Date of Award

January 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Aerospace Sciences

First Advisor

Elizabeth Bjerke


The aviation industry is currently recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and is forecast to continue to grow after returning to pre-pandemic levels of activity. As a result of retirements and growth, airlines are experiencing a large demand for qualified pilots. Collegiate aviation programs serve as a major source of training and recruitment, but it is unknown to what degree students in these programs were affected by the cessation of flight training during the pandemic. This study examined the impact of different variables, including training disruption, on commercial pilot certificate attainment and flight training hours in collegiate aviation flight training programs. The variables were grouped based on Astin’s input-environment-outcome model (Astin, 1993; Astin & Antonio, 2012). Multiple regression analysis was utilized to examine the impact input and environmental variables have on Commercial Certificate attainment in collegiate aviation programs. It was determined that GPA in aviation-specific courses influences whether a student completes flight training for the Commercial Pilot certificate. Furthermore, average enrolled credit load per academic term was significant in accounting for the variance in the total aeronautical experience required and credit load, gender, and stage check pass rate, were significant in predicting the amount of flight instruction required by a Commercial Pilot student. These findings are important for researchers and practitioners in understanding factors which influence a student’s success in flight training programs. From a researcher’s perspective, the importance of utilizing variables specific to a discipline in higher education may be more significant. For practitioners, understanding factors which affect students throughout flight training allow for appropriate program changes to increase student success in flight training.