Our friends at Redbird Flight Simulations recently released their first State of Flight Training Report based on survey results gathered in early 2021. The comprehensive report aims to take the pulse of the flight training community, providing data, trends, and insights to help the industry chart a path forward.
The survey was sent to people representing a wide range of ages and aviation backgrounds. Respondents included flight training organization managers, full-time and independent CFIs, active students, lapsed students, prospective students, active pilots, and inactive pilots. More than 2,400 people answered the survey, including over 300 responses from flight training organizations. The survey asked questions about the biggest challenges faced by flight training organizations, students’ and pilots’ aviation goals and plans, and the value of incorporating simulators into flight training curriculum.
The State of Flight Training report highlighted several interesting trends that emerged based on data from this year’s survey, including the impact of COVID-19 on the flight training industry.
According to the report, in general, flight training organizations weathered the storm reasonably well, and some even benefited from consumers with more free time and increased disposable income to spend on training. Despite an unpredictable year, Redbird says the flight training industry is thriving, and flight training organizations are “generally far more optimistic about this year, and they plan to continue their growth.”
The report also looked at student and pilot training plans for 2021. Of the active pilots who responded, 60% said they plan to train for a new certificate or rating in 2021. It’s also promising to note that 54% of lapsed pilots said they plan to become current in 2021.
When it comes to incorporating simulators into flight training curriculum, the survey found that students and pilots who are actively training value simulator time more than instructors. It seems that today’s students and pilots recognize the advantages of flight simulation and its potential to lower the cost and decrease the time to achieve their goals, such as earning an instrument rating. The report states, “It’s true that most students and pilots rate ‘Enjoyment of Flight’ as their primary motivating factor for being a pilot, but their motivation during training is not ‘to just get in the airplane.’ They want to achieve their goal, and they are willing to use tools to help them do it as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
Interested in reading more? You can download Redbird’s State of Flight Training 2021 report here.