Private Pilot Flight Skill Retention 8, 16, and 24 Months Following Certification
This report describes the results of a 2-year longitudinal research program to assess objectively the skill retention levels of relatively low time private pilots. Objectives of this effort were to identify retention patterns for skills needed to perform a representative range of private pilot flight tasks; factors influencing the retention of these skills and the nature and degree of such influences; and continuation training methods to maintain or upgrade the skills. A secondary objective was to assess pilots' ability to predict and evaluate their own proficiency levels. Results are summarized for flight skill retention checks conducted 8, 16, and 24 months following private pilot certification. Proficiency loss was documented for all subjects and for each flight task studied, and the losses were statistically significant in nearly all cases. Tasks that were relatively high, low, and more rapid in skill loss were identified, and the effects of interpolated training on skill loss patterns were assessed. Pilots' ability to predict and evaluate their own skill retention levels for specific flight tasks was negligible. The present findings suggest that effective continuation training program and media are needed, especially to address cognitive types of flight skills. Several such potential media are described.
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