There are lots of Private Pilot and Instrument Rating ground school courses out there.
But the pickings are slimmer for people working on their commercial certificates. One of the only online ground school options comes from King Schools — and it’s what I ended up using to get ready for my commercial written and practical tests.
For starters, do you really need a formal ground school program to get ready for the commercial license?
Well, it’s true that the commercial is in a lot of ways just an extension of the private pilot certificate, but in a lot of ways it isn’t. At the same time, if you’re considering becoming a CFI after earning your commercial, it’s a good idea to start off with a solid foundation of knowledge, and a real ground school program does that.
So I bought King Schools’ Commercial Pilot Written Exam & Checkride course. It was my first course from them.
The course is pretty fairly priced — and here’s a protip: King Schools occasionally offer 20% off discounts to their mailing list. There’s a good reason to join.
King’s written test prep is made up of about 9 hours of video content. And I’ve got to say that I learned a lot more than I expected to learn — more than just memorizing written test answers. And the content was actually pretty enjoyable to work through. Kudos to John and Martha King (and their team) for that. The videos are broken into bite-sized subjects, and you take the applicable written questions after each segment.
One nice feature is that you can either access the material on a computer or on an iPad or iPhone. The King Schools iOS app lets you download the video segments for offline viewing, and it now lets you complete the test questions too, synching back up with your account when you go online.
Like most other online ground school courses, you take practice tests to unlock your written test endorsement.
The checkride course features Martha King taking a full commercial checkride (oral and flight test) with an actual designated pilot examiner, about 5 more hours of video in total. It’s a really nice resource to have for anyone with pre-checkride jitters.
Let’s be honest for a second here: the FAA written exams are bad tests. They’re full of tricks and technicalities, which isn’t what testing aeronautical knowledge should be about. That’s why many courses just try to get you to memorize the answers and get it over with. I really like the fact that the King Schools course actually teaches the material well. I walked into the testing room feeling confident that I could answer any trick or dubiously-worded question that got thrown at me.
And I ended up getting a 97% on the commercial written.
At the end of the day, I think the best testimonial I can give King Schools is the fact that I bought their CFI Get It All Kit shortly after passing the written test…
If there’s any instructor worth learning from, it’s John and Martha King.