PROJECT TITLE: Effective Training and Checking Methods for the Emerging Pilot Workforce
- PI: Dr. James Birdsong, Aviation Program Coordinator, Department of Aviation, Auburn University
- FAA Sponsor: Kathy Abbott
- FAA Technical Monitor: Chuck Perala
The unprecedented growth in the aviation industry coupled with a wave of FAA-mandated pilot retirements has created a critical demand for the labor supply of US air transport pilots. Furthermore, as rigorous new pilot training requirements are implemented, it is crucial to retool workforce development to incorporate effective and state-of-the-art training for the next generation of aviation personnel.
The demands of the emerging workforce require increased responsibilities for pilots. For example, new pilots start with larger modern aircraft and upgrade faster with considerably less career experience than their retiring counterparts. Typically, newer pilots have fewer years of flying experience and usually build hours in slow single-engine, non-complex aircraft before quickly moving to faster, automated, passenger-carrying multi-engine aircraft. For these young pilots, information management, decision-making, and command judgement skills are not supported by years (or decades) of experience, nor are they being taught during the pilot certification process in a way that adequately prepares young pilots for the dynamic paradigm shift in effective and efficient pilot operations. Improved education and training for emerging pilot workforce members is required to sustain a high level of cockpit performance while
simultaneously advancing the industry’s safety and efficiency to support the traveling public.
Expect Project Outcomes:
- Assess best practices and learning methods for current and next generation of learners.
- Provide scientific and technical data to support recommendations for training the emerging pilot workforce.
Value of Research:
The purpose of this research is to provide scientific and technical data on effective training and checking methods for the current and projected pilot workforce, with emphasis on pilot information management, decision-making, and command judgment.
The emerging pilot workforce was born into the era of digital technology. This presents opportunities to rethink and retool pilot development as the pilot workforce evolves. Understanding the science behind how the emerging pilot workforce learns, and utilizing best practices to increase motivation and engagement, as well as leveraging innovative technologies in curriculum, can improve the quality (e.g., enhanced learning, operational safety, and operational efficiency) and timeliness of pilot workforce development (e.g., reducing the training footprint and cost).