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: What if our children are the screen-obsessed couch potatoes of the future?

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

Amazon says FAA drone approval already obsolete

Mar 27, 2015

The approval federal aviation officials gave Amazon.com last week to test a specific drone design outdoors is already outdated, the company's top policy executive said Tuesday in written testimony to a Senate subcommittee.

Special ops troops using flawed intel software

Mar 26, 2015

Special operations troops heading to war zones are asking for commercial intelligence analysis software they say will help their missions. But their requests are languishing, and they are being ordered to use a flawed, in-house ...

Amazon says US too late on drone rules

Mar 24, 2015

Online giant Amazon told Congress on Tuesday the US government is lagging in implementing rules for commercial drones, making it hard to make plans for its quick delivery system by air.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.