The PlaneEnglish Aviation Radio Simulator (ARSim), already used widely by general aviation pilots to master radio communications, will be used to train future U.S. Air Force pilots thanks to a recent three-year contract agreement. 

Under the contract, the U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Simulator Branch will fund the use of ARSim for the undergraduate pilot training program across units in the Air Education and Training Command. 

The three-year Air Force contract is being funded through the highly competitive Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, which encourages small businesses to engage in federal research and development of products and services with potential for commercialization. Phases I and II of SBIR funding, totaling $1 million, began in 2020 and over 15 months enabled PlaneEnglish to develop its mobile and web-based ARSim into a rich, robust, and reliable communications training platform. 

The Phase III effort transitions ARSim from a research and development effort into an acquisition program and expands its use across the U.S. Air Force. Additionally, under this effort, PlaneEnglish will complete the FedRAMP cyber-certification process, paving the way for the ARSim’s integration with other Air Force training platforms to facilitate its use and adoption across Air Force and Department of Defense training units.

Created by three Purdue University alumni, ARSim simulates exchanges with air traffic control using a variety of scenarios pilots might encounter through every phase of flight, from taxiing and takeoff to landing and emergencies. Pilots receive instant feedback on their performance, explanations of the communication procedures, and progress tracking as they develop their skills.

ARSim syncs across mobile and desktop devices, so users retain all of their progress and experience a seamless transition switching between platforms. Since its release in 2019, ARSim has been downloaded by more than 215,000 users. 

“Air Force pilot trainees face many of the challenges those in general aviation do when learning how to fly, including how to use radio communications with confidence and skill, but the stakes are clearly even higher,” said PlaneEnglish CEO Muharrem Mane, a graduate of Purdue University’s School of Aeronautics and Astronautics. “We’re honored to support the training mission of the Air Force, and to help future military pilots overcome one of the biggest challenges during aviation training: mastering the radio.”