Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University


The operational efficiency of fleet aircraft employed for student flight training in collegiate aviation programs is strongly influenced by scheduling, among other factors. The average utilization rate for the fleet operated by the Purdue University School of Aviation and Transportation Systems was found to be 24% (Avery, 2014), and there is no data to suggest that that this rate is atypical in similar institutional programs. Mott and Bullock (2015) identified several means by which the utilization rate could be increased, and improvements in the dispatch and scheduling process were a key component of those recommendations. This article describes a scheduling algorithm that was implemented at Purdue University in the fall semester of 2015. The algorithm is a linear programming technique that incorporates optimization constraints unique to collegiate flight training operations. The resulting improvements in aircraft utilization will facilitate an increased matriculation rate of students into the flight program, thereby allowing the allocation of fixed costs over a wider user base and the reduction of overall program fees for all students. Those improvements are validated through measurement of the reduction of the cumulative turn times between aircraft operations.