Efficacy of Low-Cost PC-Based Aviation Training Devices

Savern l Reweti, Andrew Gilbey, Lynn Jeffrey
Journal of Information Technology Education: Research  •  Volume 16  •  2017  •  pp. 127-142
Aim/Purpose: The aim of this study was to explore whether a full cost flight training device (FTD) was significantly better for simulator training than a low cost PC-Based Aviation Training Device (PCATD).

Background: A quasi-transfer study was undertaken to ascertain whether a Civil Aviation Authority certified Flight Training Device (FTD) was more effective at improving pilot proficiency in the performance of a standard VFR traffic pattern (Overhead Rejoin Procedure) than a customised low cost PCATD.

Methodology: In this quasi-transfer study, a high fidelity FTD rather than an aircraft was used to test both training and transfer tasks. Ninety-three pilots were recruited to participate in the study.

Contribution: The use of PCATDs is now well established for pilot training, especially for Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) skills training. However, little substantive research has been undertaken to examine their efficacy for VFR training.

Findings: There was no evidence of a pre-test/post-test difference in VFR task perfor-mance between participants trained on the PCATD and the FTD, when post tested on the FTD. The use of both PCATD and FTD demonstrated signifi-cant improvements in VFR task performance compared to a control group that received no PCATD or FTD training.

Recommendations for Practitioners : We discuss the possibility that low cost PCATDs may be a viable alternative for flight schools wishing to use a flight simulator but not able to afford a FTD.

Recommendation for Researchers: We discuss the introduction of improved low cost technologies that allow PCATDs to be used more effectively for training in VFR procedures. The development and testing of new technologies requires more research.

Impact on Society: Flight training schools operate in a difficult economic environment with continued increases in the cost of aircraft maintenance, compliance costs, and aviation fuel. The increased utilisation of low cost PCATD’s especially for VFR instruction could significantly reduce the overall cost of pilot training

Future Research: A new study is being undertaken to compare the effectiveness of a PCATD and a FTD at training transfer of other VFR task procedures such as forced landing training, forced landing after take-off, and low-level navigation exercises.
PC-based aviation training device, flight training device, visual flight rules, qua-si-transfer, simulator, pilot training
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