass your private pilot knowledge test after taking this ground school. If you have time to study supplementary items apart from this ground school, it’s an option.
When you spend 299 USD for a ground school, you can get more value from other online ground schools. Definitely, you would get a knowledge test endorsement after completion, but if you didn’t pass your exam, that would be another struggle.
If passing the FAA private pilot knowledge test is your priority, Sporty’s 1000+ question test prep will significantly aid you. They nailed it with the Test Prep tool that comes with the online training program. Sporty’s frequently updates the question database, and the test prep creates tailored questionnaires from your previous sessions for better assessment.
After checking the reviews from fellow private pilots, I noticed a common complaint: The course information is disorganized and not in-depth. Those are a possibility because the entire course is crammed into fifteen hours. So, having supplementary books is essential while using this ground school.
You decide what you want. As a PART 61 trainee pilot, you can choose different online ground schools.
6. FLY8MA Premium private pilot ground school.
A pricey one-time fee but affordable monthly subscription option with access to different courses.
Course Duration: ***
Price: $ 349
Lifetime Access & Free Updates.
With too many FAA-approved online private pilot ground schools from veterans, the younger instructors are often overlooked. Hence, Jon Kotwicki’s premium PPL ground school deserves a mention.
FLY8MA by Jon Kotwicki has all kinds of courses available for pilots. Jon Kotwicki used to be an airline pilot and later decided to pursue being a Flight Instructor. So we can say he is well experienced.
The course he offers for student pilots has 20 lessons. From what I have seen from Jon Kotwicki’s free lessons, I noticed he has great articulating and instructing ability.
This allows students to grasp information quickly and comprehend it.
Jon Kotwicki is infamous for uploading a YouTube video that got so much attention negatively. However, he removed the video after it created a buzz.
Regardless, he is a great instructor, and you can enroll in his FREE online ground school to check whether he suits your learning style. The premium version of the course is packed with information, and Jon Kotwicki suggests putting effort into reading the additional materials.
We can say it’s not a short course but an elaborate one. The course doesn’t help with actual flying or passing the PPL checkride.
Because additional courses are available within the platform tailored to specific needs, you may get introductory lessons for practical flying in this Premium package.
A knowledge test endorsement is issued once you pass the quizzes after each lesson and use the Test Prep for practice.
The 349 USD pricing for lifetime access to this course isn’t reasonable.
However, the monthly subscription option is a great relief. I recommend subscribing using the monthly payment option and having access to all his courses. Check what you like and what you don’t get over with your ground schooling and unsubscribe from the course.
Pilots adhering to PART 61 can study at their own pace, so choosing FLY8MA monthly and studying at your pace is a good option.
Lastly, Jon Kotwicki included the Private pilot written test Bootcamp in this course, which he sells separately. For 350 USD, including this Bootcamp was essential to making the method worthwhile for students.
A standalone course for 350 USD is not recommended. But bundled with the Written Test Bootcamp access, it’s an acceptable option.
PART 61 student pilots are not racing to get the licenses, so by purchasing the online ground school bundle, you can take your time studying and passing the FAA knowledge test.
7. Gleim Aviation Online Ground School.
Gleims, a pioneer in pilot training goods, their private pilot license online ground school doesn’t meet the expectations. Perhaps they aren’t focused on competing for online ground school. Yet, they provided value with an exceptional bundle.
The Deluxe Private pilot training kit provides everything a student pilot needs for a private pilot license. For 289.95 USD, the value is unavoidable.
The ground school isn’t very promising, but the materials that it comes with are essential for private pilot training. Ordering this kit is wise if you’re in the market for all the essentials.
Gleims Test Prep is popular among student pilots to prepare for the knowledge test, and from my experience, I can tell it helps to practice for the exam. You have 12 months of access to the ground school, and 35 hours of lessons should be sufficient for passing the exam.
Nevertheless, Gleims is confident about the ground school and offers a full refund if you need it.
Furthermore, The additional materials that come with the package are as follows:
- Gleim Online Ground School for Private Pilot
- FAA Test Prep Online-Private Pilot
- Flight Bag
- Pilot Handbook
- Flight Computer E6B
- Private Pilot ACS and Oral Exam Guide
- Private Pilot Flight Maneuvers and Practical Test Prep
- Private Pilot FAA Knowledge Test book
- Private Pilot Syllabus book
- Private Pilot Training Record book
I wouldn’t advocate for Gleim’s ground school with many other better options from seasoned flight instructors. But the kit materials made this bundle very appealing, and I placed Gleims on this list.
Though this course made the bottom of this list, Gleims has a reputation for producing good content.
8. MZeroA Private Pilot Online Ground School.
A relatively younger flight instructor makes it the top pick among millennials.
Course Duration: ***
Price: $ 109/month
Monthly Subscription Access & Free Updates.
Finally, let’s talk about MZeroA’s ground school. Jason Schappert is the creator of the courses and considers himself to be a mentor and not just a CFI. I see where that’s coming from because his classes are exceptionally motivational. He teaches and inspires the student pilots to enjoy the outdoors as aviators.
He’s popular among the millennial pilot trainees for his excellent articulating abilities. Besides, the younger student pilots can relate to his teaching style.
You can watch many free lessons on the MZeroA YouTube channel. I watched his video lessons. His lessons are intelligible, and his animated explainer videos in the course make topics retainable for trainee pilots.
Seeing him giving lessons from the airport around the aircraft made me feel that I was taking lessons from a flight instructor in person on the ramp of an airport.
If this suits your way of learning, Jason Schappert’s courses are your finest option.
Also, one of the best things about MZeroA courses is the flashcards. The Flashcards are similar to a test prep. You answer questions correctly multiple times to memorize them. The tool is created so that you answer the same question repeatedly until you’re a master at it.
If you have trouble understanding something, you can ask for support on the screen and request an explanation from CFIs for clarification. Right on the screen, you can request support and receive an answer within less than 24 hours.
MZeroA claims no other supplementary materials are required if you follow the lesson from the course, as each lesson builds upon the previous one. It’s adequate to master your aeronautical knowledge.
Additionally, the course includes a podcast that you can use to continue learning on the go. It’s optional, but many student pilots may find learning on the go helpful.
To make it easier for student pilots to have a glimpse of what they have to offer, you can access the course for a two-week free trial. Passing your knowledge test or preparing for your Checkride, everything is packed in this private pilot online ground school.
You can enroll in this course to learn better and ace your private pilot knowledge test.