The Effects of Pilot Experience on Acquiring Instrument Flight Skills. Phase I.
Final rept. Jul 79-Mar 81,
EMBRY-RIDDLE AERONAUTICAL UNIV DAYTONA BEACH FL
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NTSB accident data indicate that low-time, non-instrument rated general aviation pilots are disproportionately involved in fatal weather-related accidents. In view of the existing 200-hour experience requirement FAR 61.65 for an instrument rating, some 150 hours of flight time must be accumulated between Private Pilot Certification and issuance of the rating. During this period there is a fairly high probability of encountering weather conditions that present task demands which exceed the capabilities of the pilot. Suggestions have been made to reduce the 200-hour requirement in the hope that earlier instrument training would be sought, thereby reducing these accidents. The study reported here examined the relationship of pilot experience to the acquisition of instrument flight skills. Seventy-nine Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University students were assigned to one of three experimental training groups in which a full program of private, instrument, and commercial pilot training was administered. Prior to taking their instrument checkrides, the groups had 113, 138, and 171 mean hours of flight time, respectively. Inflight performance was assessed objectively and subjectively. Non statistically significant differences were found among tracks in instrument flying skill. Results suggest that a reduction in the 200-hour experience requirement should be considered. Such a reduction would encourage earlier training of instrument skills and could reduce the weather-related accident rate for low-time private pilots. Author
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