FlightSafety International has formally launched an effort called FlightSmart that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to elevate aviation training quality. What the FlightSmart team has done is figure out a way to use modern technology, including IBM’s Watson AI tool, to help its instructors and training centers improve a student’s experience.
“The product, through the collaboration with IBM, is utilizing advanced algorithms, machine learning, artificial intelligence—all of those cognitive technologies—to provide the objective evidence or objective evaluation of the student’s performance,” said Matt Littrell, FlightSafety product director of AI and adaptive learning.
Ultimately, FlightSafety sees FlightSmart as helping students learn faster by mastering tasks more quickly, while at the same time giving instructors better information about the students’ performance so they can act as “learning managers” and provide better feedback to improve the training process. The goal of FlightSmart is to help pilots master their skills and become more proficient. An ancillary benefit is that the system also will increase training efficiency, thus bringing more pilots into the workforce and lowering the burden on instructors, for which there is also a shortage.
“The primary focus is to help the student pilots become better and faster and master tasks that are challenging,” said senior product manager Chris Starr.
FlightSmart isn’t just for simulator training, but will also be helpful for task training on avionics and operating flight management systems; use of automation; standard operating procedures; crew resource management; and other areas besides flying—such as maintenance and operating unmanned systems. “It has tremendous potential throughout many avenues and markets,” Littrell said.
The first formal FlightSmart implementation is with the U.S. Air Force for the T-6A pilot training program. For FlightSafety’s business aviation customers, Littrell said, “We have implemented FlightSmart in a limited capacity on one of our business jet programs for developmental and evaluation purposes only. We are currently evaluating the best strategy for a broader implementation within our learning centers.”
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