News: ASU first to integrate PilotEdge into airline training course

Posted Friday, April 17, 2015

Arizona State University has become the first college to integrate a PilotEdge-equipped King Air training device from ELITE Simulation Solutions into multiple academic training courses.

According to instructor Jim Anderson, a retired captain from Southwest Airlines and 20-year U.S. Air Force pilot, “The use of PilotEdge was noted in our recent AABI [Aviation Accreditation Board International] as a ‘best practice,’” putting the ASU flight program at the head of the class.

“This is the first time PilotEdge has been used in this type of setting with our King Air trainer,” said Wayne Keyes, from ELITE Simulation Solutions. “We feel it provides a missing link in using simulation. The student is required to fly the aircraft while also communicating with live air traffic control, just like in the real aircraft.”

Students in the Fulton Schools aviation programs are using PilotEdge for airline crew training. Many are already private pilots, but learning to be a commercial pilot requires skills in working with another pilot in the cockpit.

With PilotEdge they practice skills such as picking up instrument flight rule (IFR) clearances, taxiing at large, complex airports, instrument approaches, the coordination of multiple practice approaches, and a wide variety of point to point flights.

What makes PilotEdge unique is the use of real people working all the ATC positions. Other companies have provided synthetic ATC solutions using voice recognition systems.

“They are completely ineffective in terms of placing any pressure on the pilots, causing any kind of mic fright, or building the sense that there is any kind of consequence to the pilot’s actions. There’s a huge difference between flying with synthetic ATC and human-driven ATC,” said Keith Smith, a representative from PilotEdge. “Those who have experienced PilotEdge have been blown away by the fidelity and realism it offers.”

Students Katryna Novelozo, David Mizrahi, and Tyler Faber demonstrated how PilotEdge operates on a simulated flight to the Santa Barbara airport. Faculty associate Mike Hampshire shows the iPad interface that allows the pilots to track their flight path. Once “aloft,” Anderson controls the simulator bringing in clouds and rain to attain a low visibility condition.

“I’m currently trained to be the only pilot, and this training helps teach me how to work with someone else in an airline crew setting,” Tyler said. “You learn to talk to air traffic control, to set the course. It feels very real.”

Both Novelozo and Mizrahi are military veterans – she is active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps and he served seven years in the U.S. Navy. Both hope to continue their careers as pilots or working for the airlines.

Click here for more information about ASU’s integration with PilotEdge

Click here for the AOPA article with additional information on this story