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High-fidelity flight training devices (FTDs) have value for ab initio pilot training, but their high cost is a major limitation. Researchers want to know if low-cost simulators, including virtual reality (VR), may be effective for some aspects of ab initio pilot training, supplementing FTDs. This work used a between-subjects experiment with 20 participants – all student pilots at the University of Waterloo with under 20 hours of flight experience – to analyze performance changes after training using either a FTD or VR simulator for procedural and aircraft handling tasks over three training sessions. Performance was assessed using instructor evaluations for 18 criteria. Participants training on the VR simulator showed similar improvement in performance for some procedural tasks but less improvement for aircraft handling tasks compared to participants training on the FTD. The findings emphasized the need for future studies to identify tasks that can and cannot be trained using low-fidelity VR simulators.