WATS Pilot Conference Session 9: Technology Enablers

Delegates heard conference speakers continue to discuss how specific technologies are upending and supporting emerging trends and developments in the rapidly evolving learning sector. 

Dr. Mikhail Klassen, Chief Technology Officer at Paladin AI, and Mark van den Hoven, Lead Systems Architect at Avion Group, addressed the use of AI and Cloud-enabled flight simulators to implement CBTA and EBT. A term CAT followers will be reading about more in the future is “cloud environment,” a construct that integrates instructor participation (typically in an IOS), a scenario manager, debrief and analytic tools, and mobile apps – for starters. 

Van den Hoven presented current and emerging use cases for AI, initially noting this enabler allows the system to recognize what the pilot is doing to extract performance metrics and assess competency metrics. “AI can also support voice analysis, simulated ATC, candidate selection, adaptive curriculum, virtual instructors and eye tracking.”  At a higher level of benefits, AI and the Cloud offer the pilot training enterprise other opportunities, including decreasing costs and managing instructor workloads and achieving other efficiencies. 

AI and the Cloud can decrease costs

One product that is helping to integrate AI into training is Paladin AI’s InstructIQ, which provides data-driven pilot competency analytics using AI to make training more efficient and effective. In terms of CBTA and EBT, this industry team, and concurrent efforts in the community, are hitting a “sweet spot” of sorts, in that they are seeking to increase the effectiveness of ICAO Document 9995 (Manual of Evidence-Based Training) and other regulatory guidance by bringing AI to bear. As AI applications better enable the training system to recognize what pilots are doing and extract performance metrics to assess competency metrics, the subject matter experts emphasized the importance of security and privacy in AI and Cloud systems. 

Michael Vercio, Senior Vice President, Simulation Systems at FlightSafety International, presented an interesting briefing that he billed as a macroeconomic perspective of training criteria – but one that quickly evolved into providing vital snippets of much broader supporting themes. Once establishing the need to address pilot and maintainer shortages, he turned his attention to one overarching theme: student success matters. Vercio then stressed the importance of student variation (SV) as the community seeks to fill vacancies in these two work forces well beyond this decade.

We must have new and more technologies to meet organization demands.

Factors contributing to SVs in the aviation community learning enterprise include: job requirements; regional demands; previous learning technologies used in classes; experience levels, industry aircraft types and others. The industry expert then emphasized, “We must have new and more technologies to meet these and more student variations and organization demands.” 

In a preview for the session to follow on Big Data, Vercio then spoke of opportunities to enhance training, first noting “We need to maximize the value of the digital thread. Big Data is abundant, so use it!” He called attention to FSI partnering with GE Digital to better offer data-based training to business aviation professionals. Indeed, a foundation of this partnership banks on leveraging GE Digital’s data-driven C-FOQA insight to proactively reduce risk through training focused on being prepared for possible threats – before they are real. He added enhanced training “is also about courseware, courseware, courseware.” The executive concluded, these and other activities in training enterprises are beyond students being proficient; “it’s about them being prepared.” 

This year’s iteration of WATS once again allowed attendees to gain insights from the two large OEMs, Boeing and Airbus, and as a bonus, delegates were able to obtain insights, albeit virtually, from a third OEM’s representative, Capt. Fabiano Cypel, Flight Crew Training Manager at Embraer. The OEM executive’s perspectives mirrored ICAO’s global safety initiatives and focus on competency-based training as well as EBT. Of significance, Cypel provided practitioners with a pathway to achieve these deliverables – by using “layers and layers of data – from OEMs, operators’ monthly reports and others.”

Capt. Jacques Drappier, EATS and APATS Conference Chair, was the session moderator.