Learning to Fly? These are the 10 Best Online Aviation Courses for Pilots in 2023
19.9k views | By Senne Vandenputte | Last updated on June 07, 2023
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 aviation 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 aviation courses for (student) pilots.
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.
Want to learn more about online flight training 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.
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.
Remember, the right course can turn the complex world of aviation into an enjoyable and fulfilling learning experience. Make your choice wisely, and it will set you up for success on your flight path.
Becoming a pilot isn’t just about learning to control the plane in the sky, it’s about understanding the world of aviation inside out. To do this, you’ll need to focus on two main types of courses: ground school courses and other aviation/pilot courses. Each has a unique role in shaping your knowledge and skills.
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.
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.
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 like “How to Pick the Right Private Pilot Ground School” can provide more insights on this topic.
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!
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.
$349.00 $419.00Learn more
The Best Online IFR Ground Schools in 2023
Just like regular private pilot ground school, IFR ground school lays the foundation for the knowledge needed to become a safe and well-trained instrument pilot.
When it comes to quality IFR ground schools, again there are two major sources that offer great quality IFR courses: Rod Machado and FLY8MA.
1. Rod Machado’s Instrument Pilot eGround School
Rod Machado’s online IFR ground school 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, including 26 complete online courses, 686 video lessons and 50+ hours of focused training. The 151 quizzes and 3 practice exams will make sure you’re as prepared as possible for your IFR written test.
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.
2. FLY8MA – 2023 IFR Instrument Pilot Course
Go from zero to hero using FLY8MA’s Premium IFR Instrument Pilot Course. Learn everything you need to know for your written exam, flight training, and checkride, as well as what you need to know to keep yourself safe flying under IFR after you get your ticket! Track your progress step by step with 15 Lessons broken down into easy-to-digest sub-topics. Watch helpful videos with each lesson, and see what it is like to fly in the real world under IFR with over 20 Case Study examples combined into the course!
Again, the course can be bought either as a single course purchase, or 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.
$349.00 $399.00Learn more
Other great aviation/pilot courses for pilots in 2023
While ground school is crucial, there are other courses to consider to enrich your learning. These include instrument flight rules (IFR) courses, and advanced courses on a variaty of topics. IFR courses, for example, teach you how to fly in poor weather using only your instruments. It’s a vital skill for any pilot wanting to make the most out of his/her license.
Regardless of the path you choose, remember: learning to fly is a journey. Take it step by step. The sky isn’t going anywhere. It will be waiting for you when you’re ready. Keep learning, keep asking questions, and most importantly, enjoy the ride. You’re about to join a unique group of people who can claim the sky as their own.
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.
2. FLY8MA – Rusty Pilot / BFR Prep Course
In this course by FLY8MA, they’ll take you through a few quick brief refreshers for those of you who are getting ready for a Flight Review with an instructor, whether you fly regularly or even if it has been 10 years since you’ve been in the cockpit!
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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. Good takeoffs and landings start with a solid understanding and good technique — and that’s exactly what Rod delivers in this course.
6. 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.
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
Finally, here are a few other interesting courses you may want to check out if you’re looking to gain some extra knowledge on specific subjects, or if you just want to become a better and safer pilot!
Each of the courses mentioned above 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. Here are a few additional resources that you may find valuable:
- How to Pick the Right Private Pilot Ground School in 2023
- How Much Does a Private Pilot License Cost in 2023?
- Where, When and How to Take the FAA Private Pilot Knowledge Exam in 2023
- How to Stay Motivated During Your Flight Training
- What to Expect During Your First Flying Lesson
- The Best Tools and Gear for Student Pilots in 2023
- 10 Books That Will Help Every Student Pilot
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 firstname.lastname@example.org!
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About the author
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.