Welcome to the Purdue / TakeFlight Interactive AI Flight Training Program


Purdue University Introduces TakeFlight Academy

TakeFlight Academy’s  unique dynamic, real-time instruction and feedback, combined with our quickly repeatable training scenarios accelerate your mastery. Gain real skills that transfer to the aircraft. Hone your skills with our detailed scoring and get powerful insights into your performance. Make every minute in the airplane more effective while saving money.

You’ll simply need access to a gaming PC and flight simulator such as X-Plane 11 or 12, Prepar3D v4+, or Microsoft Flight Simulator (MSFS). For more information on requirements and simulation hardware, see our Hardware Guide.

Click here to buy your Purdue Private Pilot Stage 1 course now

What is this AI flight training program?

This is a joint program of the Purdue School of Aviation and Transport Technology and TakeFlight Interactive. We are making available the most technically advanced flight training software. Starting in late Spring 2024, it provides a way for students to pre-train in preparation for in-cockpit flight training during the Fall 2024 Semester. Our goal is for you to quickly and comfortably develop solid (or improve existing) Private Pilot skills before arriving on campus for the Fall 2024 Semester.

Who Can Participate?

The Purdue/TakeFlight Pilot Pre-Training Program is only open to SATT Class of 2028 Professional Flight students.

Why Should I Train Before Arriving on Campus – and How Will I Benefit?

If you’re a new or even experienced trainee, this AI training will improve your in-cockpit experience and results. You’ll be more comfortable in the cockpit, able to learn more quickly there, and more quickly advance to more complex skills such as decision making and cross-country flying, and Instrument training.

Beginning flight training in the cockpit (well-known to be a bad classroom) can be a big and difficult step. Under the pressure of $200/hr cost, you must quickly and simultaneously learn and integrate perception of how the airplane is behaving, sight pictures, use of flight controls, the elements of each maneuver, and so on. This pressure and massive flow of information can result in pilot overload and make learning more difficult.

Prior training in the controlled flight simulator environment can provide very effective preparation. But effective use of simulators requires an instructor, without which students are unable to learn well and in danger of learning mistakes (“negative learning”). These can be very difficult to unlearn. But instructors are expensive, and often unavailable. TakeFlight’s Artificially Intelligent flight instructor solves this problem.

Because you can train with unlimited repetition, with access anytime anywhere, you can progress at your own pace and in your own style, and habituate correct performance. This is critical to getting beyond basic proficiency to real mastery.

How Does TakeFlight Academy Work?

TakeFlight’s AI virtual flight instructor uniquely combines AI, data analytics, and video game technologies to do the same things as a human instructor: provide pre-flight briefings, guidance and real-time feedback during flight lessons, and post-lesson scoring and review. But because TakeFlight’s virtual flight instructor is artificially intelligent, it goes beyond what a human instructor can do. It provides a unique degree of regularity and consistency of instructor behavior plus detailed and accurate flight performance metrics and training history.

TakeFlight Academy comprises 57 training, evaluation, and challenge scenarios arranged into 20 PPL maneuvers. These include takeoff, landing, and even ground reference maneuvers. Training includes use of flight controls, sight pictures, instruments, aeronautical knowledge, and more. Every lesson begins with a detailed briefing followed by fully interactive guidance and feedback as you perform the maneuver, and generates detailed scoring screens. Briefings provide direct access to corresponding FAA documentation. Dashboards show your detailed training history to help you gain insights into your training progress and how to improve.

TakeFlight puts you in the pilot’s seat with complete control over your training.

Validated by Independent Research

Independent academic research shows TakeFlight acquired skills transfer to the cockpit.

  1. An hour of TakeFlight AI instruction on economical PC simulators is equivalent to an hour of human CFI in-sim instruction.
  2. For every 10 hours in the sim with TakeFlight, time to solo is reduced by 3.4 hours (3.4 training hours costs approximately $1,000). Further, students:
  3. Took fewer calendar days to complete the pre-solo block of Private Pilot training
  4. Required fewer hours in the airplane during the pre-solo block of Private Pilot training
  5. Required fewer ground training hours during the pre-solo block of Private Pilot training

These huge advantages are now accessible by you. See the full research study at: https://commons.und.edu/theses/4339/

TakeFlight Academy is also being used in Purdue research. If you like, take a look at Cheyenne Laker’s recent Master’s Thesis on VR in flight training.

How To Use TakeFlight Academy

You should expect to dedicate 15 to 20 TakeFlight training hours to acquire solid, habituated flying skills. You can train as much as you like at no additional cost in a far more relaxed environment than an expensive airplane. Learning is best done in short, intense sessions of no more than 40-60 minutes, punctuated by breaks. Do not train once fatigue begins; it doesn’t work and you may just learn mistakes (negative learning). If you have already begun to train, or already have your PPL, use TakeFlight to survey your skills, find and correct flaws, and keep current during breaks in training to arrive at Purdue as prepared and sharp as possible. Once you’re  on campus, you’ll find TakeFlight a terrific resource for preparing for and reinforcing lessons, post-lesson review, overcoming hurdles, and locking in flying proficiency.

When you register your TakeFlight Academy login, it’s best if you use your Purdue email address. You can use other email addresses but be sure you’ll have access to that address in the long run. It will be required for your future access to TakeFlight Academy data.

And remember, don’t share your login. This will confound your training data and could invalidate future analysis.

Technical Requirements and Cost

TakeFlight runs as an add-on atop popular simulators, so you’ll need access to a Windows 10 or 11 PC capable of running X-Plane v11/12, Lockheed Prepar3D 4/5/6, or Microsoft Flight Simulator, ($30-$80 each). In general, if your PC runs a software simulator well, it will also support TakeFlight Academy, so you or a friend may already own a suitable PC. The TakeFlight platform is a free download, so you can install TakeFlight on as many PCs as you like (you’ll need a software simulator, of course). Capable PC sims start at around $800, and a $35 joystick and your home HDMI TV, is a good start. TakeFlight runs well on laptop PCs, so training while traveling is a snap. Your personal TakeFlight Academy subscription will cost $89 for your individual unlimited use for one year.

If you’re not already familiar with the above, find a comprehensive description in our Hardware Overview.

Contribute to Better Training

The data generated in this program will be aggregated and analyzed to improve training. (If you haven’t already, please complete our survey for all incoming Professional Flight students whether or not you’re able to participate in this summer’s AI training. https://purdue.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9NAPExIcH9h1E) And be sure to never share your TakeFlight Academy login as it will invalidate your scores and history, and confound your data for Purdue instructors. Purdue is among the most innovative collegiate aviation programs. This initiative with TakeFlight Interactive will contribute to excellence in flying and the evolution of ever more powerful aviation technologies for remote and local flight training. We’re thrilled that you’re able to begin your aviation career with the most sophisticated and powerful AI tools anywhere.

This is a Voluntary Program

Participation in this training program is 100% voluntary, and it is not a prerequisite for your coursework at Purdue. It is, nevertheless, endorsed and encouraged by the SATT flight faculty, with the support of TakeFlight Interactive. You should get started as soon as possible. But even if you cannot begin right away, you should still see significant benefits.

If you have any questions about this program, please contact:

Glenn Kowack
TakeFlight Interactive

Julius Keller
Associate Professor, School of Aviation, Purdue University

Please direct technical questions to support@TakeFlightInteractive.com.

Have Fun Flying!

Welcome aboard this exciting and innovative program at The School of Aviation and Transportation Technology at Purdue University. Boilerup!


Click here to buy your Purdue Private Pilot Stage 1 course now