During Stage 1 of the PILOT (Preflight Immersion Laboratory for Observation Training) Program at Embry-Riddle, you will complete four weeks of regimented training that will prepare you for training in a real aircraft. This program is focused on providing high-quality training on every topic related to initial flight training in a simulated environment. Learning flight knowledge, procedures and skills in these simulated environments has proven to improve performance, decrease training time, reduce training cost and reduce student anxiety while completing the private pilot course.

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The Preflight Immersion Laboratory houses the Immersive Training Devices and Procedures Trainers. Students in the PILOT course will spend two hours daily in the lab during Stage 1.

Immersive Training Device (ITD)

Students will spend one hour in a virtual reality flight simulator known as an immersive training device, where you will complete training scenarios that allow you to practice your flight skills and build proficiency. Scenarios include all the maneuvers for the Private Pilot Certificate, with varying levels of difficulties. The device will grade completion on performance accuracy and will begin with relative ease to increasingly difficult standards, which culminate in a virtual reality check-ride. These devices move on all axes, which mimic the flight characteristics of a Cessna 172 to provide the student with the most realistic experience.

Procedures Trainer (PT)

Students will spend 30 minutes learning how to pre-flight an aircraft and complete all checklists in our Procedures Trainer while in virtual reality. Our Procedures Trainer provides an exact replica of our fleet of Cessna 172s with self-led checklists that provide explanations for the actions undertaken. Using remotes in both hands, the aircraft comes to life in virtual reality allowing you to toggle switches and point out discrepancies while completing various checklists and even a full preflight of the aircraft. As the student progresses through Stage 1, the checklist flows are mastered, and the PT will challenge the student by placing discrepancies in the virtual aircraft to be found during the preflight.

Students will spend 30 minutes experiencing and learning air traffic control radio transmissions and phraseology in our Procedure Trainer while in virtual reality as well. This task is presented in three different parts: learn, practice and do. “Learning” starts with a 360-video, displaying varying radio communication scenarios with an instructor pilot that explains and instructs the student to repeat key phrases. The “practicing” is done in the Phraseology Trainer, which helps students practice radio calls at their own pace, focusing on repetitive listening and speaking accuracy with simulated ATC. The final part is “doing.” Students enter a virtual reality flight so that they can test their skills. As they speak with ATC, the comprehension check uses artificial intelligence software to react to what the student pilot is saying as their flight progresses, correcting them when they make mistakes.

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