CCE Theses and Dissertations


The Effect of Multimedia Training on Student Pilots Encountering Emergency Situations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences


Getrude W. Abramson

Committee Member

Gerorge K. Fornshell

Committee Member

S. Rollins Guild


Few things in life are certain. In aviation at least one thing is always true: for every takeoff, there must be a landing. Unfortunately, landings do not always turn out according to plan. In 1995 there were 44,347 transportation fatalities, of which only 969 (2.2 percent) were aviation related. As long as people continue to fly, accidents will continue to happen. The majority of these included a pilot-made decision that determined the outcome. Have pilots been trained well enough to handle any problem that comes their way? A review of flight training literature revealed that only a limited amount of research has been conducted in the area of multimedia training and pilot performance.

The purpose of this study was to determine how computer-based training affected student pilots encountering emergency situations. The effect of multimedia and computer-based training continues to be an area of dissension among many in the education and computer industries. This study used a research experiment design with student pilots having less than 50 hours of total flight time. Participants were randomly assigned to a control group or an experimental group, with each group receiving a form of emergency training.

Following the training sessions, participants faced several different scenarios involving emergencies in a flight simulator. A review of the literature suggested that participants receiving the multimedia training product would perform better on the flight-simulator evaluation than those receiving traditional training.

Data analysis of pilot's performance indicated that there was a significant difference between the experimental group and the control group in all areas: motor skills, decision making skills, and overall performance. Additional analysis showed that neither age nor total flight time made a difference in test scores.

Safety-minded pilots constantly seek to improve their flying knowledge and skills. Only through learning, then training to apply what has been learned, can a pilot become a safer pilot. Multimedia training products help fulfill this need. Many skill areas use both decision making and motor skills in conjunction with each other. These conclusions can be applied in more areas than just flight training.

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