AFROTC Flight Simulators
Who We Are
Air Force ROTC is an organization on campus with the purpose of training and preparing students at UMD for commissioning as officers in the United States Air Force. Cadets in the program are taught valuable skills, including leadership, teamwork, and creative problem solving, that are important for not just being a successful military officer, but for being a successful professional and leader of character.
One aspect of Air Force ROTC here at UMD is to aid cadets in preparing for a career as an Air Force pilot. Air Force pilot selection is a competitive process that requires applicants to be top performers academically, physically and professionally. The most significant portion of the pilot selection process is a series of aptitude tests designed to evaluate candidate’s performance in many areas; including, hand eye coordination, multitasking, spatial reasoning, decision making and other skills important to operating high performance aircraft. In addition to helping cadets succeed academically and professionally, we have a pilot training program dedicated to aiding cadets in preparing for these tests, as well as gaining valuable experience at the controls of aircraft. This program is the only pilot training program in Air Force ROTC nationwide and cadets interested in flying have a significant advantage compared to other detachments as a result, with the pilot selection acceptance rate being 86% in 2017. Our goal is to increase the acceptance rate to 100% in the coming years, as well as to give cadets more opportunities to get flying experience.
What We're Doing
We are creating a robust simulator system to make flight training more accessible to our cadets. Our plan is to create four flight simulator stations that can be operated independently or networked together, each with full flight controls (joystick, throttle, pedals) and virtual reality monitors to increase realism and immersion.
We currently work with the Navy Annapolis Flight Center to provide cadets with opportunities to take flight lessons, however each lesson costs $115 an hour. While this is a discounted price compared to most flight schools, it results in the program being inaccessible to many of our cadets who are unable to afford these lessons. By creating a realistic simulator system, we will be able to provide this experience to all 200 cadets in the program at no additional cost.
Additionally, these simulators will provide the detachment with many other benefits that traditional flight lessons cannot offer. In addition to providing cadets with a basic introduction to flying, by having four stations we can also provide cadets with more complex simulations including formation flying and multi crew aircraft. This allows us to use the simulators not just as a flight training tool, but as a teamwork and creative problem-solving tool as well. We can also use the simulators to simulate situations that cannot be replicated safely in traditional flight lessons, such as emergency situations or simulated combat scenarios. This will give cadets experience with working under pressure, a skill incredibly important to a career as a pilot.
There are significant morale boosting uses for these simulators. When the simulators are not being used for training purposes, they will be accessible for all cadets to use for recreational purposes to increase the morale of the detachment. We would be able to organize events such as flying competitions or war gaming to provide more opportunities for cadets to bond and unwind from the stress of school and training.
University of Maryland are accepted and managed by the University of Maryland College Park Foundation, Inc., an affiliated 501(c)(3) organization authorized by the Board of Regents. Contributions to the University of Maryland are tax deductible as allowed by law. Please see your tax advisor for details.