Date of Award


Access Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Aeronautics


College of Aviation

Committee Chair

Dr. Andrew R. Dattel, Ph.D.

First Committee Member

Dr. Dahai Liu. Ph.D.


Numerous studies have been conducted on music education and the benefits that learning an instrument has on the brain. However, there is little research that connects a pilot’s ability to play an instrument to a pilot’s ability to fly an airplane. When learning an instrument, students learn non-musical abilities, such as executive functions, which may correspond with the skills necessary to be a good pilot. The purpose of this study was to find a relationship between learning a musical instrument and pilot performance, specifically related to flight planning, situational awareness, and flight path deviations. This study was a quasi-experimental design studying 20 pilots with musical training and 20 pilots without musical training. Participants were assessed through a series of tests. The results showed no significant difference between the musical group and the nonmusical group. However, participants with 5 or more years of musical experience performed better in flight planning, situational awareness accuracy, and airspeed deviations. Additionally, participants who learned music before the age of 8 performed better on flight planning and airspeed deviations than those who learned after the age of 8. Further research may investigate the relationship between age and length of training on pilot performance.