Which type of flight school is best for you depends on your needs, available time, and other factors, such as veteran’s benefit eligibility (only Part 141 schools can qualify for VA-reimbursed training), Student Visa (only Part 141 schools can issue an M-1 Student Visa). When it comes to the FAA checkride, which is the same for all, it doesn’t matter where you learned to fly, only how well—including your understanding of aviation academic material.
Flight schools that operate under rules governed by FAR 61 are granted more flexibility than part 141 schools. Under part 61, the FAA does not require the flight instructor’s curriculum to follow a syllabus. While they must adhere to the educational requirements (what needs to be covered) of the FAA, instructors can choose when and where to cover required materials based on student progress.
Students of a part 61 flight school are not required to complete a formal ground school program. If they wish, students can complete home study courses, or simply review material with a qualified flight instructor. Although not required to complete any formal ground school training, part 61 students must still pass the FAA practical exam for the license they are training for.
Flight schools operating under part 141 train within a more structured environment than their part 61 counterparts. Under part 141, flight schools must operate with an FAA approved syllabus. Instructors and students must adhere to the approved syllabus throughout the entire training. Periodically, a student will take stage checks administered by either the chief flight instructor or his/her designees. Students are also required to complete a certain number of hours of classroom instruction or one-on-one ground instruction with a flight instructor. As in a part 61 school, students must pass the FAA practical exam for the license they are training for.