Flight Simulation, Backward Chaining, Automation, Ab initio, Pilot Training
Flight simulation has made progressively significant inroads into pilot training at all levels of a pilot’s career – typically starting with training for the Instrument rating in light aircraft and concluding with Type Certification in transport category jetliners. This research was designed to explore if significant training inroads could also be offered to ab-initio pilots, those with no prior flight experience. An experimental group of four pilot trainees, without prior flight experience, were exposed to flight in a backwards-chained simulation starting from 4’ AGL (Above Ground Level). Graduated, exponential increments of both altitude and distance from landing were successively added to the simulation experienced by the pilots all the way through a standard FAA General Aviation traffic pattern to return the student pilot to the start of take-off. Once the pilot trainees had completed the backward-chained simulation, they flew the traffic pattern conventionally, in a forward chain prior to being placed in an identical aircraft (Cessna-172/G1000) for an actual flight with an appropriately-rated Certified Flight Instructor (CFI). After receiving a demonstration of a complete circuit in the traffic pattern by the CFI, all four pilot trainees were able to complete three, unassisted circuits in the traffic pattern. Backwards-chained initial flight instruction appears to have significant operational potential in accelerating (reducing) the time required for first solo of new pilots. It also warrants further investigation by other pilot training research institutions.
Scholarly Commons Citation
Vance, S. M.,
& Freihoefer, J. A.
Can Backward-Chained, Ab-Initio Pilot Training Decrease Time to First Solo?.
Journal of Aviation/Aerospace Education & Research, 30(1).
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