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Embracing the Training Shift

Embracing the Training Shift

There is no doubt that the challenges presented in 2020 have accelerated the adoption of remote learning and its associated technologies. Until this year, nearly all pilot training was conducted at a training centre. With COVID-19 came the urgent need to create a more blended training experience which fundamentally requires technology to facilitate it. We have seen an increased demand for such products.

As such, this current environment has accelerated the adoption of alternative training devices and technologies and pushed aside some of the barriers that had existed for many years slowing progress. The full flight simulator previously overshadowed many alternate lower cost but effective training tools, from the FTDs to computer based training.

At L3Harris, the simulation technology team (in which I sit) work closely with our training experts, who train and provide some of the highest calibre of pilots to the industry. Working with them and customers, our developments are being shaped and driven to maximize training effectiveness. This approach has been key in the development of our FTDs, our new IOS, and the development of our competency-based training capability. 

There is no compromise for quality of training. With new technology there must be evidence that effective training is taking place. This is especially true where the regulations do not recognise the value that these technologies and devices bring. In such cases, we see our data analytics play a key role in providing that evidence.

Where borders have been shut, we have found that our customers have embraced new ways of working that previously would have been challenging, such as the acceptance of flight safety training devices being performed remotely using video conferencing technologies. We have even seen the approval of devices performed remotely by the FAA, which in itself is something we wouldn’t have imagined possible a year ago.

Looking to the future and the outlook is exciting. We investigating new technologies including VR and AR, 360 degree training videos, haptic feedback technologies, the list goes on. However, we must not forget the reason for using these technologies. Ultimately, we are trying produce resilient pilots, capable of not just flying safely, but who have the competencies they need to deal with the unknown events, yet to be trained. When implementing new technology we must ask ourselves, how are we sure it is maximising training effectiveness, is it the right tool for training outcome we are trying to achieve?

In the short term, I see a big push into the new technology areas such as VR and AR, with a lot of novel applications appearing. I also see opportunities for simpler and more obscure training methods appearing centred around developing competence, especially those more subjective of the 9 core competencies. In the long term, these novel applications will be scrutinised by the data that we collect, and allow us to truly understand their value in supporting pilot training.

With the roll-out and regulatory recognition of these new technologies, we will truly be entering a new and exciting era in pilot training.

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