This study explores the idea of teaching fundamental cockpit automation concepts and skills to aspiring professional pilots in a classroom setting, without the use of sophisticated aircraft or equipment simulators. Pilot participants from a local professional pilot academy completed eighteen hours of classroom instruction that placed a strong emphasis on understanding the underlying principles of cockpit automation systems and their use in a multi-crew cockpit. The instructional materials consisted solely of a single textbook. Pilots received no hands-on instruction or practice during their training. At the conclusion of the classroom instruction, pilots completed a written examination testing their mastery of what had been taught during the classroom meetings. Following the written exam, each pilot was given a check flight in a full-mission Level D simulator of a Boeing 747-400 aircraft. Pilots were given the opportunity to fly one practice leg, and were then tested on all concepts and skills covered in the class during a second leg. The results of the written exam and simulator checks strongly suggest that instruction delivered in a traditional classroom setting can lead to high levels of preparation without the need for expensive airplane or equipment simulators.
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