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The Best Online Aviation Courses for (Student) Pilots in 2020

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Learning to fly? Want to fly for a living? Planning on adding additional ratings to your pilot license? Then these online aviation courses and pilot ground schools are a great start!

Finding the right aviation course for you 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.

We’ll start this guide by mentioning two great online ground schools for the new private pilot, followed by a few very affordable extra courses that could provide value to almost any pilot!

The Best Online Aviation Ground Schools

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.

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!

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

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$279.00$299.00

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When first publishing this guide, a few other great options existed on Amazon and other websites. These options have since not been available anymore, hence why Rod Machado’s ground school course is (for now) the only and best options we can recommend.

The Best Online Aviation Courses for Pilots

1. Understanding Weather – Rod Machado’s 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

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$79.00$99.00

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2. Understanding Airspace – Interactive eLearning Course

Rod Machado’s course on Understanding Airspace for all Pilots is a fun-filled course that helps all pilots better understand our present airspace system and a pilot’s obligation when operating within it. This course is designed for anyone interested in passing their private, commercial or CFI knowledge or practical exam. It’s also a valuable course for rusty pilots desiring to regain their currency. But this isn’t just another course on airspace. It’s a detailed, fun-filled course that provides explanations as to “Why” the airspace exists the way it does. It’s not enough to know the rules. It’s also very important to know the reason behind them.

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$29.95

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3. Handling In-Flight Emergencies eLearning Course

Welcome to Rod Machado’s interactive eLearning course on handling in-flight emergencies. 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 off-line 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

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$79.00$99.00

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4. Secrets of Instrument Approaches and Departures

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

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$79.00$99.00

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Have any questions, suggestions or remarks about this guide? Let us know!

Last updated on October 16, 2020 by Senne Vandenputte

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