The 8 Best Online Ground School Courses for Private Pilots in 2023

By Senne Vandenputte   |   Last updated on September 27, 2023

The 8 Best Online Ground School Courses for Private Pilots in 2023 - Hangar.Flights

Learning to fly will change your life, there is no doubt about that. But getting started can seem daunting.

Before the actual flying lessons begin and you start investing in some cool pilot gear, there is a fair bit of ground training and theory you have to go through. While there are many choices on the market currently, finding your way through them all and selecting the right ground school course for you can be a challenge.

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 private pilot ground school courses!

No time to read the article? Here’s our Top Pick

When it comes to a quality, fun and interactive online ground school course, we hands down recommend Rod Machado's Private Pilot e-Ground School course.

Rod Machado – renowned flight instructor and author (and voice) of the FSX virtual flying lessons – offers an amazing online ground school course.  The course includes 26 course modules and 40 hours of interactive e-learning lessons, with lifetime access. At a price of just $279.00, following this course is already a great way to save big on your flight training, while learning from one of the best in the business.

Top pick


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Want to learn more about online ground school courses? Read on!

Online vs. classroom courses

These days, there is no shortage of online courses available for all sorts of aviation topics. Interactive online ground school courses are often available for a fraction of the price of traditional classroom-based instruction. The more you get out of the way on your own, the less time you will need to spend in the airplane, which costs by the hour. And by taking charge of your training and only using the experts for the hands-on training you need, you get just as good an education in flying but you save a ton of money.

Not only that, but they are often quicker and more convenient, and save you the hassle of having to travel and take time off work, allowing you to get your ground training done in a shorter amount of time.

Importance of choosing the right course for pilot training

Choosing the right course is like picking the right co-pilot. You want it to be tailored to your learning style, suit your schedule, and be able to guide you effectively through this journey. The right course will not just prepare you for exams, but will instill a sense of confidence and competency, making you ready for any challenges in the cockpit.

The subjects range from understanding the principles of flight, learning about weather patterns, diving into navigation techniques, to decoding the language of aviation – yes, there’s such a thing. They prepare you for the written FAA exams and create a knowledge base that you’ll tap into every time you fly.

Different courses have different strengths. Some may excel at visual learning aids, others might have extraordinary instructors, and a few might offer unique tools for practicing your skills. It’s essential to pick the one that resonates with you and helps you understand and retain the necessary knowledge.

Don’t be surprised if the material feels tough at times. It’s a lot to take in, especially if you’re new to the world of aviation. But remember, every pilot has been where you are now. Keep pushing forward. It’s worth it.

Our article “How to Pick the Right Private Pilot Ground School” can provide more insights on this topic.

The Best Online Private Pilot Ground School Courses in 2023

Ground school is where your aviation education truly begins. It’s like the foundation of a house. You’ll learn the essential theory that every pilot needs to know.

Below, we’ll list a few of the best options you currently have when it comes to the theoretical part of flight training, which can all be completed from the comfort of your home, at your own schedule. These have been picked based on their comprehensiveness, teaching approach, user feedback, and proven success.

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.

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!

  • 26 course modules, 40+ hours of content
  • Highly animated and fun
  • Lifetime access
  • Price: $279


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We recently wrote an extensive review of this ground school course, which you can read here.

2. FLY8MA – 2023 Private Pilot Ground School Premium

A second great option when it comes to online private pilot ground schools is the one offered by FLY8MA.

This course will cover the basic knowledge required of a private pilot to pass the Private Pilot Airplane written exam and will prepare you for your flight training in an actual aircraft with your flight instructor. The complete course covers 20 easy to follow lessons, plus the extra free course included: Private Pilot Written Prep BootCamp.

The course can be bought either as a standalone course purchase, or you can get access with one of FLY8MA monthly subscriptions, which gives you unlimited access to all of their flight training courses. You can learn more about these subscriptions here.

  • 20 lessons
  • Free extra course included
  • Price: $279

$349.00 $419.00

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3. Angle of Attack Online Ground School

Angle of Attack Online Ground School, is a highly flexible option for busy pilots or those seeking education on the move. With over 36 hours of video training crafted by Chris Palmer, a Certified Flight Instructor, the platform endeavors to offer a rich, real-world learning experience right from day one.

What sets Angle of Attack apart is its modern videography, firsthand flight scenarios, and the ability to take courses on the go by downloading them directly to your device. The lifetime access ensures that you have a continual resource at your fingertips, with an option to extend your learning by bundling the Checkride ACE course for an additional $70, totaling $349. This extension is an attractive offer for those looking to solidify their preparation for the checkride alongside ground school training. If you are a pilot with a busy schedule, the flexibility and comprehensive training provided by Angle of Attack make it a compelling choice.

  • 10 well-structured sections
  • Lifetime access
  • On-the-go downloadable courses
  • Price: $279 (Bundle with the Checkride ACE for $349)


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4. Pilot Institute Online – Private Pilot Made Easy

Tailored for pilots uneasy about their ground school investment, this course comes with a bold promise: if you don’t pass the written test, you’ll receive $175 cash on top of a full refund for the course. However, with a remarkable 99.8 percent student pass rate on their written exams, this situation is highly unlikely. The course is self-paced, suiting various learning styles, and generally, students complete it in around 20 hours, though this can be adjusted to match individual pace. A highlight is the provided 44-page study guide and a community-based Facebook group for online study and discussions, enriching the learning experience through peer interaction.

  • 540 video lessons, 35 hours of content
  • Lifetime access
  • 44-page study guide
  • Community-based Facebook group
  • Flashcard app
  • Price: $279

$249.00 $279.00

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5. Gold Seal Online Ground School

Gold Seal Online Ground School is a gem for tech-savvy aspiring pilots and also a resourceful haven for current pilots looking to brush up on their skills. The course offers a generous array of free content allowing you to test the waters before diving in, plus a lifetime subscription access to a wealth of learning materials curated by Instructor Russell Still. With 6 meticulously designed modules, each just a few hours long, learners can delve into an array of topics from basic aerodynamics and aircraft parts to advanced real-world flying scenarios including GPS, VOR, and night flight operations. Their offering doesn’t just stop at fresh pilots; they cater to “rusty pilots” as well with a “flight review” course akin to ground school, making it a well-rounded platform for a wide range of aviators.

  • 6 comprehensive modules
  • Lifetime access
  • Free content to start
  • Price: $229 for full access


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6. Sporty’s Private Pilot Learn to Fly

Sporty’s Private Pilot Learn to Fly Course is ideal for self-paced learning, providing a comprehensive yet intuitive preparation pathway for the written test. With a flexible learning structure, it encompasses about 15 hours of study and practical time. Multiple Certified Flight Instructors (CFIs) contribute to the well-rounded course materials, covering pivotal topics such as maneuvers, FAA regulations, and weather patterns. A standout feature is the course’s TV and phone apps, allowing easy access to instructional videos and training resources anytime, anywhere. Your subscription guarantees lifetime access, ensuring you remain updated even after your exam.

  • Self-paced, 15 hours of study
  • Lifetime access
  • TV and phone app
  • Price: $279 (or four payments)


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7. Gleim Aviation Online Ground School

Gleim Aviation Online Ground School, with a price tag of just $125, is a haven for those seeking a variety of ground school options. Renowned for their test prep materials, Gleim extends their expertise into a full-featured private pilot ground school, which you can try online to gauge its fit for your needs. The platform stands out for its diverse offerings: apart from the basic private pilot ground school, they cater to aspiring sport pilots, future instructors, airline transport pilots (ATP), flight engineers, and more, making it a one-stop-shop for multiple aviation education needs.

The self-paced course structure, averaging 35 hours, is facilitated by multiple instructors providing a rich and diverse learning environment. Your subscription grants a 12-month access to a comprehensive curriculum encompassing areas like airplanes and aerodynamics, federal aviation regulations, aeromedical factors, and cross-country flight planning among others. If you’re looking for a course that offers a breadth of ground school options under one roof, Gleim Aviation is undoubtedly a worthy consideration.

  • Self-paced, average of 35 hours
  • 12-month access
  • Multiple ground school options
  • Price: $125


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8. ASA Private Pilot Online Ground School

ASA Private Pilot Online Ground School, priced at a humble $180, stands as a potent resource, especially for those eyeing a future in IFR (Instrument Flight Rules). With a legacy of delivering excellent test prep materials for decades, Aviation Supplies and Academics (ASA) has transitioned this expertise into a detailed app-based ground school program. Although a bit text-heavy, the course compensates with helpful graphics, videos, and a straightforward approach to mastering the material. It’s suitable for individuals seeking an extensive library that will serve them beyond just the exam preparation. If you are considering pursuing an IFR rating or eyeing a commercial pilot path, the add-on instrument pilot ground school offered is a fantastic opportunity to get a head start. With a span of 2-4 weeks of self-paced study, pilots have 24-month access to a large array of learning materials covering the gamut from aerodynamics and aircraft systems to enroute flight and communication, and access to is included.

  • 2-4 weeks self-paced study
  • 24-month access
  • Extensive library
  • Price: $180


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Each of these ground school courses has its strengths, unique style, and offers quality learning materials. Your task is to pick the one that resonates with you the most, aligns with your learning preferences, and fits your aviation aspirations.

Remember, it’s not a race. You’re not just checking boxes to pass exams. You’re gathering knowledge and skills that will ensure your safety and the safety of others when you’re thousands of feet above the ground. So take your time, explore the options, and choose the course that will mold you into the best pilot you can be.

Use the resources we have on Hangar.Flights, the articles, and the reviews to help guide you, inform you, and inspire you on your aviation journey.

In the flight training section on our website, you will find some more interesting articles and resources!

If you’re interested in discovering other interesting online courses to supplement your flight training or brush up on your knowledge, we recommend checking out our other guide here:

And finally, don’t forget to enjoy the process. After all, you’re learning to do something that humans have dreamt of for thousands of years – to fly. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of taking off into the sky, and that’s a feeling you’ll get to experience over and over again.

Have any questions about choosing the right ground school/pilot course? Feel free to shoot us a message at!

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Senne Vandenputte

About the author

Senne Vandenputte

As a 28-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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