An introductory Aviation Program is being developed that consists of two week-long courses: Private Pilot and Instrument Pilot. These courses will be initially offered at Cuesta College in July 2019 and are based on four premises. (1) Many of today’s students are game/computer savvy before they graduate from high school. Using flight simulators is just another game to them, albeit a serious one. (2) The use of the student’s own gaming computers avoids school investment in rapidly outdated equipment and also encourages students to practice at home. (3) A simulator-only introductory course (no real aircraft) is very low cost, giving students a chance to determine if flying is their vocation without incurring a large student debt. (4) Students join a supportive community of practice of regional pilots that guides their learning. This Introductory Aviation Program is an experiment. Questionnaires, interviews, and student performance on written exams and simulator flight performance will be used to evaluate the Program and guide its further development.  The end result could be an approach to introductory aviation training that is highly economical, capable of replication, and could help alleviate our current pilot shortage.

© 2018 by Russell M. Genet and The Fairborn Institute