Research shows black box could increase safety, efficiency of collegiate flight training

May 20, 2013 by Natalie Blair

Flight operations quality assurance, or FOQA, the system contained in an aircraft's black box, could improve the safety of collegiate flight training programs in the future, according to research conducted by J.D. Swinney, one of the first two graduates of Kansas State University Salina's professional Master of Technology degree program.

"FOQA has been proven to enhance commercial aviation safety, allowing airlines to objectively monitor how aircraft are being operated," Swinney said. "We can apply those same concepts to general aviation, where FOQA is mostly absent, and more specifically, to collegiate training programs."

Swinney, Holton, Ind., surveyed subject matter experts on both quality assurance and general aviation instruction from around the country to determine what data collected by the systems should be analyzed by safety managers, instructors and students to increase safety and efficiency.

"If FOQA was standard in a training fleet, the safety manager could track noncompliance with procedures specific to a particular flight training program, whether accidental or deliberate," Swinney said. "The recorded flight data could also be beneficial to a flight instructor when debriefing a training flight session with a student pilot. It allows the instructor to construct either a of the flight or a graphic of the aircraft's track across the ground during a certain maneuver, helping to objectively explain the success or failure of the maneuver. The better students understand what they did during a flight, the more able they are to replicate or change those behaviors, making training faster and more efficient."

The biggest barrier to implementing these systems for pilot training in collegiate aviation currently is technology, Swinney said.

"The difficulty in using a FOQA program and recorded to analyze a flight is the speed with which the information must be retrieved from the recording device in the aircraft," Swinney said. "Also, the data recording and analysis system has to be compatible with the software used to display the display the information in a graphic format for student debriefs."

Kansas State University Salina's professional Master of Technology degree is designed to enable professionals in diverse technology fields to thrive in rapidly changing work environments. As a professional program, the degree provides advanced skills and knowledge in the areas of communication, leadership, project management and teamwork, while providing opportunities for students to customize programs with a concentrated study in the broad areas of aeronautical technology, engineering technology and technology management.

Explore further: Scots' inventions are fuel for independence debate

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New tool analyzes black-box data for flight anomalies

Sep 12, 2011

An airplane's digital flight-data recorder, or "black box," holds massive amounts of data, documenting the performance of engines, cockpit controls, hydraulic equipment and GPS systems, typically at regular ...

45,000 feet: Future UAVs may fuel up in flight

Oct 08, 2012

Currently global military aviation relies on a key enabler – aerial refueling. Fighters, bombers, reconnaissance and transport aircraft use "flying gas stations" to go the extra mile. Increasingly, UAVs ...

Recommended for you

Scots' inventions are fuel for independence debate

11 hours ago

What has Scotland ever done for us? Plenty, it turns out. The land that gave the world haggis and tartan has produced so much more, from golf and television to Dolly the Sheep and "Grand Theft Auto."

White House backs use of body cameras by police

Sep 16, 2014

Requiring police officers to wear body cameras is one potential solution for bridging deep mistrust between law enforcement and the public, the White House said, weighing in on a national debate sparked by the shooting of ...

Chinese city creates cellphone sidewalk lane

Sep 15, 2014

Taking a cue from an American TV program, the Chinese city of Chongqing has created a smartphone sidewalk lane, offering a path for those too engrossed in messaging and tweeting to watch where they're going.

Coroner: Bitcoin exchange CEO committed suicide

Sep 15, 2014

A Singapore Coroner's Court has found that the American CEO of a virtual currency exchange committed suicide earlier this year in Singapore because of work and personal issues.

User comments : 0