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The Use of Simulation inAb InitioPilot Training

Gregor M. T. McLean, ,

Abstract: Objective: This article examines the practical impacts of integrating simulation-based training into an ab initio pilot-training course. Background: As flight simulation technology has become more advanced, and the associated costs have been reduced, there has been a corresponding increase in the use of flight simulation during ab initio phases of pilot training. Subsequently, important questions have arisen regarding the utility of simulation-based training to develop students’ rudimentary piloting skills. Method: The progression of 29 students completing a course consisting of 25% simulation is compared to a baseline sample of 62 students (sourced from historical data) completing the same course prior to the integration of additional simulation-based training. Results: The integration of simulation was found to have 2 primary impacts. Although a small decrease in aircraft training hours was evident, there was also a significant increase in the overall training time once simulation-based training was incorporated. Conclusion: Simulation will always provide significant safety and risk-reduction benefits to flight training; however, when considering the practical implications of integrating simulation-based training, the current data provide a cautionary tale that positive outcomes for training efficiency and cost-effectiveness are not always guaranteed. More targeted inquiry is still needed to assist flight schools to properly operationalize the findings from the research literature to effectively integrate simulation into their flight-training curriculums.
Keywords: integrating simulation based training / pilot / safety / flight

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