Use of simulation and alternative training media in ab initio pilot training
Despite significant advances in flight simulator technology and numerous other facets of aviation training, there have been relatively few research studies exploring in the ab initio phase of pilot training. This presentation will describe a preliminary study examining a number of areas relevant to the initial hours of flight training and the impact of different training programs. Nine aviation students were selected from the Griffith University, Bachelor of Aviation course on the basis of their prior flying experience, aviation knowledge, and exposure to desktop flight simulators. Each student received one of three training programs in addition to their standard private pilot's licence course in the aircraft. The training programs consisted of either flight simulator sessions (in a low-fidelity part-task trainer), flight-training videos (developed using a combination of flight simulation and real aircraft footage), or a reading material package. Students completed the first four flying lessons of their private pilot's licence course with each pre-flight training lesson completed prior to each flight. Following each pre-flight lesson, students were asked a series of questions regarding their experience of the lesson, including assessments of their knowledge of the material, the lesson workload, and how well they thought it prepared them for the flight lesson. After each flight lesson, student performance was assessed by the qualified flight instructor who conducted the lesson, and students again provided feedback on their experience and performance in the aircraft. At the end of the last flight, students also completed a final task in the aircraft that assessed a variety of the skills they had developed during the four lessons. On completion of all of the training sessions, semi-structured interviews were conducted with the students and instructors, focusing on the effectiveness of the pre-flight training and the assessment procedures used. While this research only represents a preliminary study, results indicated surprisingly little difference between student performance across each of the three training regimes. No clear pattern was evident between aircraft performance and training regime and the flight instructor was unable to determine the type of training each student had received. This presentation will discuss these findings in relation to the effectiveness of low-fidelity flight simulators in comparison to other training programs, particularly flight-training videos. A number of issues associated with reliable data collection in aviation training research will also be reviewed.
2011 Defence Human Sciences Symposium
Education not elsewhere classified