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Impact of technology on aviation training

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By Urvi Jani, Founder and Partner, ThePilot.in

The aviation sector has witnessed continuous technological progressions to align with the heightened demands of the burgeoning population of modern-day travelers. The constant evolution in technology and innovation has also permeated the realms of aviation training. The aviation industry is a highly regulated and complex field that requires a great deal of training and expertise. Over the years, technology has played an increasingly important role in aviation training, helping pilots, flight attendants, and ground crew members improve their skills and knowledge. Technology has revolutionised the training process, enabling new and existing employees to acquire and enhance their skills more efficiently and rapidly through cutting-edge learning and development practices. Moreover, technology has facilitated skills assessment and enabled the creation of flexible training programs that can overcome location and time limitations.

With the growing demand in the sector, India is expected to require over 1000+ pilots per annum over the next five years, and technology can play a significant role in meeting this requirement.

Flight Simulation Technology

One of the most significant advancements in aviation training has been the development of flight simulation technology. Modern flight simulators have advanced features, including high-resolution graphics, sophisticated avionics, and motion systems, enabling pilots to have an immersive training experience. These simulators can replicate various environmental conditions, including turbulence, wind shear, icing, and other weather phenomena. Moreover, they can simulate mechanical failures like engine and hydraulic system malfunctions and emergency procedures such as rapid decompression and fire suppression. In 2022, the civil aviation flight simulation and simulation training market reached a value of US$7,935 million and is expected to experience a steady growth rate of 4.63% by 2033. These simulators provide pilots with a safe and controlled environment to practice their skills and learn how to handle emergencies. Pilots can learn how to operate different types of aircraft and practice various maneuvers without putting themselves, their passengers, or the aircraft at risk.

Online Training

Another significant advancement in aviation training has been the development of online training. The emerging generation is composed of individuals who are technology natives. As educational approaches evolve, methods such as e-learning, virtual classrooms, and webinars have demonstrated higher levels of student engagement compared to traditional methods. Online training courses are now available for pilots, flight attendants, and ground crew members. These courses provide convenient and cost-effective training opportunities that can be completed anywhere worldwide. Online training allows aviation professionals to learn at their own pace and schedule, making balancing their work and personal lives easier. Online training courses also provide aviation professionals access to the latest information and training materials. Updates and revisions to training materials can be made quickly and easily, ensuring that aviation professionals are always up to date with the latest standards and regulations.

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are advanced technologies with valuable applications in the aviation industry, particularly in training and safety practices. These technologies enable the creation of immersive environments, both inside aircraft and at airports, enhancing the learning experience for trainee pilots and ground service operators. VR, for instance, allows trainee pilots to undergo realistic simulations of various scenarios and conditions, providing them with a near-real-life experience. Additionally, VR enables new crew members to gain familiarity with aircraft and its equipment without physical access.

Similarly, AR, VR, and the metaverse can be leveraged to create dynamic training environments for ground handling and ground service operator training. Furthermore, maintenance and engineering teams can employ AR and VR to learn how to rectify faults or glitches in aircraft, thereby streamlining maintenance, repairs, and operations. These technologies also offer innovative solutions like 3D scanning, sensors, and real-time insights, facilitating efficient and accurate aircraft inspections. The engineering team can examine the smallest dents and scratches using AR’s clear visuals.

The utilisation of wearable technology powered by Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) formats is also gaining significant popularity in pilot training. These wearable devices incorporate sensors that can assess the learner’s psychological state and cognitive load and overlay digital information onto their real-world view. They offer a dynamic learning experience in real-time, customised to the learner’s mental state and physiological health conditions.

Data Analytics

Data analytics is another area where technology has transformed aviation training. By gathering and analysing data from flight simulators and other training tools, aviation experts can obtain valuable insights into pilot performance and pinpoint areas requiring additional training. This data enhances training programs and guarantees that pilots receive top-notch instruction. Furthermore, monitoring psychological state, heart rate, and various other indicators enables trainers to track performance in training programs, ultimately providing more effective learning solutions for learners.

With the rapid integration of new technologies into our everyday lives, it is inevitable that new devices and methodologies will also find their way into our training centers. Technology has significantly impacted aviation training, helping to improve safety, reduce costs, and increase the effectiveness of training programs. As technology continues to advance, we can expect to see even more innovations in aviation training that will help improve the skills and knowledge of aviation professionals worldwide.

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