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Why This is the Single Best Online Private Pilot Ground School of 2023

2.9k views | By Senne Vandenputte | Last updated on February 16, 2023

The decision to become a private pilot is exciting and rewarding, but there’s no getting around the fact that there are a few hoops you must jump through in order to see your dreams come true. One of these barriers is passing the private pilot written test, which can be anxiety-inducing for most.

The best way to make sure you have all the knowledge you need is to take a quality ground school course. A ground school will provide you with the information you need to know in order to pass your private pilot written test. There are plenty of options out there both online and off, so it’s important to make sure you’re making an informed choice as to which one to go with. Does it provide helpful guidance? Is the instructor knowledgeable? Can you get help when you need it? These are all questions you should be asking before settling on any particular ground school. Facing the written exam doesn’t have to be a scary process, with the right ground school on your side success can be more than achievable.

There are many (online) ground schools available, but not all of them are created equal. So which ground school course should you go with?

The Best Online Private Pilot Ground School of 2022

What Makes a Good Private Pilot Ground School?

At its core, a good private pilot ground school should provide you with the information and guidance you need to pass your written exam and get on the path to becoming a pilot. This means that it should have knowledgeable instructors who are able to break down complex concepts into easy-to-understand lessons, as well as providing plenty of real-life examples to help you apply the knowledge you learn.

The best ground schools also provide a variety of resources that can help students when they need it, such as instructional videos, easy-to-reference study guides, and accessibility to the instructors when you need a quick answer to a question. Additionally, online courses should have interactive tools and practice exam questions that allow you to test your knowledge and identify areas where you may need additional study.

A quality ground school experience should include:

  • Easy to understand concepts;
  • Clear explanations of complex systems;
  • Engaging presentations;
  • Extensive modules;
  • Affordable prices;
  • An excellent student support team;
  • Updated to latest standards;
  • Well-qualified ground instructor(s).

While there may be many online private pilot ground schools to choose from, we believe that there’s one course that stands head and shoulders above the rest: Rod Machado's 40-hour+ private pilot eLearning course. With a wealth of resources, engaging video lectures, and an expert instructor, this ground school truly offers the best learning experience for aspiring pilot students.

Many other factors are important in choosing a ground school. If you want to learn more, we have written a separate detailed guide on how to pick the right private pilot ground school in 2023.

Our Pick: The Best Online Ground School for Private Pilots in 2023

Rod Machado’s ground school 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.

His 26-course, 40-hours ground school is a highly animated, interactive and fun eLearning course, and no doubt one of the most comprehensive private pilot ground school programs available. The depth of material covered in this course is what you’d find in your traditional single-semester, college aviation ground school!

And if you like to have practice questions, at the end of each lesson are over 1,200+ FAA-like knowledge questions to reinforce what you’ve learned.

If you’re looking for enjoyable, fun and interactive training materials, Rod Machado’s material is the way to go. No more reading dry, stale, study material!

At the end of this course, you’ll be provided with a graduation certificate and endorsement to take the private pilot knowledge exam.

Course Topics

Here’s just a tiny sampling of the topic-tiles found in this course.

  • Aerodynamics: The Wing is the Thing (3.9 Hrs)
  • Engines: Knowledge of Engines Is Power (3.45 Hrs)
  • Electrical Systems: Knowing What’s Watt (.5 Hrs)
  • Flight Instruments: Clocks, Tops & Toys (2.5 Hrs)
  • Federal Aviation Regulations: How FAR Can We Go? (4.6 Hrs)
  • Airport Operations: No Doctor Needed (2.45 Hrs)
  • Radio Operations: Aviation Spoken Here (1.4 Hrs)
  • Airspace: The Wild Blue, Green and Red Yonder (3.5 Hrs)
  • Aviation Maps: The Art of the Chart (.85 Hrs)
  • Radio Navigation: The Frequency Flyer Program (1.9 Hrs)
  • Understanding Weather: Looking for Friendly Skies (5.8 Hrs)
  • Weather Charts and Briefings: PIREPS, Progs and METARS (3.1 Hrs)
  • Flight Planning: Getting There From Here (3.2 Hrs)
  • Airplane Performance Charts: Know Before You Go (1.7 Hrs)
  • Weight and Balance: Let’s Wait and Balance (1.4 Hrs)
  • Pilot Potpourri: Neat Aeronautical Information (2.5 Hrs)

Bonus: For a limited time this course comes with the following complimentary PDF eBooks:

  1. Rod Machado's Private Pilot eHandbook (a $49.95 value)
  2. Rod Machado's Private Pilot eWorkbook (a $19.95 value)
  3. Rod Machado's How to Fly an Airplane eHandbook (a $44.95 value)
  4. Rod Machado's Plane Talk eBook (a $24.95 value)
  5. Rod Machado’s Stick and Rudder Flight Training Syllabus
  6. Rod Machado's Ground School Syllabus

Rod Machado’s ground school course also meets new ACS standards and was just updated to 2023.

In this video, Rod gives an introduction to his course:

Why we believe Rod Machado’s ground school is your best option in 2023

Rod Machado’s ground school course is among the best online ground schools because it not only meets these standards, but exceeds them as well. Some of the features that make this ground school exceptional are:

  • The course uses real-world scenarios to explain complex systems;
  • It is taught by a private pilot and flight instructor with more than 50 years of experience;
  • Its vast selection of amusing illustrations and diagrams not only makes the learning process engaging, but also very enjoyable;
  • The course is available 24/7, wherever you are;
  • Students have access to excellent customer support via email or phone;
  • You get lifetime access for lifetime learning (the course does not expire);
  • Graduation certificate/test endorsement issued at end of course;
  • Rod Machado offers other courses that can be used in conjunction with his ground school.

In picking the right ground school, it is important to consider what ground school format would be best for you. If you prefer a ground school that allows you to learn at your own pace and on your own time, then Rod Machado's ground school is the course for you. This ground school provides convenience and flexibility because it can be studied online from any web-enabled device.

Who is Rod Machado?

You may recognize his voice from MS Flight Simulator, where Rod has taught millions to fly (virtually) through the built-in flight lessons on MS Flight Simulator.

Rod Machado's Online Private Pilot Ground School - Best Online Ground School of 2022

Rod has taught…

  • hundreds to fly from the right seat as a Certified Flight Instructor
  • thousands as a classroom instructor
  • 350,000+ through his over 400 aviation articles
  • 100,000+ through his training materials
  • Several million with his flight lessons on MS Flight Simulator

“Machado is energy,” wrote Capt. Dave Gwinn. “He is a Psychologist, an educator, a humorist and an entertainer. He is a verbal gymnast and any one (or all four!) of his professional identities may rebound at any time.”

Rod Machado Ground School Reviews

Here’s what people have to say about Rod Machado’s Private Pilot ground school course:

A truly worthwhile course. In particular, Rod’s explanation of weather information is probably the best I’ve seen. Now I actually look at the winds aloft, check for inversions, and think about what that means for my flight for example. If you want a course that goes into the reasons for knowing everything the FAA wants you to know, this is the course for you.” – Brendan

Outstanding Instruction. I devoted 3 weeks full time to completing this online Ground School and scored 97% on the FAA written test. The school was enjoyable, dividing the material into short easy to understand segments and using lots of humor. But most important, it used very helpful associations and explained aviation concepts in an intuitive manner. I will be ordering more Rod Machado products as I prepare to solo.” – Robert Adams

Absolutely amazing training product by a true aviation legend. Very complete and entertaining. I highly recommend this product to not only student pilots but also any pilot at any level looking to brush up on the ever so important basics and more.” – Matt Johnson – DPE

I am a student pilot who is not mechanically inclined, and Rod Machado’s Private Pilot online course is perfect for someone like me. It demystifies systems-related processes and is presented in easily digestible segments. Rod infuses humor into the material, making learning fun and enjoyable. His diagrams and graphics are easy to follow, and because this kind of learning is so visual, I retain the material better. I love the fact that Rod does not overwhelm you with technical detail, so you never lose sight of the big picture. I highly recommend this course to anyone who is intimidated by mechanics.” – Sofia N

I have been flying a very long time and have used them all… King, Sportys, Gleim… I am speechless as to how comprehensive and clear the material in Rod’s Private Course is…. ( I bought it for review ). Best money I have ever spent in Aviation or out. Cannot recommend strongly enough. And continually entertaining! Can’t wait for the Instrument version!” – Andy G

Our Top Pick!


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Frequently Asked Questions About Rod Machado’s Ground School

Next, let’s cover some of the most frequently asked questions about this online ground school course.

Are there overlaps with other Machado eCourse products?

Rod’s answer: Yes. This 40+hour eCourse contains the following “separately sold” eLearning modules: Understanding Airspace, Federal Aviation Regulations, Understanding Aerodynamics and Understanding Weather.

Is there a test endorsement issued at the end of the eCourse?

Rod’s answer: Yes. At the end of the eCourse in one of the last modules titled, “Pilot Potpourri,” there is a graduation certificate issued. This is also your knowledge test endorsement. You’ll fill in the appropriate information, print out the certificate and take it with you to the exam office.

How do I access this ground school?

Rod’s answer: The ground school is available online via your secure, password-protected account window. You can watch the videos on a Windows PC, Mac, iPad/Android tablet and iPhone/Android Phone.

Will my online access ever expire?

Rod’s answer: No. Once you register your login credentials, they will never expire. You will always have access to the program.

Can I view the lessons on my iPad or mobile device?

Rod’s answer: Yes, the ground school is optimized for online viewing (no downloads available at this time). You can watch the videos on any device with an internet connection, no downloading is required.

Can I access the ground school from more than one computer or device?

Rod’s answer: Yes, with your login info, you can access the site as often as you want.

Can I upload the accompanying eBooks to my device?

Rod’s answer: Yes. The accompanying ebooks can be uploaded to any device you own that reads PDFs. Click here to learn how to upload eBooks to your iPad/iPhone.

How do I know my computing device will play this eCourse?

Rod’s answer: You can always try the Demo link (shown on the product page). This course works on all devices. Nevertheless, we recommend that you use Chrome as your browser, not Safari, Firefox or anything else.

Does the course player remember where I left off?

Rod’s answer: Yes, it does. However, you need to clear the browser’s cache on occasion when your browser acts up. This also clears cookies, which are used to remember where you stopped. So treat this course as you would a book and make a note of where you left off before you clear the cache.

Why is this course 40+ hours long?

Rod’s answer: This is the most comprehensive and complete Private Pilot eGround School on the market. It contains all the material that you’d receive in an aviation college semester ground school (and much, much more, too!). It’s not intended only for passing the knowledge exam. If you want a shorter eCourse or are only interested in passing the knowledge exam, please check out our competitor’s courses. They’re all fine courses except that they are much shorter–typically ranging from 15 to 25 hours in length. They simply can’t cover in detail all the material contained in this eCourse.

Do you track my test scores and tell me when I’m ready for the exam?

Rod’s answer: Sorry, no. My competitors do; I don’t. My course is a self-study course where I expect you to learn “ALL” the material, not just 70% of it before you take your exam. Otherwise, what would be the purpose of studying a self-study course? That’s why you’ll take quite a few intermediate quizzes and review any areas in which you are deficient before moving on to another section of the course. At the end of each module you’ll take a comprehensive quiz and have a very good idea of the areas in which you need to review. When you finish all the modules you’ll be ready for the exam.

Can I obtain a refund if I am not happy?

Rod’s answer: If you haven’t used more than 10% of this course, or had the course for more than two weeks, or downloaded any of the accompanying ebooks, then contact me to discuss a refund.

The Best Online Private Pilot Ground School of 2022


Ground schools are generally pretty similar in terms of quality regardless of where they’re held, but if you’re considering going the online route, we highly recommend checking out Rod Machado’s e-learning material.

In our experience, and according to numerous reviews we received from our readers, the best online ground school in 2023 is Rod Machado's 40-Hour Private Pilot eLearning Ground School Course.

His 26-course, 40-hours ground school is a highly animated, interactive and fun eLearning course, and no doubt one of the most comprehensive private pilot ground school programs available. The depth of material covered in this course is what you’d find in your traditional single-semester, college aviation ground school!

And once you’re ready to start your advanced IFR training, Rod has got you covered as well with his Instrument Pilot eGround School!

Our Top Pick!


Learn more
If you click this link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Happy learning, and fly safe!

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Senne Vandenputte

About the author

Senne Vandenputte

As a 27-year-old digital entrepreneur, glider pilot, private pilot and tow plane pilot, Senne is passionate about aviation. He started gliding at age 14 and flew his first solo in a glider at 15. After getting his PPL about 10 years later, he mostly spends his weekends towing gliders into the air. When not flying, he runs his marketing & web design business, fun projects like Hangar.Flights, scuba diving, traveling and enjoying the outdoors.

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