Bill Phelps Airline Ground Schools


New Member
Hi All,

Does anyone have experience with AGS's Distance Learning program? If so, would you recommend it? I am considering the Distance Learning Course, followed by the 6 day residency.

I went through the Distance Learning Program last fall through the spring. I was not impressed with the instructor. I was not impressed to the point that after I had completed the Distance Learning, I elected to go to CVG and join a class. I arrived on day 3 when they were just starting Flight Plans. The instructor in this class was incredible. Day and night! I learned much and was very prepared for the oral. Therefore, I have mixed feelings about the program, it really depends on the instructor. All in all, I am glad I went with AGS and would recommend the program to others.
The FAA specifically prohibits distance learning per part 65 based on the 200 hours required classroom time. Anyone who offers a distance learning class is in violation of the FARs. Make sure you find a school that adheres to the written rules. I dont think anyone but the most seasoned airline pilot would be able to even come close to passing a distance course such as this.
Actually FAR Part 65 Section 61 states that a min of 200 hrs of instruction is required, not 200 hrs of classroom instruction. It does not specifiy in what form this instruction must be. You may also reduce the 200 hr requirement based on previous experience.

The Distance Learning thing may not be for everyone but if you can't commit to an extended stay for one of the longer courses it might be a good option.
Our FSDO has informed us that the FAA has determined that distance learning or online courses do not satisfy the 200 hour requirement. We've looked into distance learning and got a slap on the wrist. There is an AC that specifically prohibits this, I'm locating it now. Standby.
I'm just pointing out what the FAR's actually say. AGS and Sheffield both offer distance learning options. Both are highly respected and reputable within the industry and have trained thousands of dispathcers over the years. For you to imply that they are in violation of the FAR's by not following the written rules is pretty irresponsible.
Pardon me for coming late...

I am a dispatcher, was a 121 check dispatcher, drew up an FAA Accepted training program for a startup 121 regional airline, and an AGS Grad.

There is NO guidance on the FSIMS website stating that distance learning for a Part 65 course is not legal. FSIMS is the FAA's Flight Standards website. (

What is DOES say is
Para 3-1661 - Crediting Distance Learning as a Component of Training For Aircraft Dispatchers

Applicability. This paragraph applies to aircraft dispatcher training programs subject to FAA approval under 14 CFR part 121. It may also be useful to inspectors who oversee training courses under 14 CFR part 65. Creditability of hours spent in distance learning activities applies to the programmed hours of training specified in part 121 regulations.

NOTE:Currently approved training programs that integrate distance learning under the guidance provided in HBAT 98-09 continue to be acceptable. However, major revision of current training programs or approval of new training programs should follow the guidance in this document.

My guess is that the SDF FSDO, who oversees the AGS certificate, has signed off on their distance learning per HBAT 98-09.
I went through this program and am now a Dispatcher at a major 121 airline. This school's program requires that you take a Private Pilot ground school and the written test to PROVE that you know and understand the fundamentals, making it easier for you to understand the rest of the program. The owner of the school gave his home phone number out to students and offered his help both during the distance-learning portion as well as during the 6-day class. He's also a Dispatcher. I think the instructors were great and it was a good experience. I still keep in touch with fellow students. Since I worked full-time in a different department this was the best option for me and recommend it to anyone who can commit to the study times (at your pace but you have a year to complete the whole program), use the resources available such as calling the school with any questions, then finish it off with the final 6-day course. And remember, you get most of the "meat and potatoes" training at the airline you will be working with. Sorry for the long message :)