Thoughts on online ground schools?

24 Replies

Thoughts on online ground schools?

Posted by Justin Baker on Sep 26, 2017 8:19 am

Hi All,

I am a new AOPA member and getting ready to start training for my private pilot license. I'm a very visual / auditory learner and wondering if any of the online ground schools are worth the money, or if they'll just be redunant to my CFI and ground school time. I've been particually interested in the Sporty's program since seems to be the most modern interface and I like the full package of training materials. I would love any thoughts or feedback from others that have completed, or tried these programs.

Thanks in adavance!
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Re: Thoughts on online ground schools?

Posted by Jason Franke on Jun 29, 2018 1:36 pm

Russell Loving: is another great on-line ground school. 

I'm with Russell! I've been a member of the MOA Ground School for about a month now and They've got great information, short videos on most topics so you can take it a piece at a time without having to figure out where you were. The quizzes appear to be based on the actual questions on the FAA Exam and if you get something wrong it helps explain why. You can watch and quiz multiple time so if you want to review something its quick and easy.  The best part for me was after I started using the M0A system, my CFI brought it up as a great resource and now he and I are able to talk about a lot more when flying based on what I have been studying. There are also Live webinars where Jason brings a topic or Mock Checkride the he and the other members of the staff will answer questions about anything live. Granted I'm sure there are people out there who would benefit from a different type of training but for me this has been an important part of my learning system. 

I have a number of the FAA manuals printed from their site. I have purchased a few ASA handbooks and am always looking for other info. What it comes down to is there are a lot of options you just have to find what system or combination works best for your learning style. Be sure to search for reviews of whatever you are thinking about to see if others have found it valuable as well.

Re: Thoughts on online ground schools?

Posted by Brennan Callan on Jul 2, 2018 1:14 pm

You can get just about every single FAA manual FOR FREE from the, and you just need to use their search window.  Input their manual ID number that you can find at all of the various PAYING SITES (ASA, Gleim, Sporty's, etc.), but then just download the books without paying any of those companies. 

You need to know that the aviation publishers are just putting their own covers onto the FAA's books anyway for the official manuals.  I am not saying they are acting illegally, but I am saying YOU CAN GET THEM FOR FREE.

Best wishes everyone!
Brennan Callan
Aeronautical Scientist / Underwater Archaeologist

Re: Thoughts on online ground schools?

Posted by Robert Gardner on Jul 5, 2018 11:48 am

ASA has a well-received online ground school. Just sayin'.

Bob Gardner

Re: Thoughts on online ground schools?

Posted by Edward Pataky on Jul 9, 2018 12:26 pm

Brennan is pretty much spot on.  I've been a ground instructor since 1975, and a CFI for several years now.  An ethical instructor/flight school is interested in teaching ou learn to fly SAFELY and with the least expenditure. I have always tried to make my instruction as efficient and productive as possible.  I've paid for all my training (and after 50 years, it's still ongoing...).  Learning the material is a function of the student, the materials used, and the instructor.  I've seen students that pour themselves into learning both the flight aspects and ground aspects, and since they take it so seriously, the will excel.  Then, there are those that do little or no outside reading or take little initiative to work at what's going on, and don't get it.  As for the course to take for ground... gee... that's a real tough one.  Some audio/visual courses are excellent... others, not so good.  My own opinion... and remember, it's an opinion, is to download the FREE FAA publications... Airplane flying Handbook, Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, and the AIM/FARs.  They are free (well, almost... you've paid for them through your tax dollars) and the new editions are VERY well put together.  This goes for the IFR stuff too... Instrument Flying Handbook, and Instrument Procedures Handbook.  Sure, they can be dry, but the information is there.  Next thing... try to put it all together.  I recommend doing the flight training concurrently with the reading also, as you can see the meshing of concepts... example... a stall with critical angle of attack, load factor vs. angle of bank, on and on.  

With the new changes to Part 61 (Certification), you can now apply some of the light sport training towards a Private Ticket.

Bottom line... ask around as to choosing a flight school, ask around as to Ground Instructors, and take the studying part seriously.  As great as flying is, if done wrong, it can still kill you if done wrong/carelessly, as well as open your wallet.  This stuff isn't cheap, so be as efficient as possible.

Best of luck!

Ed Pataky
NAFI Master Ground Instructor
College Professor, Economics, Political Science