An industry group has published a white paper calling for the widespread implementation of Simulated ATC Environment SATCE (pronounced ‘sat-see’), an emerging simulation technology, in pilot training programs and flight simulators. Halldale is hosting the white paper, which is freely available for download [here]. 

SATCE, also referred to as the 'missing link' and the 'next evolution' in flight simulation, utilizes AI-based technology to greatly enhance fidelity by automatically simulating traffic and air traffic control (ATC) during scenario-based flight training. Currently, these aspects are absent or poorly simulated, which is a widely-recognized gap and training deficit.

The call for mandatory adoption via a pathway is also timely, considering recent incidents in the United States and globally, as well as the renewed emphasis on runway safety. By promoting the accelerated implementation of this immersive technology, which delivers particularly valuable training for operations on or near airports, the industry aims to significantly enhance pilot training, build resilience, and bolster aviation safety.

The group, led by Cpt. Michael Varney (one of the founders of EBT and CEO at Salient) and Dr. Jeremy Goodman (industry consultant), collaborated to develop a comprehensive document that addresses the necessity for SATCE and explores its benefits. 

The white paper, titled "Bolstering Safety and Resilience with an AI-Based Pilot Training Technology", involves the contributions of over 20 industry experts from diverse organizations, including thought leaders, regulators, pilots, instructors, training providers, SMEs/consultants, device manufacturers, and engineers.


Topics covered include: recent incidents and flight safety concerns, changing pilot demographics, expedited cadet training, operational threats (communications, ATC, traffic), current flight simulator technology shortcomings and practice, AI, SATCE, technical standards, CBTA, LiFUS & IOE, LOFT, EBT, training data, LVC, AAM, regulations, and current FAA research into SATCE. 

SATCE has already been defined by the industry and is currently being used by early adopters, who have reported positive outcomes. It provides significant benefits to pilots and flight crews, particularly during real-time scenario-based training, and can be applied across all aviation sectors, including commercial, military, fixed-wing, rotary-wing, and emerging markets.

Presently, flight simulator training involves limited or no moving traffic due to simulation constraints, and ATC role-play is typically performed by the instructor. Consequently, the operational complexity necessary for scenario-based flight simulation training is lacking. SATCE, on the other hand, offers a genuinely realistic full operational environment for ground-based training.

The authors reported that what began as a small article discussing the merits of SATCE in light of recent runway incidents in the U.S. quickly evolved into a valuable and comprehensive paper as more people joined the initiative. Jeremy Goodman added that the technology was “long overdue” and had the potential to “dramatically improve training immersion and transfer to real-world operations”. Michael Varney emphasised that the technology is now available, and there are few excuses not to implement it, adding that the white paper articulates why its implementation is needed now. 

The authors hope that it stimulates meaningful discussion and action within the industry.