“More data is not necessarily better.” That’s one of the key insights from the Big Data in Aviation Training working group, which expects to release a preliminary summary of its analysis this summer, following academic and peer review.

The Big Data working group is led by Halldale Group and the Aircrew Training Policy Group (ATPG) and includes an international team of training and data experts. The group was initiated last August following a Halldale Head of Training (HoT) roundtable in collaboration with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The full release of the Big Data report will be made at the HoT meeting prior to the European Airline Training Symposium (EATS) in Berlin, Germany, 8-9 November this year.

“Before commencing any sort of analysis,” the draft Big Data report states, “it is vital to ensure that the analytics process and defined metrics are aligned with the business objectives and key performance indicators.”

Some additional key insights identified to date:

  • With new technologies emerging, organizations are becoming increasingly data-driven;
  • This brings new opportunities to make sense of all this data and inform the key business questions;
  • The rise of big data also requires a shift toward more research-based approaches;
  • Data literacy and analytical expertise are posing new demands on training departments to ensure that valid insights are gained;
  • Therefore, specific skillsets are required which extend beyond ‘traditional’ training management roles;
  • Both data literacy and a thorough understanding of the operator’s training program are prerequisite for effective data-driven decision-making;
  • Trust in data quality and accuracy is essential, whereby decision-makers need to be aware of limitations.

In a recent Halldale survey of airline heads of training, more than 30% indicated they need help making sense of big data in relation to implementation of evidence-based training (EBT).

“Getting insights and a different perspective from the team members has been instrumental, allowing our team to embrace the opportunity to provide meaningful guidance to the industry,” said Dr. Patrizia Knabl-Schmitz, Flight Training Human Factors Specialist at Emirates, a member of the Big Data in Aviation Training team.

The Big Data in Aviation Training team is led by product owner Allyson Kukel of Halldale Group and scrum master Andy Mitchell, Chair of the ATPG-Europe.

“It’s great to see a team come together with incredible expertise,” said Mitchell, “and also with open minds to learn from one another while helping advance guidance material on a topic which the industry has made clear it wants help with.”

The working group is using an agile framework to develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), an approach which enables early-adopter users to validate a product idea early in the development cycle. Feedback is then used to improve the product in future iterations.

The Halldale Head of Training meetings the past two years have identified five “HoT” topics facing the airline training community: Skills / Competencies Decay, A/M/V/XR Technologies, EBT/CBTA, UPRT, and Big Data. Led by Capt. Jacques Drappier, JDR Consult, former Vice President of Flight Operations and Training Services for Airbus, and Chair of EATS, Halldale conducted intensive workshops with leading subject experts on each of the five topics. The workshops were followed by public webinars to present the findings.


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