Two Simulated Environment for Realistic ATC (SERA) systems by ASTi have been sold to a leading provider of aviation training and flight simulators. This sale supports the first use of a Simulated ATC Environment (SATCE) within a Multi-crew Pilot Licence (MPL) training program, achieving a vision first proposed by the ICAO for MPL in 2006.

The two SERA systems will be installed on 737NG Level D full-flight simulators (FFS) in the United States with additional SERA systems being added in the coming months. The end user is a major airline with extensive experience in the MPL training pipeline, which obtained sign-off from the national aviation authority for the use of SERA in the program.

MPL procedures put more emphasis on simulator training, including the use of simulated air traffic control (ATC). But, until now, no existing MPL program used SATCE in their flight simulator(s). ASTi believes that this new SERA contract award will lead to many more MPL training programs adopting SATCE. Interestingly, the airline involved with this award conducted a cost-benefit analysis for the use of SATCE technology, which indicated that SERA will result in direct cost savings and a smaller carbon footprint. The latter is due to a reduction in student flight time that until now was used specifically to provide exposure to ATC radio operations.

Flight crews can only be fully prepared to handle real-world threats by training with those same threats. And recent results from a Line Operations Safety Assessment (LOSA) carried out for a major European airline identified ATC as the primary threat for operational safety. This is why bringing ATC experience to the MPL students from day one with SERA provides greater proficiency and radio competency. Training with SERA minimizes the flight line "shock" often experienced by new students facing their first ATC calls at a busy training airfield, all in the safe environment of the flight simulator.