Learning to Fly? These are the 10 Best Online Aviation Courses for Pilots in 2023
19.4k views | By Senne Vandenputte | Last updated on January 04, 2023
Before starting your flight training and investing in some cool pilot gear, it’s important to select a quality ground school course.
But finding the right aviation course can be a challenge. Especially since every website and flight instructor seems to be offering his own online ground school courses these days.
Luckily, there are a few established brands and instructors that you can trust for creating high-quality, interesting and enjoyable online courses, packed with lots of value. In this guide, we have included some of the best online aviation courses for (student) pilots.
We’ll start this guide by mentioning a great online ground school for the new private pilot (or for those who want to brush up again on their knowledge), followed by a few very affordable extra courses that could provide value to almost any pilot!
Best 2023 Online Private Pilot Ground Schools
1. Rod Machado’s 40-hour Private Pilot eLearning Ground School
Let’s start this list with our personal favorite: Rod Machado’s new 40-hour+ private pilot eLearning ground school. This course has been one of the most popular courses we have mentioned on Hangar.Flights and keeps receiving great feedback from students who purchased it.
(We recently gave away a free license to this course on our Instagram account @hangar.flights, so make sure to follow us if you want to participate in future giveaways!)
If you’re thinking about learning to fly (for a living) or refreshing your knowledge for a flight review, then the best place to start is with Rod Machado’s ground school. This eLearning course prepares you to take the private pilot knowledge exam and provides the foundation of knowledge needed to make your flight training a more enjoyable experience.
This highly animated, interactive eLearning course is one of the most comprehensive, private pilot ground training programs on the market today. Its 26-course modules span 40-hours of highly educational, fun and interactive aviation ground training. The depth of material covered in this course is what you’d find in your traditional single-semester, college aviation ground school.
Online ground school sounds kind of boring, but it doesn’t have to be at all!
Read our own 2023 review
Rod Machado’s Private Pilot Ground School – 2023 In-depth Review
In this review, we’ll take an in-depth look at Rod Machado’s 40-hour private pilot online ground school, discuss the different features of the ground school program and provide our opinion on whether it is worth your time and money.
Best 2023 Online IFR Ground Schools
1. Rod Machado’s Instrument Pilot eGround School
The breadth and depth of Rod’s Instrument Pilot eGround School is incredible. It provides everything you’ll need to understand critical IFR concepts at a deeper level–whether you’re a student just starting to work on your rating or an experienced instrument pilot looking to brush up. It really is the ultimate IFR knowledge library. It includes:
- 26 complete online courses
- 686 short video lessons
- 50+ hours of focused training
- 151 quizzes
- 3 practice exams
Everything is presented in short lessons that tackle one topic at a time. Whenever you need to brush up on a topic, you can log in at your convenience and jump directly to that specific area. A simple-to-navigate menu structure makes it easy to find exactly what you need. For a busy pilot, this is gold. It beats watching hours of video or looking through textbooks in search of an answer.
I got 100% on my IRA written (knowledge) test thanks to this amazing course. It covers everything you need to know as a instrument rated pilot. As always, Rod goes above and beyond. Thank you very much Rod! – Max
Rod’s New Instrument CoursePurchased the new IFR course as soon as I saw it and it has been amazing. Normally I do not enjoy online courses because they do not deep dive into the “why” of a subject or how it relates to other material, but this course contains incredible levels of detail. You even receive expert tips and instruction from someone who has been a CFII for decades! I have been instructing for over 10 years and would recommend this to anyone looking for IFR ground instruction. – Jason
Best 2023 Online Aviation Courses for Pilots
Below are some additional courses that can provide great value for new pilots, or for those who want to learn more or brush up on their theoretical knowledge.
1. Understanding Weather – Interactive eLearning Course
Rod Machado’s interactive eLearning course on Understanding Weather is precisely the course you need to help you make sense of the basic weather concepts you either missed or never quite understood in ground school. Presented in Rod’s highly popular Laugh & Learn training style, this 5.5-hour course will have you feeling a lot more comfortable about the environment in which you fly.
The best option short of private ground school with Rod Machado. Understanding Weather isolates specific pieces of the weather puzzle in each module and fits them all together as you proceed, using Rod’s trademark humor and thorough teaching style. I completed the course before a cross country trip from MN to AZ in my 172. Frontal systems, lapse rates, atmospheric stability, wind shear, turbulence and mountain waves all came in very handy. Highly recommended whether you are an IFR or VFR Pilot. – Michael Kennedy
2. Handling In-Flight Emergencies – Interactive eLearning Course
If you’ve ever wondered whether or not you could handle some of the more common and rare in-flight emergencies a pilot might experience, then this is the course that will train you to do so. Rod provides practical strategies for dealing with these emergencies and does so in a fun, interesting and highly educational way. Not only are these ideas presented with animation, you’ll also see actual, in-flight demonstrations of certain emergency procedures. This six-hour course also contains questions to test your knowledge. You can even download the course to your tablet device for offline viewing.
I couldn’t wait for Rod’s Handling In-Flight Emergencies course to come out. As a Flight Instructor, it’s critically important to me to explore the many scenarios of what could go wrong with my students. Sometimes scenarios are difficult to makeup when they are not derived from real-life experiences. Rod’s course allows me to explore the possible issues that could arise and talk with my students to evaluate the risk factors and what-if’s. Highly recommended for all pilots. – Amy Smith
3. Secrets of Instrument Approaches and Departures – Interactive eLearning Course
If you’re an active IFR pilot or preparing for an IPC or even your ATP or IFR rating, then this course is for you. Why? Because the IFR pilot’s weakest link is approach and departure knowledge as it relates to instrument charts.
I only discovered this course halfway through my IFR training. I had then already completed the full Cessna IFR syllabus. Yet, every session in Mr. Machado’s course was full of information I hadn’t seen anywhere else. I think I’m finally starting to grasp the big IFR picture. And, as usual, it is all delivered in a light-hearted fashion. Highly recommended for students and seasoned pilots alike! – Christian Plante
4. The Art of Takeoffs and Landings – Interactive eLearning Course
Every flight starts with a takeoff and ends with a landing, yet many pilots lack the fundamentals to do them consistently because they weren’t properly taught, or they haven’t practiced enough to be proficient.
That’s where this course comes in. If you use it to pick up just one useful takeoff or landing technique, it will be worthwhile because you will use the technique over and over.
But there are lots of useful techniques in this course. Some of the techniques Rod teaches are unique while others you may be familiar with, but Rod often puts a different spin on them or provides an example that suddenly makes things crystal clear. In some cases, Rod will validate a technique you are already using and that can be just as valuable.
Good takeoffs and landings start with a solid understanding and good technique — and that’s exactly what Rod delivers in this course.
5. Basic Cross Country Flight Planning for Beginners – Interactive eLearning Course
If you are a student pilot who would like to learn the essentials of basic cross-country flight planning, then this is the course for you. It is intended to teach you the basic skills of pilotage and dead-reckoning navigation as well as the knowledge necessary to pass the private pilot knowledge exam in these areas. These are the navigational skills that every pilot needs to know.
As a CFI I go through the whole program with my students. The way rod explains the various topics, along with the great visual displays makes it easier for the students to understand. I would recommend this to any private pilot, or CFI! – H. Philips
This course can also be used by flight instructors to help them prepare their students for dual and solo cross-country flights.
Other interesting courses worth checking out