Every year, thousands of FAA employees, industry members, and international students come to the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City, to the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center, for courses involving aviation safety, air traffic, and technical operations. These professionals ensure that the US National Airspace System remains safe and efficient. CAT Guest Commentary by Carlos Aqueda, AMA-250 Regulatory Standards, FAA Academy.

The FAA Academy is a thriving and synergistic environment with hundreds of students visiting the campus on a daily basis. When the Covid-19 global health crisis made an appearance, everything came to a standstill, except the Aeronautical Center’s mission-critical activities. The delivery of mission-critical courses is necessary in maintaining a safe operational aerospace system in spite of unprecedented circumstances.

FAA Academy personnel continue to serve with passion and commitment even through these complicated times.

For a report on why the time is right to develop the Flight Academy of the Future, check out Opportunity in Crisis.

Course managers and instructors quickly and proactively stepped forward to manage the challenges that came with this health crisis. By establishing a virtual training program using web conferencing platforms such as Adobe Connect and Zoom, they were able to continue delivering critical courses that did not require hands-on training. Within a short period of time, courses that required classroom and hands-on training, were promptly converted. Academy personnel incorporated social distancing and other safe practices to accomplish the mission of providing a safe, efficient aerospace system.

To date, approximately 2,000 students have completed training using virtual platforms, and since April additional courses have been added. Those mission-critical courses that required classroom or hands-on training using the new virtual environment became operational in July.  

None of this could have been possible without the resilience, creativity, dedication, and professionalism of FAA Academy employees and supporting divisions. The safety and health of its employees and the flying public are the Academy’s top priorities. The Academy will continue meeting the challenges and delivering courses in a cost-effective and timely manner while maintaining the FAA’s exceptional standards of high-quality aviation training.