An Exploration of the Relationship Between Flight Simulator Performance and Achievement of Solo Flight Among Australian Aviation Students

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Benjamin Michael Quast
Harry James Clarke
Shawn Lee
Kaartik Walia
Steven Leib


University flight training programs are becoming an increasingly important avenue for developing ab initio pilots, yet training programs suffer high attrition rates. Flight simulators are commonly used by university flight schools as a training aid, and the purpose of this research is to understand if student performance using a Personal Computer-Based Aviation Training Device (PCATD) is a relevant predictor of student success as measured by the achievement of flying solo in university flight training. To investigate this, 195 students at an Australian university from 2018 to 2021 were subject to comprehensive flight simulator instruction via a PCATD prior to flight training, with simulator performance correlated to flight training success. This sample was split into international and domestic students, with the PCATD performance of each group correlated to the achievement of the first solo and the number of flight hours to the first solo, respectively. Results suggested that international students who achieved the first solo had better simulator performance on average than those who did not. However, a statistically significant relationship was unable to be observed between flight simulator performance and flight time to achieve solo flight amongst domestic students.

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