Document Type


Publication Date





In 2012, Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology initiated an intensive, simulator based, flight training program. Three cohorts, totaling 16 students, completed flight training with fewer flight hours than the United States average (ISAP, 2013). The students earned Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Private Pilot certificates within 5 weeks, Instrument ratings in 3-4 weeks, Commercial certificates in an average of 20 weeks and Certificated Flight Instructor ratings in an average of 40 weeks. All participants met selection criteria, including completing their FAA Class III medical certificates, FAA Private Pilot Knowledge exams, a demonstration flight, financial counseling, having a grade point average of at least 3.0, and agreeing to remain substance-free during training. These 16 students and a comparison group of students who enrolled in traditional flight training at the college at that time have been followed over the past 6 years to observe factors associated with their career progression. Surveys were conducted by e-mail, phone, or in person to ask about flight training, career progression, and experiences of camaraderie, mentorship, and general satisfaction with their programs. This follow-up study found that 13 of the 16 students (81%) achieved their career goals of flying professionally. The comparison group has taken longer to complete flight training and proportionally fewer are flying professionally. Indicators of success in achieving professional pilot careers and networks included the cognitive variables related to intensive simulator-based training, camaraderie, shared learning experiences and opportunities to reflect on training.