With demand for air travel returning with a vengeance, the need for pilots to fly passengers is also accelerating. So, one of the leading flight training universities, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, plans to give its students a cheaper, faster way to get their training jump started.
Starting this fall, students enrolled in the flight training track will start flying toward the Private Pilot rating at the latest by the spring semester.
“The predictability of progress in flight training will be enhanced and the total number of hours required to train each student will be reduced,” said Dr. Alan Stolzer, dean of the College of Aviation on Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach Campus. “Just as importantly, the successful implementation of this strategy will result in an increased training capacity, which will help to ensure that most, if not all, first-year students commence their private pilot flight training by no later than the spring semester.”
How will they pull this off, though? With virtual reality. The program will put students through an intensive four-week readiness program that utilizes both a Frasca Level 6 Flight Training Device but also what it describes as “state-of-the-art simulation software,” including virtual-reality tools. These tools can be used for such things as ATC simulation, allowing students to gain experience and confidence without being in an actual airplane.
The goal, said Dr. Ken Byrnes, head of the flight training department, is to help students “complete their flight training faster and at a lower cost,” while also increasing the number of students who can go through the university’s program.